Libraries help people change their lives |

Libraries help people change their lives

Laura Pappani
Special to The Union

The young man who found a job after developing his resume and submitting online applications at the library. The grandparents who spent a fun morning connecting with their granddaughter at a preschool story time. The shy woman who found support and acceptance by meeting like-minded readers while browsing for books.

These are the anecdotes that make library workers glow, that remind us of the importance of free and uncensored access to entertainment and information.

National Library Week is an annual event that celebrates the relationship between libraries and their communities. This year's theme, "Lives Change @ Your Library," is one that we take to heart at the Nevada County public Libraries. Our three main branches — the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, the Grass Valley Library, Royce Branch, and the Truckee Branch — are augmented by the Penn Valley Station, the Bear River Station (a joint-use facility housed at Bear River High School) and the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research in downtown Nevada City. All branches strive to provide top-notch customer service and carefully selected materials and services that meet the needs of our community. At the libraries, you will meet friendly library employees, as well as a veritable army of dedicated volunteers who shelve books, process books, manage the Doris Foley Library, deliver books between branches, assist library users on the computer, and perform a million other vital tasks that keep the libraries running smoothly.

How are we doing in our quest to change lives in Nevada County? Our circulation increased by 15.7 percent in 2012-13 over the previous year. The use of our digital materials increased by a whopping 66.7 percent, driven by the popularity of our free downloadable ebooks and audio books.

We increased our materials budget substantially to enable us to buy more books, DVDs and books on CD and opened the Collaborative Technology Center at the Madelyn Helling Library, which offers computers and free technology classes.

We've added new programs for young and old, and all are free. We modified the layout of the main room at the Madelyn Helling Library, bringing in fun (and comfortable!) new furniture, as well as revamping our Young Adult area.

Recommended Stories For You

Throughout the library system, we listen to our library users and try to respond to their needs with our limited resources.

Every day this week, you will find an article in The Union that shows you how hard we are working to achieve our mission of encouraging a community of readers and lifelong learners by providing access to information and materials that enrich, inform and empower our county's diverse population. On Tuesday, you can read about technology in the libraries. On Wednesday, programs for children and teenagers will be discussed. On Thursday, the attention will turn to adult programming. On Friday, upcoming projects planned for the next year will be spotlighted.

I hope you enjoy the articles and learn a little more about the exciting things happening at your Nevada County public libraries.

Stop by your local branch and celebrate with us. Be sure to enter our library trivia contest for a chance to win a prize. Who knows? Maybe your visit will change your life.

Laura Pappani is the interim county librarian for the Nevada County public libraries. She welcomes your input by phone (265-7078), email ( or in person at the Madelyn Helling Library.

Go back to article