WASHOE COUNTY IS RESPONDING TO COVID-19
Washoe County Libraries are offering limited hold pickup service, and are otherwise closed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 

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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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Digital Magazines

Instant access to your favorite magazines, now with thousands of new titles

OverDrive Ebooks and Audiobooks

Our main digital collection, with thousands of ebooks and audiobooks

The New York Times

Complimentary digital access to The New York Times

Reading Challenges

Participate in all our reading challenges with the Beanstack app

TechBoomers

Learn popular technology, apps, and websites with a senior focus

Small Engine Repair Reference Center

Detailed, user-friendly repair guides for all manner of small engines

NoveList Plus

Reading recommendations, series information, and more tools for readers

Mango

Learn one of 70 languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, and even Pirate

Lynda.com

Creative, business, and technology courses for in-depth learning

Computer Skills Center

Video courses to learn popular software and computer basics

1,000 Miles Project

The first-hand account of a 1914 prospecting trip across Nevada provides an engaging way to study history

WorldBook Online

With activities and a suite of research tools, it's more than an encyclopedia

TumbleBook Library

A collection of talking, animated picture books and ebooks for kids

TeenTober

Special events for teens for the month of October

Virtual Story Time

Washoe County Library story times, right in your home, every day

OverDrive Ebooks and Audiobooks

Our main digital collection, with thousands of ebooks and audiobooks

Teaching at Home

Help your child's education continue even when the schools are closed

1,000 Miles Project

The first-hand account of a 1914 prospecting trip across Nevada provides an engaging way to study history

WorldBook Online

With activities and a suite of research tools, it's more than an encyclopedia

Teaching at Home

Help your child's education continue even when the schools are closed

Brainfuse HelpNow

Live homework help, writing lab, test prep, and other student resources

Explora

Research resources and tools for students and teachers

Virtual Story Time

Washoe County Library story times, right in your home, every day

STEAM

Science, technology, engineering, and art resources.

Reopening Plan

See our plan for a safe, responsible reopening of our physical locations.

Teaching at Home

Help your child's education continue even when the schools are closed

Family Engagement and Literacy

Cultural and educational resources for kids of all ages

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Community Resources

Resources and support during the coronavirus outbreak

Back to Work Nevada

Links to resume help, unemployment insurance, and business loan providers.

Apps and Tools

Many of our most popular resources have apps for easy use on mobile devices.

TumbleBiblioteca

Disfrute de más de 50 libros, libros de dibujos, y libros con audio para niños de todas las edades.

Referencia Latina

Texto completo cubre una amplia gama de temas dentro y fuera de la academia.

RBdigital

Más de 200 revistas que puede leer, y hasta descargar, en su computadora, teléfono o tableta.

OverDrive

Colección de libros electrónicos y audiolibros descargables en inglés o español.

The New York Times

Acceso gratuito en línea al New York Times, tanto de forma remota como en la biblioteca.

Mango

Aprenda inglés en línea con cursos completos y películas para ayudarle a aprender.

HelpNow

Tutoría en vivo en español o inglés está disponible con Brainfuse HelpNow.