Ridge library in need of a home
A western Nevada County librarian hopes to turn a new page for her community library, which now contains barren shelves and boxed books waiting for a new home.
Roo Cantada started the Ridge community library in 2005 at Twin Ridges School District’s Grizzly Hill library, where she has been a part-time employee since 1999.
Cantada initially implemented the community library on a volunteer basis outside her regular duties with the district donating the space to house the books and other aspects.
Eventually, her vigilance over the community library was woven into her duties as the school’s librarian.
“There are a lot of people out there that don’t have access to things,” Cantada said of the “Ridge” community that includes North San Juan, North Columbia and French Corral.
“We have resources we can share,” Cantada said. “I just think everybody should have access to books.”
But as the community library matured, the Twin Ridges board of trustees began to see some conflicts with having a facility open to the public on a school campus, including liability and finances, said Superintendent James Berardi.
Berardi noted that having a community library on the school’s campus had caused a few problems, such as people using school computers and community members checking out books that students needed.
In addition to providing a free place for the community library, Berardi said the district was also funding the service of a librarian, computers and ink.
“We were giving them free rent, a computer lab and staff,” he said. “We shouldn’t be paying somebody to be running another entity within the school.”
The Ridge community library ended up being evicted by the school board, and Cantada packed approximately 3,500 books into 64 boxes in August, moving them to unused facilities at the former Oak Tree School.
“It broke my heart. It was like watching eight years of work go down the drain,” Cantada said. “I am still kind of shell-shocked by the turn of events.”
Cantada’s position as school librarian remains at the same part-time capacity with the school library remaining open for the students.
“Right now, I’m just a girl with a bunch of books,” she said.
Cantada approached the board of the Oak Tree Community Park and Recreation District — of which she is a member — to propose that the library become a district program.
“I presented the idea of using two main rooms of the old district office (for the library),” she said. “The board has asked me to come back next month with a detailed plan” about how the space would be used.
Cantada said using those rooms as a library would involve a lot of remodeling, including removing built-in furniture and adding carpeting and shelving.
“I don’t know where the money is going to come from, maybe from donations,” she said, adding that without the district as an umbrella, she is not eligible for grants.
The Oak Tree Community Park and Recreation District will meet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Oak Tree Community Park.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236. Staff writer Liz Kellar contributed to this report.
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