Don’t shelve our librarians: Professionalism at risk in Truckee
Special to the Sun
“My guess is [it will be] about 300 years until computers are as good as, say, your local reference library in search.” – Craig Silverstein, director of technology, Google.com
Did you know that the Truckee Library staff has a cumulative 130 years of library wisdom and experience? Seventy-five of those years belong to credentialed professional librarians (who possess a Masters Degree in Library and Information Studies), and 55 of those years belong to high-level paraprofessionals, one of whom has worked for the Truckee Library since the early 1980s!
Did you also know that the Nevada County Board of Supervisors is seriously considering a move to outsource library staffing, which will put our valued and valuable staff in peril? If the Board approves a proposal to outsource, all current library staff will be laid-off with absolutely no guarantee of being rehired by the new regime. Those 130 years of library wisdom and experience could vanish in an instant.
You may be under the impression the days of our library staff are taken up solely with buying books, wrapping them in plastic covers, putting them on the correct shelf, and sitting at the circulation desk to check books in and out. But those duties are the tip of the iceberg compared to the myriad tasks that are performed in the back room, on the phone and online. Librarians are a singular breed of people who revel in the pleasures of finding, organizing, and making information accessible. “Oh,” you say to yourself, “I know how to Google.” But even the tech director of Google itself offers a profoundly professional nod to librarians (see the quote above), and admits that they blow Internet search engines out of the water.
Before coming to Truckee, our professional librarians worked in a variety of public, private and academic settings. Our branch manager spent the majority of her library career at The LA Times’ Library, providing cutting-edge research for writers and reporters, always on tight deadlines. Our children’s librarian was the former Head of Public Services at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, one of the largest and certainly the busiest rare book/manuscripts and special collections library in the nation. She likes to joke about the irony of her former library not allowing anyone under the age of 18 through its doors! Now the under-18 crowd is her primary clientele. One of our temporary employees worked as a librarian in urban libraries in the Bay Area for more than 20 years before relocating to Truckee. Not surprisingly, all librarians took pay cuts to come work for the Truckee Library, just as many of us have, to make living in our mountain paradise a reality.
Not to be overshadowed by their professional counterparts, Truckee Library’s paraprofessionals also possess stellar credentials. Each possesses at least a four-year university degree; most of the staff have also earned advanced degrees, bringing a wealth of varied experience, skills, knowledge and professionalism to their positions. Their knowledge in fine arts, psychology, book editing, foreign languages, technical writing (at Stanford), social sciences, and the law/legal system provide amazing breadth and depth to meet the diverse interests of our library patrons.
We are truly blessed to have such a high caliber staff serving the Truckee public. Let’s not lose it!
Visit the Friends’ website at truckeefol.org for more information and tools to voice your opinion about outsourcing the management of the library.
All Nevada County libraries will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 18 until 2 p.m. for in-staff service training.
Monday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. (2 to 3 year olds)
Babes in Bookland Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (6 months to 2 years)
(on hiatus through November, back in December)
Storytelling with Mrs. Fix on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (3 years and up)
Pajama Time, First Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. (all ages)
Bookshelf’s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library
Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome.
Now on display at the library:
Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly
Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda D’Toole