Guy W. Farmer: Carson City Library looks to the future
For the Nevada Appeal
The brilliant Albert Einstein once said that “the only thing you should absolutely know is the location of the library.” Carson City’s dynamic young (31) Library Director Sena Loyd agrees with Einstein, and so do I.
As someone who supervised U.S. Information Service (USIS) libraries and cultural centers overseas, I understand the importance of libraries to the community, whether here in the U.S. or abroad. And even though I opposed the failed City Center Project — which would have built a big new library at taxpayer expense — in 2012, I’m pleased to report our local library is in good hands, and looking to the future.
“No matter what you need to know, you can find it at the Library,” Ms. Loyd told me over a cup of coffee after I asked for an update on what’s going on at the library. “I was brought in to move the library forward, and not to re-fight old battles,” she said, “and that’s what I’m doing.”
A self-assured and personable young woman with a clear vision of the library’s mission in our community, she’s working within budgetary and space constraints to provide innovative and necessary services to library patrons.
Ms. Loyd, who grew up in nearby El Dorado Hills, Calif., graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s in anthropology and earned an master’s in library science from San Jose State. She first came to Carson to work as a Nevada Highway Department librarian before being hired as the library’s technology trainer in the fall of 2012. So she was a non-participant in the fight for the big new library project, which was soundly defeated by the voters in November, 2012.
When former Library Director Sara Jones departed for Marin County, Calif., in the fall of 2013, the Library Board hired Ms. Loyd as the new director, and she hit the ground running when she assumed the top job in January, 2014. One of her first projects was to establish a “Digitorium” that offers 20 computers to kids for work on school projects. “One day last December more than 100 students used the Digitorium,” she said with obvious pride. After all, the Digitorium is her baby.
“I like partnerships with other libraries and schools,” she declared, and thanks to the Friends of the Library, along with federal and state grants, more than 2,500 kids participated in the Library’s Summer Reading Program last year. Ms. Loyd was quick to recognize the efforts of the library’s online coordinator, former City Supervisor Molly Walt, and outgoing staffer Tammy Westergard in securing and implementing those all-important grants.
Ms. Loyd and her staff are justifiably proud of a partnership between the library, Western Nevada College, the Manufacturing Skills Institute and the Carson School District that provides engineering and technical training to local students, critical skills for 21st century jobs. The library was also proud to host the traveling “Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference” exhibit last April and May. That exciting exhibit was part of a collaborative project with the National Science Foundation.
The library director said she’s fortunate to have “a dedicated staff, a very supportive board and an active Friends of the Library group,” which operates the highly successful, all-volunteer “Browser’s Corner” bookstore across the street from the library. “’Browser’s Corner’ is in the black,” she added with a smile, choosing not to tell a nosy journalist just how successful the bookstore is.
“We want to service the community and we seek community involvement,” she said as she invited us to visit the library. “After all, you pay my salary.” Well said, Sena, and good luck.
Guy W. Farmer has held a Carson Library card since 1962.