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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.

Print

Kingdom of Ash

Sarah Maas

Muse of Nightmares

Laini Taylor

Dry

Neal Shusterman

A Blade So BLack

L.L. McKinney

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Hank Green

The Meltdown

Jeff Kinney

Wrath of the Dragon King

Brandon Mull

Lu

Jason Reynolds

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 Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare

Shannon Hale

A Parade of Elephants

Kevin Henkes

Salvation

Peter F. Hamilton

Elevation

Stephen King

Dark Sacred Night

Michael Connelly

Whole30 Slow Cooker

Melissa Hartwig

Vendetta

Iris Johansen

The Reckoning

John Grisham

Not Quite Over You

Susan Mallery

The Mamba Mentality

Kobe Bryant

Cook Like a Pro

Ina Garten

When We Were Young

Karen Kingsbury

Unsheltered

Barbara Kingsolver

Shell Game

Sara Paretsky

The Library Book

Susan Orlean

In the Hurricane's Eye

Nathaniel Philbrick

Impeachment

Jon Meacham

Every Breath

Nicholas Sparks

Desperate Measures

Stuart Woods

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Stephen Hawking

The Witch Elm

Tana French

Winter in Paradise

Elin Hilderbrand

The Next Person You Meet In Heaven

Mitch Albom

My Squirrel Days

Ellie Kemper

Killing Commendatore

Haruki Murakami

Holy Ghost

John Sandford

Dare To Lead

Brene Brown

The Clockmaker's Daughter

Kate Morton

Ambush

James Patterson

War of the Wolf

Bernard Cornwell

Street Freaks

Terry Brooks

A Spark of Light

Jodi Picoult

Red Moon

Kim Stanley Robinson

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Nick Offerman

The Fifth Risk

Michael Lewis

An Easy Death

Charlaine Harris

Dragon's Code

Gig McCaffrey

The Dead Ringer

M.C. Beaton

Consumed

J.R. Ward

Blood Communion

Anne Rice

Alaskan Holiday

Debbie Macomber

Whiskey in a Teacup

Reese Witherspoon

Transcription

Kate Atkinson

This is the Day

Tim Tebow

Christmas Cake Murder

Joanne Fluke

A Willing Murder

Jude Devereaux

Time's Convert

Deborah Harkness

Dark Tide Rising

Anne Perry

Button Man

Andrew Gross

Shadow Tyrants

Clive Cussler

Katerina

James Frey

The Forbidden Door

Dean Koontz

Colorblind

Reed Farrel Coleman

Juror #3

James Patterson

Timeless

R.A. Salvatore

Sea Prayer

Khaled Hosseini

Leverage in Death

J.D. Robb

John Woman

Walter Mosley

In His Father's Footsteps

Danielle Steel

Field of Bones

Judith Jance

Dark Sentinel

Christine Feehan

Walking Shadows

Faye Kellerman

Safe and Sound

Fern Michaels

The Mystery of Three Quarters

Sophie Hannah

Pieces of Her

Karin Slaughter

Desolation Mountain

William Kent Krueger

Feared

Lisa Scottoline

Texas Ranger

James Patterson

The Washington Decree

Jussi Adler-Olsen

Toucan Keep a Secret

Donna Andrews

Tailspin

Sandra Brown

Serpentine

Laurell K. Hamilton

The Prisoner in the Castle

Susan Elia MacNeal

The Money Shot

Stuart Woods

The Middleman

Olen Steinhauer

The Quiet Side of Passion

Andrew McCall-Smith

Paradox

Catherine Coulter

Pale as Death

Heather Graham

A Measure of Darkness

Jonathan Kellerman

Aunt Dimity and the King's Ransom

Nancy Atherton

The Sinners

Ace Atkins

The Other Woman

Daniel Silva

A Noise Downstairs

Linwood Barclay

Four Dominions

Eric Lustbader

Double Blind

Iris Johansen

Cottage by the Sea

Debbie Macomber

When We Found Home

Susan Mallery

The Summer Wives

Beatriz Williams

Spinning Silver

Naomi Novik

Marry Me By Sundown

Johanna Lindsey

The Good Fight

Danielle Steel

Clock Dance

Anne Tyler

Spymaster

Brad Thor

Rising Out of Hatred

Eli Saslow

Leadership

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Killing the SS

Bill O'Reilly

Accessory to War

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Small Fry

Lisa Brennan-Jobs

How Do We Look

Mary Beard

The Coddling of the American Mind

Jonathan Haidt

The Tangled Tree

David Quammen

How Schools Work

Arne Duncah

Fly Girls

Keith O'Brien

You're on an Airplane

Parker Posey

The Death of Truth

Michiko Kakutani

The Poisoned City

Anna Clark

Indianapolis

Lynn Vincent

From the Corner of the Oval

Rebecca Dorey-Stein

Big Nate Goes Bananas

Lincoln Peirce

The Alphabet Book With No Pictures

B.J. Novak

Saving Winslow

Sharon Creech

Unbelievably Boring Bart

James Patterson

Wings of Fire

Tui Sutherland

How Do Dinosaurs Learn To Read

Jane Yolen

The Exile's Hunter

Erin Hunter

A Dog Named Doug

Karma Wilson

Tales From a Not-So-Happy Birthday

Rachel Renee Russell

The Itchy Book

Mo Willems

The Nerdiest, Wimpiest, Dorkiest Ifunny Ever

James Patterson

Pete the Kitty and the Groovy Playdate

James Dean

Llama Llama Loves to Read

Anna Dewdney

The Last

Katherine Applegate

The Burning Maze

Rick Riordan

Wildcard

Marie Lu

Imposters

Scott Westerfeld

Two Dark Reigns

Kendare Blake

People Kill People

Ellen Hopkins

The Emerald Sea

Richelle Mead

A Reaper at the Gates

Yahir Sabaa

Neverworld Wake

Marisha Pessl

Legendary

Stephanie Garber

War Storm

Victoria Aveyard

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Sarah Maas

Leah on the Offbeat

Becky Albertalli

The Fates Divide

Veronica Roth

Stormcaster

Cinda Williams Chima