Public agencies sharing facility, so public benefits |

Public agencies sharing facility, so public benefits

The opening of a Nevada County branch library at Bear River High School marks the triumph of a good idea pursued by dedicated professionals. The community should take pride in their work.

The situation has been this: The nearest public library in the county for residents of Higgins Corner and Lake of the Pines is in downtown Grass Valley – some 20 miles away.

While a collection of dog-eared paperbacks near the cash register of the Red Wagon Restaurant met some of the demand for circulating reading material in south Nevada County, people who need to drive 20 miles to find a book are likely to find reasons not to use the library. New public libraries are expensive to build and expensive to staff.

The long-awaited construction of a new library at Bear River High School provided an obvious solution to the problem. School libraries are heavily used during the day; public libraries often are busiest in the evenings and weekends. Why build two libraries to serve the same community?

That’s a question often raised by taxpayers, but it’s been difficult to resolve. Turf issues between local governments and school districts, worries about after-hours security of school buildings and subtle operating differences between school and public libraries all have torpedoed many a proposed cooperative agreement.

But County Librarian Francisco Pinneli and school librarian Christine Trussler worked hard to resolve the problems. They kept in mind the substantial benefits – a greater collection for the school library, greater access for adults and schoolchildren alike to a public library – and hammered out a deal.

The cost to county taxpayers? About $50,000 a year, far less than the cost of leasing and staffing a separate facility to meet the needs of the Higgins Corner area.

The library at Bear River will be open to the public 3-6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. We hope the community uses it so heavily that those hours need to be expanded.

And we hope that everyone from the community who uses the new library appreciates the dedicated efforts that led to its creation.

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