Organizers have big hopes for center |

Organizers have big hopes for center

Eileen JoyceGary Noy stands in the empty - save for one donated book - offices of the Center for Sierra Nevada Studies at Sierra College in Rocklin Tuesday. He is hoping to secure funding for the project with fund-raisers.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

There’s one book now in a new library Sierra College hopes will become a center devoted to the region’s history and culture.

A 1951 edition of “The Rush for Gold,” a grammar school textbook on California history, stands alone in shelves with room for a thousand books in the college’s new Center for Sierra Nevada Studies at the Rocklin campus.

The book is a gift from college head librarian Brian Haley to Gary Noy, a history instructor and director of the college’s new Center for Sierra Nevada Studies.

“We have big plans, of course, but we don’t quite know yet what programs we’ll have,” Noy said. “We don’t know precisely how we’re going to approach this.”

The center, which college trustees approved in June with backing from the faculty, has no budget and materials yet, but a 20-member advisory council plans to meet monthly to develop the center, which focuses on the history, culture and environment of the Sierra Nevada region, Noy said.

Students, teachers and others at the college were so enthusiastic about “Standing Guard,” a student-driven multimedia project that focused on World War II camps that interned Japanese, that they wanted to work on a similar project about the Sierra Nevada, Noy said.

“The enthusiasm was so strong, we wanted to make it a permanent part of the community,” he said.

Noy, whose book “Red Dirt” about Highway 49 was recently published, is a Grass Valley native from a long line of Cornish miners. He’s counting on others to share their family histories and artifacts.

“I’m the first generation of my family to work above ground,” Noy noted.

Actually four floors above ground, at the top of Sierra College’s Learning Resource Center.

“All we know is we’ll have a kick-off celebration in October,” Noy said. Since there’s no money for the project, a fund-raiser is likely, he added.

“We have high hopes,” Noy said.

Suggestions for programs or projects are welcome. Call Gary Noy at (916) 781-7184 or e-mail him at

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