Interview: Nevada State Library and Archives

IMLS staff interviewed state librarians to discuss how their new five-year plans for LSTA Grants to States funds (2013-2017) differ from their past plans (2008-2012), and how they see the needs of library users in their states changing and evolving. This post is part of a series and features IMLS Senior Library Program Officer Michele Farrell interviewing State Library and Archives Administrator/State Librarian Daphne DeLeon, Deputy State Librarian Karen Starr and LSTA Coordinator Diane Baker. Read more about the Nevada State Library and Archives’ priorities in IMLS’ state profile for Nevada.

 

Michele: What were the three most important community needs you sought to address through library services between 2008 and 2012?

Daphne: One was access to electronic content, which encapsulated access to electronic databases for the public schools and public libraries. The statewide digital initiative also looked to create a collaborative infrastructure within Nevada to allow our libraries and any holders of historical materials to be able to make them available online.

Karen: We have land patents and Supreme Court case files and verdicts. Those land patents are really useful, because during the housing retrenchment in Las Vegas we were the holders of information that people needed in order to support their house titles.

View of the top of the Hoover Dam wall with concrete pouring forms on top. Construction on two of the intake towers is seen behind the wall (mid-1930s).

View of the top of the Hoover Dam wall with concrete pouring forms on top. Construction on two of the intake towers is seen behind the wall (mid-1930s). Part of the UNLV Lied Library’s Water in the West project, one several LSTA-funded projects that highlighted Nevada history.

Diane: Some of the other individual projects that we funded included several out of UNLV that were related to Nevada historical issues. One was the art of menus specific to Las Vegas and its culinary development; another was related to the unique architecture styles that go with resort communities and Water in the West.

Karen: Then, in terms of literacy needs, we have a statewide reading program where we fund summer reading, El Día de los Niños [Children’s Day], adult reading programs, and year-round reading programs.  We partnered with others in the state to create Nevada Reads, and we’ve also implemented Letters About Literature out of the Center for the Book and the Library of Congress.

A child takes a photo of the program with his tablet.

An afterschool program developed as part of the Carson City Library’s Digital Learning project.

Diane: For the third need, which is teens homework afterschool programs, our electronic databases are a foundation for a lot of the homework projects that had been funded as subgrants in Henderson, Las Vegas-Clark County, Carson City, and Washoe County.

 

Michele: How did the evaluation of the 2008-2012 programs and initiatives affect your state’s plan for the new 2013-2017 five-year cycle? 

Daphne: We seem to have felt the national recession early on in Nevada, and we continue to lag in the recovery. Throughout the evaluation of programs from the last five-year cycle, where we hadn’t seen that type of economic environment before, it really brought to light a lot of things that we were able to bring to our focus groups. One was the ability to reexamine  our plans and decide if things are changing. We are appointing a steering group of statewide representatives to work with the Nevada State Library and Archives and myself to annually review the plan and make sure it’s still in sync. We found that in 2008-2012 our plan was still very useful, but, at a certain point, needs were beginning to emerge, and they weren’t directly reflected in the plan. It made it difficult for some of our libraries and our community to respond.

 

Michele: What are the three most important community needs for the next five-year plan?

Daphne: The three most important needs as we move forward into this new five-year cycle are assessment and planning, information literacy, and workforce development. Overarching all three needs is developing strategies to either strengthen a library’s collaborations or to help it establish new ones.

Diane: One of the things that came out of our steering committee and focus groups is that things change so much in the communities, and they wanted to make sure they were being responsive. Our first goal reflects assessment and planning, in order to best use local, state, and federal resources to serve the community needs. A previous LSTA project at Las Vegas-Clark County developed assessment tools, and we’re looking at taking them statewide.

Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Collections Care/Preservation, Cultural Heritage/Sustainability, Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies, Lifelong learning/ Intergenerational, Workforce Development/Job Assistance | Leave a comment

Growing Up at the Library

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District was one of 10 winners of the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Community member Avree Walker traveled with Executive Director Jeanne Goodrich to Washington D.C.  this past May to accept the award.

Avree Walker walked across the stage at the West Las Vegas Library Theater during his kindergarten graduation. Years would follow with him taking the same place on that stage. He used the computers and resources for school projects, but the informational and cultural programs at the library sparked his interest in the arts.  Now at 23 years old, Avree is a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada pursuing a career in the performing arts. He is also a dancer with the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre. “Without the library services and the programs that the library offered I probably would have been in a completely different field and I found my real passion, which is for the arts, so I’d just like to say thank you.”

Do you know of a museum or library that has made a difference? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 National Medal. Nomination Forms must be mailed and postmarked by October 15, 2014.

Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Cultural Heritage/Sustainability, National Medal for Museum and Library Service | Leave a comment