Grassroots efforts to save our libraries |

Grassroots efforts to save our libraries

With the threat of cutbacks and possible branch closures, a drive was started in late December to help with rent at the Penn Valley Library.

To date, we have raised more than $2,400, which will continue to grow as regular users add a dollar or two to the donation jar every time they visit the PV station near the Holiday Market, across from Lake Wildwood.

More than 6,000 people living in Penn Valley have library cards, and another 600 live in Smartsville (14 percent of all Nevada County Library cardholders). That’s roughly $15 per cardholder to keep this branch running.

Due to our somewhat remote location and the difficulty of parking at the Grass Valley Library, it is important to our community to keep this branch open. If you want to help, checks can be made payable to Nevada County Library, with “Save Penn Valley Branch” in the memo line; leave checks at the branch.

Recently, The Union, NCTV and Friends of the Library joined forces to help keep the Nevada County Library system in public hands. The Union Publisher Jeff Ackerman wrote an article in the newspaper recently about the situation and enclosed an envelope for returning “Save the Library” checks.

More than 700 households sent in almost $27,000 in the very first week.

On Feb. 20, from 3 to 9 p.m., NCTV and Friends of the Library will hold a Library Aid Telethon, allowing folks to call in pledges to help the libraries. You can view the telethon at NCTV on Comcast channel 11. Local authors will be on hand to lend their support.

The Getz family, which owns the Del Oro Theatre in downtown Grass Valley, also has stepped up to help.

From Feb. 22 through April 13, the Getzes are showing a series of classic movies on Monday evenings and Tuesdays at noon. Part of the proceeds will go towards books, DVDs and audio books for the library, so check their schedule and plan to catch some old time favorites on the big screen. First up is “Gone with the Wind.”

The common goal of all these efforts is to influence decision making. We want to let the Nevada County Board of Supervisors know how important our libraries are to our community.

When you write a check to Nevada County Library, “Save the Penn Valley Branch,” you are saying that you want this small branch to remain open. When you write a check to Save the Library or make a pledge at the telethon, you are saying that all libraries are important, and that you want to keep them in public hands.

However you decide to help, operational funds are needed for the entire system to keep the branches open.

Every little bit helps.

There are no guarantees for our efforts, but the Board of Supervisors needs to make some decisions, and these are ways to let them know how we feel. They will decide regarding the management of the library (public or private) at their meeting Feb. 23.

If they decide to keep the libraries public, then budget changes such as reduced hours and staff or closing branches will happen in early April. If the decision is made to hire LSSI, an outside company, to manage the libraries, then all bets are off.

There are proposals as to what LSSI might do but a negotiated contract would determine what actually happens.

Got a tip about someone or something in Lake Wildwood or Penn Valley? Contact Shirl Mendonca at

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