Ample activities for children, teens at the Nevada County Library |

Ample activities for children, teens at the Nevada County Library

Wild Things, Inc put on a wild animal program in July 2014, Madelyn Helling Library, Nevada City.
John Hart/ | The Union

I spent a couple of years as a children’s librarian in Nevada County and I have to say it’s probably the most enjoyable job in the library system.

You get to plan fun activities and watch kids get excited about books, reading, and libraries. The children and their parents love to see you and talk to you about books and their lives. When you see children from your programs at the grocery store or a street fair, they are so excited to see “Their Librarian” out in the real world.

Basically, you are the rock star of the library system.

We currently have two rock stars working for the Nevada County Library system — Teri Rinne in Truckee and Kim Farnsworth in western Nevada County. They are supported by Teri Alton at the Madelyn Helling Library and John Wingerd at Grass Valley, library assistants who work in the children’s room of their respective branches. Teri Alton and John help library users find what they’re looking for, put up displays, and help with programs. At Madelyn Helling, you will also often see Jill Davidson doing storytimes or helping with crafts or other programs. Jill recently started a regular series of technology programs aimed at our younger library users called “Kids Can.” Officially, Jill is assigned to the Collaborative Technology Center, but we can’t keep her away from children’s programs.

Youth Services Librarians are busy. For example, in Truckee during the month of March, there were just as many events as there were open days: 25 open days, 25 programs. Teri Rinne juggled 14 regularly-scheduled storytimes, 10 scheduled class visits (each of which included a storytime for pre-schoolers or a library skills game and book selection time for elementary schoolers), and a celebration party for the Winter Reading Program. In all, Truckee children’s programs drew 419 children and 109 adults to the Truckee Library in March.

In western Nevada County, Kim manages programming and services for young people at the Madelyn Helling and Grass Valley libraries. Every week, she organizes two storytimes, a read-to-a-dog program, a sing-along, a Lego club, and a popular Anime and Manga Otaku (fan) Club. On a monthly basis, Kim runs two movie programs and a Teen Advisory Group. In addition, the two libraries host class visits and tours, as well as special events. It’s a busy schedule to juggle, but very rewarding.

Both Teri Rinne and Kim are busy planning for their Summer Reading Programs, which start in June and run through the very beginning of August. Some of the fun activities planned are performances, parties, weekly take-home crafts, and a stuffed animal sleepover. In western Nevada County, there will be a weekly sing-along Family Movie Series, as well as a Teen Lock-In at the Madelyn Helling Library. Details will be posted in the next few weeks on the Library’s website (

It’s important to note that library programs are designed to both teach skills and entertain. Libraries and librarians play an important role in promoting early and lifelong literacy. Storytimes introduce children to the fun they can have with reading. Summer Reading Programs help to halt the “Summer Slide,” wherein elementary students lose about a month’s worth of learning — or more — during summer vacation. Children’s and teen programs are also aimed at enhancing the science, arts, and technology training that young people are getting in the schools.

This week, there is special programming for National Library Week on Thursday at the Madelyn Helling Library. Children up to age seven are invited to a Play Date from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, with bubbles, crafts, sand, and all sorts of fun activities. At 4 p.m., local author Kim Culbertson will be running a Writer’s Workshop for teens (12 and up) and adults. She will be leading a few writing exercises and answering questions about the art and business of writing.

Laura Pappani is the Nevada County Librarian. Visit for more information on Nevada County libraries.

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