Keri Brenner

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March 14, 2014
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Nevada County Library 'rock star' takes Bay Area post

Jessica Hudson, the Nevada County Librarian credited with transforming the library system during her almost two-and-a-half-year tenure, has resigned to accept a new post with Contra Costa County.

“I have truly loved my time here in Nevada County and how receptive they are here to new ideas,” said Hudson, 28, whose last day is March 28.

“I’m also excited about the professional challenges of this new position.”

Hudson, who last year led a cross-departmental team of county employees to set up the new Collaborative Technology Center at the Madelyn Helling Library, will take over as head of Contra Costa County library services on April 24, pending approval by the Contra Costa County board of supervisors.

Hudson said her move from overseeing Nevada County’s six library branches, 22 employees and $2.5 million annual budget to Contra Costa County’s 27 branches, 400 employees and $24 million budget will offer both new challenges and a “little more” bump in pay.

Hudson currently earns $92,165, according to Human Resources Director Charlie Wilson.

“I call Jessica the ‘rock star’ of the California statewide librarian community,” said her boss, Nevada County Chief Information Officer Steve Monaghan. “She really is fantastic.”

Monaghan said Hudson will be honored March 25 with a certificate of recognition from the Nevada County board of supervisors.

The certificate, still in draft form, credits Hudson’s leadership with “an extraordinary transformation” of the county library system — including expanded hours, materials and programs.

“Overall, programs and events at the library have expanded dramatically,” the draft certificate says.

“I think the greatest gift Jessica has given the community is really raising the bar on what our library services can be and offer our residents,” Monaghan said. “Whoever fills her shoes will need to perform at this new, high level of expectations.”

Hudson, meanwhile, said the establishment of the 2,000-square-foot, 20-computer, grant-funded Collaborative Technology Center is one of the most satisfying accomplishments of her time in Nevada County.

On Tuesday, the team of employees responsible for the center won the “Best Team” award in the Nevada County Employee Recognition awards program.

“It’s a fantastic space,” said Hudson, who grew up in Fairfield, where her mother and brother still live. “It offers 30 free technology classes per month.”

Another accomplishment was cutting down on intrabranch transit costs for books and other supplies.

In December 2012, a year after Hudson started in the Nevada County job, she shifted the library system to a “floating materials management” model, she said.

“Before, we had to ship things,” she said. “Now, they belong to the system, not the branch.”

While recruitment is on for Hudson’s replacement, Grass Valley branch Librarian Laura Pappani will be the interim county librarian, with assistance from the children’s librarian and other units, Monaghan said.

“We foresee no interruptions or adverse effects to patrons of library services through this period,” he said.

A formal recruitment notice for the job will be in place in a few weeks, Monaghan added.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4239.

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The Union Updated Mar 15, 2014 01:07AM Published Mar 17, 2014 01:08PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.