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A year in review of the Nevada County library

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since my first National Library Week as the county librarian.

In some ways, it seems like the year has passed so quickly, but when I think of how much the library has accomplished since April 2014, one year seems too short!

First, the year “by the numbers”: Since April 2014, we have added almost 19,000 new items (books, audiobooks, movies, and music CDs) to the Library’s collection. That number includes only physical items, not the thousands of new ebooks and audiobooks that are now accessible online to Nevada County Library card holders.



More than 700,000 items were checked out from Nevada County libraries in the past year, including approximately 25,500 ebooks and downloadable audiobooks. Almost 3,500 new library cards were issued. We recorded more than 350,000 visits to library branches in the 2014 calendar year.

One major project that we’ve been planning for quite a while finally started earlier this month — the remodel of the main floor of the Grass Valley Library. For a while now, we’ve been working on a less cluttered design to open up the space and highlight the wonderful architecture of the 99-year-old building. We’ll be installing a new public service desk designed for modern library service as well as better displays for DVDs, music CDs, and magazines. The interior will also have a bright new paint job after some of the damaged spots on the walls are replastered. (Ever wonder why that large landscape painting is hanging way up high on the back wall? It’s covering a huge hole in the plaster.) Pardon the dust this month while the work is being done; the end result will be well worth the inconvenience.




The new furniture is being purchased for us by the Friends of the Nevada County Libraries, while the physical work (painting, physical changes to the interior, moving wiring, etc.) is being paid for by a bequest from the late Charles Mosser, who grew up in Grass Valley and had such fond memories of the Grass Valley Library that he left money in his will specifically for remodeling the branch or to put towards a new library.

Up at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, we started work on an outdoor stage that will be located next to the library. Our children’s programs, particularly the Summer Reading Program events, are outgrowing the indoor space that is at our disposal. The outdoor stage will help to alleviate that pressure on library programs, plus provide a spot for other organizations to present programs and concerts.

Speaking of the Summer Reading Program, the summer of 2014 was our best year yet! We had 1041 children participate (a 33 percent increase over 2013) and 454 teens participate (a whopping 118 percent increase over 2013).

The Summer Reading Program is a fun and popular way to keep reading levels up over the summer.

We offered many free classes through the Collaborative Technology Center (CTC) at the Madelyn Helling Library, including technology programs specifically for teenagers and for children. The 3-D printer continues to be popular, with many people enjoying free access to this new technology.

The long-awaited library lending kiosk for North San Juan arrived a couple of weeks ago. We are readying materials for our opening collection and it will be stocked and operational in the next few weeks – watch for information on a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the announcement that it is ready for business. The kiosk is located outside the San Juan Community Library in the Oak Tree Community Center.

We will also be placing a bookdrop outside the Community Library, which can be used for County as well as Community library materials.

Last, but certainly not least, we are proud of our collaboration with the local indigenous tribe, the Nisenan. Since the beginning of July, the Nisenan tribe and the library have been working with the California State Library on a grant-funded project to create a library collection of documents, photographs, and other materials related to the history and culture of the Nevada City Rancheria.

We have also been recording oral histories and stories from tribal members, which will be used when creating an interactive kiosk display that can travel to library branches, schools, and events. Together, we have presented three well-attended programs that were fun as well as informative.

The final program will be Saturday, May 16, in the Gene Albaugh Community Room at the Madelyn Helling Library, in the afternoon (exact time to be determined). If you are interested in the history of those who were here long before the Gold Rush, this program is not to be missed.

Please stop in at your local Nevada County Library branch this week and celebrate National Library Week with us. Submit your original haiku, limerick, or poem about libraries, books, or librarians to be entered into a drawing for prizes.

This week we are issuing free replacement cards for people who have lost their cards or have a card that is in poor condition. (If you have lost your card, you will need a picture ID to get a new one.) We also have two special programs on Thursday, April 16, both at the Madelyn Helling Library: A Play Date for children seven and under from 10 to 12 and a Writing Workshop with Kim Culbertson for teens and adults from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

See you at the library!

Laura Pappani is the Nevada County Librarian.


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