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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.


Leah on the Offbeat

Becky Albertalli

The Fates Divide

Veronica Roth


Cinda Williams Chima

I Have Lost My Way

Gayle Forman

Fly Guy and the Alienzz

Ted Arnold


Jason Reynolds


Jason Reynolds

Rescue and Jessica

Jessica Kensky

I Got It!

David Wiesner


Kwame Alexander

The 17th Suspect

James Patterson

Twisted Prey

John Sandford

Shattered Mirror

Iris Johansen

Magnolia Table

Joanna Gaines

The Feather Thief

Kirk Johnson

The Family Table

Jazz Smollet-Warwell

The Best Cook in the World

Rick Bragg


Christopher Moore

A Higher Loyalty

James Comey

Head On

John Scalzi

The First Family

Daniel Palmer

The Family Gathering

Robyn Carr

THe Fallen

David Baldacci

Bad Men and Wicked Women

Eric Jerome Dickey

Twenty-one Days

Anne Perry

The Thief

J.R. Ward

Sixth Day

Catherine Coulter

Shoot First

Stuart Woods

Natural Causes

Barbara Ehrenreich


Jo Nesbo

The Good Pilot Peter Wodehouse

Alexander McCall Smith

Fascism: A Warning

Madeline Albright

The Cutting Edge

Jeffery Deaver

At My Table

Nigella Lawson

After Anna

Lisa Scottoline

Women in Sunlight

Frances Mayes

Why Kill the Innocent

C.S. Harris


Charles Frazier

The Trump White House

Ronald Kessler

True Stories From an Unreliable Witness

Christine Lahti

Space Opera

Catherynne Valente


Kevin Hearne

Rocket Men

Robert Kurson

The Recovering

Leslie Jamison

Queen Anne's Lace

Susan Wittig Albert

Miss Julia Raises the Roof

Ann B. Ross

Look Alive Out There

Sloane Crosley

Lady in Red

Sheila Tate

The Knowledge

Martha Grimes

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It

Lauren Graham

Hunting El Chapo

Andrew Hogan

I've Got My Eyes On You

Mary Higgins Clark

The Geraldo Show

Geraldo Rivera

The Female Persuasion

Meg Wolitzer


Eileen McNamara

Debbie Macomber's Table

Debbie Macomber

Cave of Bones

Anne Hillerman

All the Beautiful Lies

Peter Swanson

The Accidental Guardian

Mary Connealy

WHere There's Hope

Elizabeth Smart

Twice Bitten

Lynsay Sands

To Die But Once

Jacqueline Winspear

To Change the Church

Ross Douthat

The Disappeared

C.J. Box

Red Alert

James Patterson

Fifty Fifty

James Patterson

All-American Murder

James Patterson

Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi

The Temptation of Forgiveness

Donna Leon

The Punishment She Deserves

Elizabeth George

Every Note Played

Lisa Genova

Duel to the Death

J.A. Jance

Covert Game

Christine Feehan

The Bishop's Pawn

Steve Berry

Alternate Side

Anna Quindlen

Accidental Heroes

Danielle Steel

The Rising Sea

Clive Cussler

THe Merry Spinster

Mallory Ortberg

The Flight Attendant

Christopher A. Bohjalian

A Dangerous Game

Heather Graham

Caribbean Rim

Randy Wayne White

The Third Victim

Philip Margolin

Plum Tea Crazy

Laura Childs

The Last Jedi

Jason Fry

Lake Silence

Anne Bishop

If I Live

Terri Blackstock

The Family Next Door

Sally Hepworth

The Escape Artist

Brad Meltzer

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover

Susan Wittig Albert

A Call To Vengeance

David Weber

Burn Bright

Patricia Briggs

The Bags of Tricks Affair

Bill Pronzini

As You Wish

Jude Devereaux

Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker

Witch Creek

Laura Bickle

True to You

Jennifer Ryan

The Tangled Lands

Paolo Bacigalupi

Raspberry Danish Murder

Joanne Fluke

The Hush

John Hart

Hello Stranger

Lisa Kleypas

The Bad Daughter

Joy Fielding

The Tuscan Child

Rhys Bowen


Laura Lippman

One Last Breath

Lisa Jackson

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories

Kelly Barnhill

Down the River Unto the Sea

Walter Mosley

Death on an Honest Man

M.C. Beaton

Agent in Place

Mark Greaney

White Houses

Amy Bloom


Helen Hardt

Surprise Me

Sophie Kinsella


John Lescroart

The Philosopher's Flight

Tom Miller

Night Moves

Jonathan Kellerman

The Woman in the Water

Charles Finch

Look For Me

Lisa Gardner

The Great Alone

Kristin Hannah

The Gone World

Tom Sweterlitsch

The Gate Keeper

Charles Todd

Force of Nature

Jane Harper

THe Deceivers

Alex Berenson

Child of a Mad God

R.A. Salvatore

Beautiful Days

Joyce Carol Oates

As Bright as Heaven

Susan Meissner

An American Marriage

Tayari Jones

A Death in Live Oak

James Grippando

Still Me

Jojo Moyes

The Pope of Palm Beach

Tim Dorsey

Into the Black Nowhere

Meg Gardiner

House of Secrets

V.C. Andrews


Greg Hurwitz

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

Alan Bradley

Dark in Death

J.D. Robb

Act of Revenge

Dale Brown

The Wife

Alafair Burke

Sisters Like Us

Susan Mallery

Fall From Grace

Danielle Steel

Iron Gold

Pierce Brown

City of Endless Night

Douglas Preston

Shroud of Eternity

Terry Goodkind

Operator Down

Brad Taylor

Fools & Mortals

Bernard Cornwell

The English Wife

Lauren Willig

Blood Fury

J.R. Ward

The Woman in the Window

A.J. Finn


Stuart Woods


James Lee Burke

Promise Not to Tell

Jayne Ann Krentz


C.J. Cherryh

The Bomb Maker

Thomas Perry

The Wanted

Robert Crais


Helen Hardt


Ben Bova

THe Last Man in Tehran

Mark Henshaw

Firefly Cove

T. Davis Bunn

A Distant Heart

Sonali Dev

Death at Nuremberg

W.E.B. Griffin

Bloodstains with Brontë

Katherine Bolger Hyde

Year One

Nora Roberts

Wild Chamber

Christopher Fowler

Persepolis Rising

James S.A. Corey


Ragnar Jonasson

Insidious Intent

Val McDermid

The Girl in the Tower

Katherine Arden

Enchantress of Numbers

Jennifer Chiaverini

The Demon Crown

James Rollins

The Body in the Casket

Katherine Hall Page

Beau Death

Peter Lovesy

Russian Roulette

Michael Iskoff

To the Edges of the Earth

Edward Larson


Andrew Santella

THe Duchess

Penny Junor


Andrew Lloyd Weber

Survive Like a Spy

Jason Hanson

How Luck Happens

Janice Kaplan

Movie Nights with the Reagans

Mark Weinberg


Mark Hyman

Enlightenment Now

Steven Pinker

Don't Call Me Princess

Peggy Orenstein

In the Enemy's House

Howard Blum

Wallis in Love

Andrew Morton

The Triumph of Christianity

Bart D. Ehrman

The Unmaking of the President 2016

Lanny J. Davis

Sister of Darkness

Rachel H. Stavis

The Healing Self

Deepak Chopra


Rose McGowan

12 Rules for Life

Jordan B. Peterson

When They Call You a Terrorist

Patrisse Khan-Cullors


Daniel Pink

Tell Me More

Kelly Corrigan

Judgement Detox

Gabrielle Bernstein

THe Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

Margareta Magnusson

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

Dan Harris

The Little Book of Lykke

Meik Wiking

THe Last 100 Days: FDR at War and PEace

David B. Woolner

Charles Darwin

A.N. Wilson

THe Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook

Melissa Hartwig

The How Not To Die Cookbook

Michael Greger

The Doomsday Machine

Daniel Ellsberg

Atkins Eat Right Not Less

Colette Heimowitz

Anyone Who's Anyone

George Wayne

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs

David Soman

Big Nate Silent But Deadly

Lincoln Peirce

The Wild Robot Escapes

Peter Brown

Time Jumpers

Brandon Mull


Junot Diaz

From Hero to Zero

James Patterson


Steve Antony

The Quest of the Cubs

Kathryn Lasky

Hi Jack

Mac Barnett

Samantha Spinner and the Super Secret Plans

Russell Ginns

I Walk With Vanessa



Matt de la Pena

Oodles of Kittens

Jane O'Connor

Bad Kitty Camp Daze

Nick Bruel

Dog Man and Cat Kid

Dav Pilkey

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Vashti Harrison

Click Clack Moo I Love You

Doreen Cronin

The Magic Misfits

Neil Patrick Harris

The Caldera

John Flanagan

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

Oliver Jeffers

The Getaway

Jeff Kinney

Darkest Night

Erin Hunter

Mr. Limoncello's Great Library Race

Chris Grabenstein

Everything is Mama

Jimmy Fallon

The Ship of the Dead

Rick Riordan

Swing It, Sunny

Jennifer L. Holm

It Takes a Village

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Empty Grave

Jonathan Stroud

Tigerheart's Shadow

Erin Hunter

THe Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate

Shannon Hale

Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties

Dav Pilkey

The Bad Seed

Jory John

Laugh Out Loud

James Patterson

Girls Who Code

Reshma Saujani


Amie Kaufman

A Girl Like That

Tanaz Bhathena

Tempest and Slaughter

Tamora Pierce

Immortal Reign

Morgan Rhodes

Love, Hate & Other Filters

Samira Ahmed


Sara Holland

The Cruel Prince

Holly Black

Before Now

Elizabeth Olson

The Truth Beneath the Lies

Amanda Searcy

Ever the Brave

Erin Summerill

The Speaker

Traci Chee


Marissa Meyer

The Becoming of Noah Shaw

Michelle Hodkin


Tamora Pierce

The Empress

S.J. Kincaid

Turtles All The Way Down

John Green

All The Crooked Saints

Maggie Stiefvater


Marie Lu

Genuine Fraud

E. Lockhart

The Finals Spark

Richard Paul Evans

Tower of Dawn

Sarah J. Maas

They Both Die At The End

Adam Silvera


Mercedes Lackey

Leia, Princess of Alderaan

Claudia Gray