Carson City Library hosts gang forum |

Carson City Library hosts gang forum

Teri Vance

A forum at the Carson City Library today will bring city leaders and teens together to discuss the community’s role in combating gangs.

“We’re hoping it will be a great community conversation,” said library director Sara Jones. “We want to come away with some items we can move forward with, not just talk.”

The featured speaker will be Elizabeth Martinez, the director of the library in Salinas, Calif.

She has been in partnership with the city’s mayor, Dennis Donohue, in fighting gangs in their community.

Donohue was the guest speaker at a gang-prevention conference hosted by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce in September.

Jones is hoping the partnership in Salinas will serve as a model for Carson City, with the library playing a role in curbing youth interest in gangs.

In Salinas, the city worked with the library to ensure every child received a library card.

Jones said the library can serve an integral role in steering children away from a criminal lifestyle.

“When you look at the core of the issue – gangs or any social ill – the big out is education,” she said. “The library is a really good place for that to happen. It’s a neutral place.”

Following the keynote speech, Martinez will join a panel made up of community leaders including Jones, District Attorney Neil Rombardo, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer John Simms and others.

The panel will host a discussion with community members in attendance, which will include teenagers from the library’s teen board. Members of the Arts and Cultural Coalition also plan to attend.

“We think it’s going to be really important to hear what the kids have to say,” Jones said. “We’re trying to look at a community holistic approach to the problem so it’s not always just law enforcement.”

The forum is open to the public and will begin at 2 p.m.