A and#8216;changing of the guardand#8217; at the Truckee Library
Special to the Sun
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; To the casual observer, it might seem as though a librarianand#8217;s job is simply to buy books, check them out and in, and return them to their correct places on the shelves. In fact, librarians are highly trained professionals who build collections of information resources, help people access information, and keep library systems running smoothly.
What makes public libraries such valuable institutions are the dedicated staff members who keep their fingers on the pulse of the community, buy and organize materials that respond to the needs of their patrons, provide appropriate programming, and offer friendly and easy access to information.
Last month witnessed the retirement of two long-term and dedicated employees at the Truckee Library who, each in her own way, contributed enormously to the strength, health, and resources of our communityand#8217;s public library.
Before her arrival at the Truckee Library, Library Assistant Monika Tobin, a native of Austria, worked as a research assistant for a physics professor at University of Nevada, Reno who was writing a book on scientist Michael Polanyi. When she was first hired, the Truckee Library was alive and well, with shelves full of books and great childrenand#8217;s programming. However, as library funding became scarce during the 1990s, Monika assumed responsibility for keeping our library alive, at one point effectively running it single-handedly as the hours and staff kept shrinking.
Fortunately, revenues became more stable with the passage of Measure B and#8212; the sales tax measure that now provides the majority of revenue for the Nevada County Library system and#8212; and Monika witnessed increases in staff and library users, and watched the library become more user-friendly. When a full-time professional librarian was finally hired to run our library, she recognized Monikaand#8217;s fine work, noting that, and#8220;Because of you, this library is a better place with a first rate non-fiction section thatand#8217;s the envy of all the [other Nevada County] branches.and#8221;
Monika, who recently retired after 27 years at the Truckee Library, looks forward to having more time for traveling, hiking, swimming, skiing, and activities with her grandchildren. She hopes the library will soon be able to move to a larger building in order to become a bigger and better community learning center. During her tenure, she made our community library a better place with her welcoming presence, sense of humor, professionalism, and willingness to roll up her sleeves and get things done.
Lauri Ferguson, who also retired in June after 13 years at the Truckee Library, worked at the Los Angeles Times for 14 years, was a researcher at the Boston Consulting Group, and taught English in Hong Kong before landing at the Truckee Library. Lauriand#8217;s organizational skills, technology experience, and tireless advocacy have served our library well, and she has overseen and facilitated the arrival of computers, the end of card catalogs, and the construction of a new childrenand#8217;s wing, among other changes at the Library.
Her biggest challenge as Branch Librarian has been to balance the needs of patrons with the available financial resources. The recent recession meant a decrease in funding for the Library, and Lauri weathered several major staff shake-ups as well as an attempt by the County to outsource library operations to a private company.
Over the years she has witnessed an increase in both the Libraryand#8217;s collection of books and materials, and in public participation in the library and its mission. She is proud to leave behind a well-trained and dedicated staff who can help people find most anything.
She feels the strengths of our library are first, being attuned to the communityand#8217;s interests and reading habits, and, second, our wonderful and well-attended childrenand#8217;s programs. She, also, dreams of a larger facility where the library could expand materials and programs. Her plans for retirement? To travel, garden, and to enjoy the best summer vacation ever, right here in Truckee.
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