Nevada County libraries strive to serve youth |

Nevada County libraries strive to serve youth

The Nevada County Community Library system holds numerous events focues on youth in western Nevada County.
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National Library Week is a chance for us to reflect on how we provide services to youth.

The Association of Library Services to Children has developed seven professional competencies which guide the work of Nevada County Community Libraries. Here are some examples of how they are working to support youth in the community, through their own words.

Commitment to client group

We are constantly working to understand theories of literacy and learning. At our storytimes, we share early literacy tips to help caregivers connect what they are usually already doing to early literacy skills, such as singing, reading, writing, playing and talking. We have storytimes on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 11 a.m. at Madelyn Helling Library, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at Grass Valley Library, and the last Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at Bear River Library.

Reference and user services

You may have noticed that we have been changing our children’s rooms to incorporate play with toys, because play supports learning, self-worth, creativity, critical thinking, and bonding with adults, and is a critical component of early literacy. This is part of curating physical spaces to meet the needs of children and caregivers. We are also knowledgeable about media use. Join us for events during Screen-Free Week, which runs April 29 – May 3, including a screening of the documentary “Screenagers” and a Screen-time chat with your librarian.

Programming skills

We are working to design library programs that instill curiosity and mastery for all children and caregivers. This is especially true of our Summer Learning Program. This year the theme is Blastoff for Reading, and the program runs June 8 – July 27. All participants who sign up get a free book and a challenge sheet that inspires reading and learning over the summer. Our programs include a Baby Prom, animal shows from Conservation Ambassadors, science programs and more. All children can get a free lunch at the Grass Valley Library between noon and 1 p.m. every Monday through Friday during summer break.

Knowledge, curation, and management of materials

We care deeply about providing diverse collections that are “living” and relevant to our community. We want our materials to provide, as Dr. Rudine Sims-Bishop has coined, windows into other cultures, as well as mirrors so children and teens can see themselves reflected in our books. We create displays to inspire connections to books. And of course, we are always happy to help kids find a good book!

Outreach and Advocacy

For National Library Week, we are bringing the library to you. Read the award-winning picture book “Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales as you stroll through Nevada City’s downtown where pages of the book will be posted in participating businesses’ windows. Start the Storywalk at Harmony Books at 130 Main St, and end it at the Doris Foley Historical Library. Each page will have information on where to find the next page and will be up between now and May 6. We will also be out and about in your community. Look for your Youth Librarian and Literacy Coordinator at SPD, BriarPatch, the Nest and Open Gym at Gold Country Gymnastics.

Administration and managerial skills

Your Youth Librarians manage large projects including the Technology Lending Library which allows teachers and after-school providers to check out technology sets to use in the classroom or at afterschool programs for free with their library cards. Technology includes Sphero robots, littleBits invention kits, Wacom Intuos tablets, Snowflake microphones, Makey Makeys, Lego Mindstorms, Arduinos, K’Nex, Legos and Kibo Robots. We also partner with local organization and school districts to support youth. All students in the Nevada Joint Union High School District have a Student Success Card, a no-fine, no-fee card that allows students to use their student ID cards as a library card.

Professionalism and professional development

We attend conferences and trainings to make sure we have cutting edge understanding of the latest research. For instance, the latest Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report shows that less children report that reading is fun. We believe that reading is a vital part of building empathy, self-care, and a love of learning, and are using this research to find ways to instill a love of books into this community.

We hope you come visit us in the library soon and see what we have to offer. Information about our programs can be found on our website at For more information about programs and services for youth, contact Lisa Nowlain at 530-265-1541 or

Source: Nevada County Community Library

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