Nevada County Library’s popular literacy programs gets extra funding |

Nevada County Library’s popular literacy programs gets extra funding

John Orona
Staff Writer

The Nevada County library system was awarded more than $50,000 in funding to bolster its adult and family literacy programs and purchase books recommended by the public.

The library will receive $18,000 for its adult literacy program, called Read Up!, $25,000 for its family literacy programming and $12,000 for the Zip Books program, all of which are funded through the state library.

With the Zip Books program, library patrons in good standing can order a book they wish to have stocked at the library and have it shipped directly to their home for free, fulfilled through a state-controlled Amazon prime account. Patrons can make up to three requests per month, with some restrictions: audio books can cost no more than $75, traditional books no more than $50 and they all must have broad appeal.

“As someone who has almost completely run out of bookshelf space, I’m am an enthusiastic supporter of the library,” Board of Supervisors Chair Richard Anderson said.

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Anderson noted he has tried to use the service twice, once for a World War II book that was successfully delivered and another time for a book on a rock and roll band that was too obscure to fit the criteria.

According to County Librarian Yolande Wilburn, the program has been one of the library’s most successful, with about 1,300 participants since beginning in 2013 as an alternative to interlibrary loans, which can take a long time for rural libraries.

According to Wilburn, additional monies may be available for the adult literacy and Zip Books program based on results. Last year, the county obtained $9,000 in additional funding for Zip Books after using all of their initial $7,500 allocation, due to the great demand.

“Congratulations on using all the money and asking for more,” Supervisor Heidi Hall said. “I wasn’t aware of this program and I’m really glad to learn about it.”

Through the literacy programs, the funding helps produce pop-up bilingual storytimes, drop-in literacy hour at the Grass Valley Library, one-on-one tutoring, facilitating literacy across family generations, English as a second language workshops, workforce training and other family literacy instruction.

According to Wilburn, the library’s literacy efforts have resulted in 196 learner goals met, with two people earning GEDs, two passing the citizenship test, 14 obtaining new jobs and 14 able to read books to their children.

The literacy program has 30 active tutors for 32 learners, with five other tutors awaiting training and 15 additional learners waitlisted. Wilbrun called for additional tutors who are comfortable with technology, working with people with disabilities and able to pass a background check.

“The best literacy outcomes of success occurs when the whole family is involved,” Wilburn said. “That’s why we go outside the library; we’re not just waiting for people to come to us, we want to be sure that we’re connecting to families in the community because we want to support family literacy.”

Contact Staff Writer John Orona at or 530-477-4229.

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