LITERACY FOR LIFE: Carson City Library director shares love of reading

Sara Jones called becoming a librarian "really good serendipity." But she wasn't sure at first that she should have left teaching.

Her decision was validated when, as a librarian at the Elko County Library, she rode along on the Bookmobile to Owyhee, a small Indian reservation about

60 miles north of Elko.

"Those school doors burst open, and all the kids came running out toward us," she recalled. "That's when I said, OK, I'm doing the right thing."

As the director of the Carson City Library, she still likes to see people get excited about reading.

"I don't care what it is, reading is reading even if it's your cereal box," she said. "Just as long as you have fun with it."

She started her career as an English teacher, but when her husband took a mining job in Elko, the nearest open teaching position was in Jackpot.

Instead, she applied for a part-time job in the library. On her first day there, the children's librarian quit. She filled in and eventually took over.

"It was everything I loved about teaching without the stuff I didn't," she said. "You got to encourage kids to learn and to read, but you didn't have to grade papers."

When a teaching position opened at the junior high, she opted not to take it.

Instead, she went on to become the library director there. She was then hired as the administrator of the State Library and Archives, representing all the libraries in the state.

Serving in that capacity for six years, Jones worked directly with state leaders to write the laws affecting libraries.

"It was a fabulous opportunity to learn how state government works from the inside," she said.

But after six years, she was ready to be closer to those she served. When the library director position at the Carson City Library opened in January 2007, she took it.

"I'd lived in this community for six years," she said. "I knew the service was really great but it was inadequate in size. Fixing the physical aspect seemed like a great challenge."

In her spare time, Jones puts her preaching to practice.

"I actually read everything," she said. "I don't have any specific genre. I enjoy legal thrillers, historical nonfiction, everything."

Right now, she's reading "Blood and Thunder," about the life of Western explorer Kit Carson.

She was interested to learn that he couldn't read, but tried to keep it a secret from those around him.

"No matter what time you live, illiteracy is a big problem," she said.

But in the more than 20 years she's been a librarian, she's helped to ease that problem.

"I've had people come to me who I read to during story time when they were 3 or 4 years old who've said you actually made a difference in my life," she said. "You made me love books."


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