Nevada County Librarian Laura Pappani takes new role with system | TheUnion.com

Nevada County Librarian Laura Pappani takes new role with system

No one taught County Librarian Laura Pappani how to handle a 3-foot iguana roaming the halls of the Grass Valley Public Library.

It was 2010 and a patron approached Pappani inquiring about the reptile. She told the person the library had no iguana.

Then she saw it.

"I thought it was fake," Pappani said. "And then it moved.

"Nobody expects the iguana," she laughed.

The county librarian for almost four years, Pappani will step down in January and become the branch manager of the Grass Valley library. Yolande Wilburn, currently branch manager of the Madelyn Helling Library, will become the interim county librarian. Current Grass Valley branch manager Crystal Miles will then step into Wilburn's old position.

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Pappani said that when she took the county librarian job she wanted to stabilize the system's finances — a goal realized with the November 2016 passage of Measure A.

"Now it's time to focus on my family," Pappani said.

CEO Rick Haffey praised Pappani, crediting her in an email with both Measure A's passage and a new amphitheater at the Madelyn Helling Library.

"We are very happy that she will be staying with the Nevada County Library system as the Branch Manager for the Grass Valley Library," Haffey said.

Turning a page

Pappani's career path to county librarian started with semiconductors.

She worked in international marketing for the semiconductor industry for 15 years before switching jobs.

"I was not happy," she said. "I didn't feel like I was doing anything important, really."

Pappani wanted to help people. She also loved research, books and reading. Libraries were a perfect fit.

Having served about 12 years with the Nevada County library system, Pappani said she's most proud of the team effort that led to Measure A's passage.

The sales tax's passage brought financial stability to the library system, Pappani said.

"We were facing an erosion of services," she added. "We would have had to make some cuts."

The sales tax also has allowed library branches to extend their hours. The Grass Valley branch in January will be open on Mondays, the first time in about 10 years, Pappani said.

"I've really enjoyed this job," she added. "I've met so many interesting people. I hope people will visit me in Grass Valley, but don't bring your iguana."

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.