Your libraries change lives every day by opening the door to lifelong learning, economic advancement and personal enrichment. Here's how . . .
Victoria DiBlasi remembers going to the library when she was a little girl and loving the idea of being able to pick out any book she wanted. "I have such fond memories and I want each and every child who comes to the Windmill Library to have the same experience that I did," says DiBlasi, who has been a youth services volunteer for nearly two years. This passion led her to receive the Volunteer of the Year award in 2015. When she isn't shelving books and DVDs, making book bundles, or organizing play areas, DiBlasi enjoys setting up for events like Family Place and Reading Buddies because she is able to interact and be hands-on with the children. "It's not only fun and rewarding, but I've learned to be more compassionate, social, and diligent," she says. "I'd like to become a page at the library and I'm even considering a teaching degree."
No stranger to libraries, Sharon Coley has been visiting them since she was 13 years old as a way to entertain herself during summer breaks in Indiana. While Coley admits that she still loves perusing good paperbacks at her local branch, the Spring Valley Library, she primarily uses the eMedia catalog to download books onto her electronic device as well as checking out DVDs. "I also enjoy the social aspect of the library because it gives me the opportunity to get more information about community events and connect with other patrons and staff," she says.
Rosalba Nelson began visiting the Summerlin Library on her breaks from work, walking across the street to check out books for her family and herself. When planning a vacation to Paris a few years back, she decided that she wanted to learn basic French phrases and found that the library provided language programs on CD. "I started with the Pimsleur courses and found them to be easy to use and was able to speak French words in the first lesson," Nelson says. "Through the resources available at the library, I have since transitioned to advanced levels on CD and books that teach proper grammar."
Ginger Cloyd participated in a recent visit from StoryCorps and had personal stories of her life recorded as part of the District's 2014 National Medal for Library Service win. After a lifetime of traveling, from Japan to Saudi Arabia to Australia and "all over the United States," Ginger Cloyd and her husband, John, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, settled in Las Vegas in 2012. Born and raised in rural Taiwan, Ginger was keen to improve her English language skills, and was glad to discover free ESL classes and a conversation group at Windmill Library. "I enjoy the classes very much," Ginger explains. "I've learned so much." She also thinks the Library District richly deserved to win the National Medal. "The whole staff is friendly and helpful," notes Ginger. "They help the citizens every which way."
When Colorado transplant Rose Clement first visited her local branch, the Enterprise Library, she was impressed with how short the wait time was for requested items, its user-friendliness and how much bigger the selection of books, music and movies was compared to the library one she frequented in Denver. Clement also uses the eMedia catalog to download books onto her electronic device. "It's so nice and convenient to finish a book and immediately borrow another one, especially when I am traveling," she says. "It's perfect for people who are busy and on the go."
Allen Pai immigrated from Taiwan in early 2013. He attended the Work Readiness Credential class through the CALL Program (Computer Assisted Literacy in Libraries). Classwork included math, reading, and situational judgment and active listening, along with presentations about how to search for a job, write a resume and interviewing tips. Allen graduated from the program with flying colors, and was recently hired by the Nevada State Health Division. Allen says, "The CALL program has been very rewarding to me as a non-native English speaker, from learning to use English in my daily life to applying for a job in the USA."
"Aria is a shy child, and interacting with other children at the library helps to build her social skills," says mother Tami Coyle. Reading and sharing books with children are excellent ways to encourage the development of many of the skills needed for kindergarten. "We have logged 300 books in four weeks since we started the new Library initiative, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten," says Tami. "It's easy when you love to read."
You'll find Jeff DeSoto in the Sunrise Library every day. He relies on the free Wi-Fi to conduct job searches and to stay in touch with family and friends. "Libraries are a resource of knowledge for me and a place where my son Wyatt can get homework help," says DeSoto. "The service that staff provide has been invaluable."
"In the beginning, I was apprehensive about attending the GED preparation classes at the library, but I quickly became comfortable with the sessions and the teacher," says Troy Hoggard. Having earned his GED credential in January 2013, Troy can advance his education and job goals. "I will never forget the journey and the overwhelming support I received from library staff."
"My best friend encouraged me to get a library card six years ago," says Berenice Zarate. "I really wasn't much of reader when a library book display highlighting the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead caught my eye at the Las Vegas Library." That's changed everything. "Now I recommend books to my friend and we have book discussions."
Betsy Gomez credits her 2nd grade teacher for fostering her love of reading. "He would read aloud and it showed me just how exciting books can be," says Betsy. "Now, I share my love of reading with friends and family and encourage them to get a library card." Betsy visits the Las Vegas Library every two weeks to check out books and occasionally brings her laptop to access the Internet.
For the past nine years Carolyn Essex has had a library card. Right now she is taking online classes to earn a degree in Psychology at South University. "I come to the Clark County Library to use the study rooms where I can stay focused and the free wireless Internet access to post my class work assignments," says Carolyn. "This is a transitional time for me and my 9-year-old son. I do not have Internet at home, so being able to use it at the library has been a godsend."
Community is important to Calvin Futrell who believes libraries are a community resource center. "The library is where it all begins," says Calvin, also known as Papi to his 77 neighborhood kids who range in age from 3 to 17 years. "When kids are introduced to a variety of reading materials and activities, it can improve their lives and give them tools to become role models." He appreciates the caring staff and all the library resources available to his kids.
Although Roberto Benabe has been visiting the Whitney Library for years, he just recently signed up for a library card. Roberto wanted to be a role model for his daughter, Elisa and grandson, Jayden. Roberto says "We make an event out of going to the library every week so they can attend programs and pick out materials to take home." While the kids book browse, Roberto relaxes by reading his favorite magazines and newspapers.
Avree Walker is one of several winners of the Tom and Bonnie Lawyer Scholarship for 2011, awarded to graduating seniors who are pursing higher education, and who have used the West Las Vegas Library to further their goals. Avree has used the library's collection and electronic resources to complete his schoolwork and to find research for projects and papers. Avree graduated from the Las Vegas Academy and has a passion for dance. He is currently a dance student at UNLV. The programs offered by the West Las Vegas Library have inspired Avree to keep up with his dancing and to strive for an education past high school.
Seven years ago, Cyndi Jung enrolled in the CALL (Computer Assisted Literacy in Libraries) program to learn English as a Second Language. Cyndi knows that literacy is important for a successful life, so she attends the Library's weekly storytimes twice a week with her two young girls so they can also learn language and literacy skills. Cyndi says, "The library is a good place for my kids to listen to stories and sing songs. It's a safe and fun place to learn."
Within one month of moving to Las Vegas in 2006, Raicine Green got a library card. Having a card was a top priority for her. Raicine believes, "Libraries are a big part of the community. Libraries are a place where anybody can go and everybody is welcome." Once a week she visits the Spring Valley Library to check out her books and then finds a quiet corner in the branch to read.
As a young girl, Leslee Scott has fond memories of her father taking her to storytime at the Clark County Library. Leslee was an undiagnosed dyslexic student who never learned to read while in school and dropped out. Years later when Leslee became pregnant, she was determined to learn how to read. "I taught myself how to read by checking out LeapPad and books by author Max Lucado at the library." Leslee is now a regular at the Las Vegas Library, along with her six-year-old daughter, Tylee. "We both love the library," says Leslee. "It s our family time together."
Jorge Gomez spends at least two hours a day, Monday through Friday, using the computers at the Las Vegas Library. Having lost his job two months ago, Jorge needs to conserve on gasoline, so enjoys his 10-minute walk to the library from his home. Jorge uses the computers in the lab to send out employment applications, search for jobs and check his emails from family. "The free classes on job searching held in the computer lab every Friday are very helpful. I m excited to have this type of opportunity within walking distance to my home."
Eight children and two grandchildren keep Renee Brown busy, but she still finds time to go to the Rainbow Library. Antiques, gemstones and forensics are Renee s favorite topics to research at the library. "I have a very inquisitive mind, and the library is a great resource for me and my family." Supporting her children with their school work assignments is a priority for Renee. "When my 12-year-old son, Jonathan, has a book report due, the first thing we do is go to the library and use the online homework help resources." "Our library plays an important role in our lives."