During the regular county commission meeting last week, Director of the Churchill County Library, Carol Lloyd presented a recently completed Strategic Plan and asked Commissioners to consider supporting an expansion of the library.
With input from a 12-member task force led by consultants Ruth Metz and Jason Genck funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the plan calls for expansion of the library building, purchase of a mobile technology lab, and outreach and marketing.
After a thorough needs assessment and “environmental scan” of the community along with careful analysis of programming and attendance data, it became clear that over the past six years there has been a substantial increase in the use of the library by the entire community.
“We need more space,” said Lloyd. “Of all the libraries in the state, Churchill County is the smallest. During the STEAM program we do on Friday afternoons, people were irritated because there was no place they could be, we had kids sitting on the floor, we had kids on laptops, doing VR, and doing 3-D printing it was very gratifying.” She said when it comes down to industry standards the library doesn’t come close for size. The library expansion is based on the 2019 needs assessment that was also completed by Metz.
Lloyd was joined by Kelli Kelly, Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees and Zip Upham, Chairman of the Churchill Library Association the fundraising arm of the library. “We are looking forward to having the opportunity to do a capital campaign and get our strategic plan to fruition,” said Upham. “The community buy-in and the support from our local government will allow us to show in grant applications that the community as a whole is moving forward to get to our goal.”
The expansion of the library has been a focus for several decades with previous library staff working to raise funds for a new building. Those funds that were raised previously were accounted for and used during the repurposing of the library in 2015. Anyone who had donated to the “Square Foot Club” at that time is currently being recognized on the donor wall in the lobby of the library and are considered integral to the current ability of the library to serve the community needs.
“Carol, you’ve been instrumental along with both of your boards,” said Pete Olsen, Chairman of the Commission. “You and your folks have shown there is a need here and you are fulfilling those needs and the need is going to grow and you need some assets there to work with.”
In other business, Commissioners approved an early retirement incentive for Sergeant Chris Thorn from the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office. Thorn originally proposed the matter in October 2021 and was denied. However, after a reconsideration that included acquisition of accurate data from PERS, along with findings by the Human Resources Department that the incentive would provide a financial benefit to the county, commissioners approved a waiver of certain portions of the retirement policy and the request.
Commissioners combined the two part-time Community Health Nurse positions into one full-time position that will also serve Eureka and Mineral Counties through the proposed Health District that is being created through Churchill County. Originally these positions were to be located in the respective rural counties and the hope was to hire a local person from Eureka and another from Mineral to serve their communities. After two months of searching, unsuccessfully, it is the hope that one full-time person would fill those roles.