New library director starts Jan. 22 | NevadaAppeal.com

New library director starts Jan. 22

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Sara Jones, the new library director, stands in the history section of the Carson City Library on Wednesday.

Sara Jones, administrator of the Nevada State Library and Archives, was chosen by members of the library board last month to serve as Carson City’s new director. She’ll start Jan. 22.

While “I have a great deal to learn, I also want to get in there and see what I can do to make it better,” Jones said.

Jones was the library director for the Elko-Lander-Eureka County Library system before starting at the state library in 2001.

One of the first public events planned as a learning experience for Jones is an open house, tentatively scheduled from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Carson City Library, 900 N. Roop St. It will allow her to meet with residents in a relaxed setting and find out what they need their library to provide, she said.

As one of two final candidates for the position, her first contact with the city’s library users was more controlled – she and the other finalist went through a public interview process that allowed a panel of residents to ask them questions. Board members also interviewed them then announced their choice that same day.

For most people, a job interview with a couple of people peppering them with questions could prove disconcerting. Jones, however, was happy to open up in front of any residents willing to listen.

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“The public owns the library,” she said. “They have a right to look at the person who will run it.”

Jones is familiar with the library: one of her responsibilities with the state was to provide community libraries with advice and technical assistance.

And because she, her husband and children, ages 10 and 13, live in Carson City, she knows somewhat what the place is like.

“It’s pretty apparent the facility is too small, and it’s an incredibly busy library,” she said.

A bond initiative proposal for voters in 2008 could provide money to build a new library, an idea still being weighed by board members. Other options include operating a satellite location, such as in a shopping center, or using a bookmobile to bring materials to other sections of the community, Jones said.

She is working on her doctorate, which will focus on the value of libraries and getting decision makers more interested in how the service is provided. She has a master’s degree in library science from Syracuse (N.Y.) University and a bachelor’s in interpersonal communication from Boise State University in Idaho.

Jones said she’s well aware of the city’s budget constraints, but emphasizes that public libraries “are a huge quality-of-life issue” in Nevada and across the United States.

“It’s not just about books – it’s music, DVDs, computers,” she said. “It’s a library with many good aspects and a motivated, highly knowledgeable staff.”

Her ultimate goal is “to make it even better,” she said.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.