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Library History

1904-1930: The Early Years

Washoe County Library System began in 1904 with the opening of Reno's Carnegie Free Public Library at the corner of South Virginia and Mill Streets. The Carnegie library served residents of Washoe County until 1930, when the library found a larger space in the old State Building in Powning Park across Mill Street. The building was erected by the State of Nevada on a site leased by Washoe County, beginning the long relationship between area libraries and Washoe County.

1930-1979: The Steady Growth Years

The Sparks Library opened its doors in January of 1932 at its first location on B Street (now Victorian Avenue). It later moved to its current location near Oddie Boulevard and 12th Street. The first mobile library in Washoe County Library System-the "Book Bus"-became a reality in the late 1950's, and served the residents of Wadsworth Gerlach, and Empire. By 1966, Washoe County had two libraries on wheels.

In May of 1966, Reno saw the grand opening and dedication of the Downtown Reno Library, a gift from the Max C. Fleischmann Foundation to the people of Washoe County. The architecturally unique building designed by Hewitt C. Wells continues to serve residents and visitors to the Reno area.

In 1973, the Stead Branch opened to serve the residents of the North Valleys area. It also served as the library for Truckee Meadows Community College while that institution's current building was being built, and would later relocate to its current location in Golden Valley. It was known as the Peavine Branch until 1999, when it became the North Valleys Library.

Incline Village saw the opening of its first stand-alone public library in 1978, made possible by a donation of land by Boise Cascade. The construction was funded by the Washoe County Library Fund and a grant from the Max C. Fleischmann Foundation.

A grant also allowed the Senior Center Library to open its doors in Reno in 1979. The facility was primarily staffed by volunteers, providing book circulation, programs, and homebound delivery. The current location on 9th Street became an independent branch in 1991.

1980-1995: The Partnership Years

When it was no longer economically feasible to drive the Bookmobile 200 miles from Reno to Gerlach to provide library services, the Gerlach High School Community Library became the first "partnership library" in Washoe County. The library was originally located in the school's former lunchroom, but a new library facility was provided in 1996.

In 1987, the Sierra View Library became the first Washoe County Library branch to open in a shopping center (followed shortly thereafter by North Valleys).

In 1992, Washoe County Library and Washoe County School District again joined forces to open the Galena Community Library, inside the new Galena High School. The Galena branch served residents of the South Valleys until the construction of the South Valleys Library in 2003, at which time the Galena facility converted to a dedicated school library.

Also in 1992, the Verdi Community Library opened as Washoe County's third partnership library. The Northeast Reno community got a partnership library in 1994 with the opening of the Duncan/Traner Community Library in the Traner Middle School Library. Mendive Community Library became the fifth and last partnership library in Washoe County when it opened in 1995, serving the East Sparks community.

In 1994, voters approved a 30-year, two-cent property-tax override for the purpose of "acquiring, constructing, improving, equipping, operating and maintaining library facilities for the County."

The Washoe County Library System's website, the first public-library site in Nevada, debuted in September 1995. The Library was the first department in Washoe County to have its own web presence.

2008-Present:  Years of Challenge and Opportunity

The national economic downturn, which was felt deeply throughout the state of Nevada, began to impact Library operations in late 2007.  Between 2007 and 2013, the Library's General Fund budget was reduced by over 40%, and over 90 positions were lost due to attrition.  The Mendive Community Library closed in May 2008 after 13 years of service.  Public hours were reduced by approximately 25% from previous levels beginning in July of 2009.  In January, 2010, both the Mobile Library and the homebound-services van were taken out of service.

With a resilient and dedicated staff, and helped by initiatives such as new self-service checkout machines (more than 20, all built in-house) and consolidated service desks, Washoe County Library System operates 12 branches with a total workforce of approximately 130.

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On The Come Up

Angie Thomas

Girls on the Line

Jennie Liu

Dry

Neal Shusterman

The Crimes of Grindelwald

J.K. Rowling

The Raven Tower

Ann Leckie

A Justified Murder

Jude Devereaux

I.M.

Isaac Mizrahi

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder

Joanne Fluke

California Girls

Susan Mallery

The Border

Don Winslow

The Vanishing Man

Charles Finch

The Threat

Andrew McCabe

The Next to Die

Sophie Hannah

Never Tell

Lisa Gardner

Mission Critical

Mark Greaney

Liquid Rules

Mark Miodownik

The Chef

James Patterson

The Victory Garden

Rhys Bowen

Parkland

Dave Cullen

Grateful American

Gary Sinise

Early Riser

Jasper Fforde

Dinner for Everyone

Mark Bittman

Cosmos Possible Worlds

Ann Druyan

Wild Bill

Tom Clavin

The Wedding Guest

Jonathan Kellerman

The Ruin of Kings

Jenn Lyons

Merchants of Truth

Jill Abramson

The Lost Man

Jane Harper

Good Riddance

Elinor Lipman

The Girl in the Glass Box

James Grippando

Endgames

L.E. Modesitt

Connections in Death

J.D. Robb

A Time to Scatter Stones

Lawrence Block

Judgement

Joseph Finder

The Rule of Law

John Lescroart

Maid

Stephaine Land

Leters From Peaceful Lane

Janet Dailey

The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Alan Bradley

Crucible

James Rollins

Broken Ground

Val McDermid

No Sunscreen for the Dead

Tim Dorsey

The Flimflam Affair

Bill Pronzini

Liar Liar

James Patterson

The Winter of the Witch

Katherine Arden

Untouchable

Jayne Anne Krentz

Turning Point

Danielle Steel

Through Fiery Trials

David Weber

The Sweetest Thing

Judith McNaught

The New Iberia Blues

James Lee Burke

The House Next Door

James Patterson

Daughter of War

Brad Taylor

The Burglar

Thomas Perry

The Best of Us

Robyn Carr

An Anonymous Girl

Greer Hendricks

Queen of the World

Robert Hardman

Verses for the Dead

Douglas Preston

Siege of Stone

Terry Goodkind

In a House of Lies

Ian Rankin

A Delicate Touch

Stuart Woods

Watching You

Lisa Jewell

Undaunted

Helen Hardt

Pandemic

Robin Cook

The Enemy of my Enemy

Robin Cook

Death of an Eye

Dana Stabenow

The Three Secret Cities

Matthew Reilly

Once Upon a River

Dianne Setterfield

Of Blood and Bone

Nora Roberts

Hearts of the Missing

Carol Potenza

Hall of Mirrors

Christopher Fowler

Eggs on Ice

Laura Childs

The Boy

Tami Hoag

Before We Were Strangers

Brenda Novak

All That Heaven Allows

Mark Griffin

Oath of Office

Marc Cameron

Kingdom of the Blind

Louise Penny

Hazards of Time Travel

Joyce Carol Oates

Blood Feud

Mike Lupica

The Other Miss Bridgerton

Julia Quinn

Master of His Fate

Barbara Taylor Bradford

Homeward Hound

Rita Mae Brown

Fire & Blood

George R.R. Martin

Beauchamp Hall

Danielle Steel

Target

James Patterson

The Sky-Blue Wolves

S.M. Stirling

The Shadows We Hide

Allen Eskens

Night of Miracles

Elizabeth Berg

Look Alive Twenty-five

Janet Evanovich

Long Road To Mercy

David Baldacci

Limetown

Jack Akers

You Don't Own Me

Mary Higgins Clark

Sea of Greed

Clive Cussler

A Pocketful of Crows

Joanne Harris

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

My One and Only Duke

Grace Burrowes

In the Galway Silence

Ken Bruen

Forever and a Day

Anthony Horowitz

The Feral Detective

Jonathan Lethem

The Colors of All the Cattle

Alexander McCall Smith

A Christmas Revelation

Anne Perry

Past Tense

Lee Child

UnDo It!

Dean Ornish

The Truths We Hold

Kamala Harris

The Longest Line on the Map

Eric Rutkow

The Martha Manual

Martha Stewart

The New Childhood

Jordan Shapiro

The Minimalist Home

Joshua Becker

The Chaos Cure

Marla Cilley

Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful

Arwen Dayton

The Point of it All

Charles Krauthammer

Never Grow Up

Jackie Chan

Game Changers

Dave Asprey

The Future of Capitalism

Paul Collier

Acid for the Children

Flea

Thanks a Thousand

A.J. Jacobs

Quarterback

John Feinstein

Out of the Maze

Spencer Johnson

Let's Go, So We Can Get Back

Jeff Tweedy

Becoming

Michelle Obama

The Allies

Winston Groom

In Extremis

Lindsey Hilsum

Homebody

Joanna Gaines

Heads You Win

Jeffrey Archer

Did You Just Eat That?

Paul Dawson

Penguin Flies Home

Lita Judge

Dragon Pearl

Yoon Ha Lee

Chicken Talk

Patricia MacLachlan

Warriors in Winter

Mary Pope Osborne

The Unteachables

Gordon Korman

A Gift for Goose

Tad Hills

I Need a Hug

Aaron Blabey

Geronimo on Ice

Geronimo Stilton

Brawl of the Wild

Dav Pilkey

Love, Z

Jessie Sima

Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug

Eric Carle

How Do I Love Thee?

Jennifer Adams

Isle of You

David LaRochelle

I Wish it Would Snow

Sarah Dillard

A Hug is for Holding Me

Lisa Wheeler

The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs

Mark Sperring

Little Owl's Snow

Divya Srinivasan

Sleep, My Bunny

Rosemary Wells

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow

Jessica Townsend

All Right Already!

Jory John

The Raging Storm

Erin Hunter

Little Dreamers

Vashti Harrison

Inkling

Kenneth Oppel

Flashback

Shannon Messenger

Children of Jubilee

Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Meltdown

Jeff Kinney

Wrath of the Dragon King

Brandon Mull

THe Snowy Nap

Jan Brett

Land of Stories

Chris Colfer

Carmela Full of Wishes

Matt de la Peña

The Genius Experiment

James Patterson

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

Jon Agee

Spy School Goes South

Stuart Gibbs

A Map of Days

Ransom Riggs

Louisiana's Way Home

Kate DiCamillo

I Lost My Tooth

Mo Willems

The Wicked King

Holly Black

The Girl King

Mimi Yu

Evermore

Sara Holland

THe HIve Queen

Tui Sutherland

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

Rachel Cohn

Broken Land

Jonathan Maberry

Queen of Air and Darkness

Cassandra Clare

Fire & Heist

Sarah Beth Durst

The Storyteller

Traci Chee

Pulp

Robin Talley

The Lying Woods

Ashley Elston

Skyward

Brandon Sanderson

Little White Lies

Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix

Julie C. Dao

Girls of Paper and Fire

Natasha Ngan

Archenemies

Marissa Meyer

Kingdom of Ash

Sarah Maas

Muse of Nightmares

Laini Taylor

A Blade So BLack

L.L. McKinney

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Hank Green

Wildcard

Marie Lu

Imposters

Scott Westerfeld

Two Dark Reigns

Kendare Blake

People Kill People

Ellen Hopkins