State Library and Archives celebrates 10-year mark

Behind a dimly lit reading room through two sets of secure doors sits a locked vault that contains some of the most precious treasures of Nevada history.

With careful hands, Jeff Kintop untied a silk covering preserving an original 36-star American flag that once flew over Fort Ruby in 1864 after Nevada gained statehood.

"It only comes out for very brief periods of time for very special occasions," Kintop said.

The hand-painted artifact is just one piece of Nevada's past being cared for at the Nevada State Library and Archives building in Carson City. The department on Friday marked the anniversary of 10 years at the Stewart Street site housing the state library, archives and records under one roof.

The 130,000-square-foot building houses the state's collection of more than 64,400 books and 677,500 government publications. It cost $15.2 million to construct.

So far, the planning to provide enough space for future needs has worked out as the collection continues to expand. The only department lacking in space is records storage in the basement -- the keeper of what seems like never-ending acres of boxed paper records from all over Nevada.

The "one-stop shop" provides the public, state workers and officials with records, historical documents, library resources, meeting space and other programs.

An art museum on the first floor houses the original Nevada State Constitution and is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

"This is very much a public facility," said Guy Louis Rocha, assistant administrator for Archives and Records.

The state library contains a reference collection and books and materials that can also be borrowed. It mainly serves state government "but the public is certainly welcome," said State Librarian Sara Jones.

The library plans to install 10 computers in a new computer laboratory which is in the works. Each will have Internet access.

The library holds sets of testing materials for reference, including tests for state jobs. There is also a nearly complete collection of books about Nevada history.

"The Nevada collection is as complete as possible," Jones said.

The public can also access back issues of just about every newspaper in Nevada, Jones said, going back to the mid 19th century. The Nevada Appeal issues date to the first issue printed in 1865.

Among the treasured archives at the Stewart Street complex are hand scripted books of Legislative sessions, old maps and city notes.

Kintop, state archives manager, said he is already saving space for Gov. Kenny Guinn's papers when he leaves office.

The building provides space for the state Literacy Resource Center, a program that supports literacy activities for teachers and others in the state.

Another program provided by the library is the Talking Books program which provides materials for visually-impaired citizens by mail or in person. The library also provides resources for county and city libraries throughout the state.


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