SPARKS — Embedded within legal terminology of the contract agreement the Washoe County Library System (WCLS) proposed Friday was the core principles — which are simple. The contract eliminates the previous six-month notice needed for contract termination and installs a 60-day notice instead.
In agreement with the Washoe County School District, the Nevada Department of Wildlife and Washoe County, the WCLS approved the Interlocal Agreements for Duncan/Traner, Gerlach and Verdi community libraries. The Interlocal Agreement will instill the 60-day policy and allow each library to be taken over by an entity and kept in operation if the contracts are terminated.
“It gives any of the partners a little more flexibility if they think they have to withdraw from the contract,” said Arnie Maurins, director of the WCLS. “It’s good with NDOW and with the school district, so it’s good with us, too.”
Another change made in the contract was due to Gerlach Community Library moving its location and adding a new personnel member. Also, the Verdi Community Library expanded its meeting space, which needed new language, clarification and approval from the board.
The board also voted on a reduction of hours at Verdi Community Library, which failed at a 2-2 vote following a lengthy discussion. Board members Fred Lokken, James Umbach and Tom Cornell spoke with County Commissioner Kitty Jung, who was sitting in for commissioner Bonnie Weber, about the hours and options for Verdi Community Library.
Initially, the board planned to have one paid staff member at the library during its hours of operation on Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and use the help of volunteers to maintain the facility. To save money, they would only open the library on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Upon review of the Risk Management rules set by the county, the library system is required to have at least two paid staff members at each of their facilities during hours of operation.
“This rule is not applied by the library, it is a rule every county facility must follow,” Umbach said. “It is not library specific policy.”
Scottie Wallace, manager of the Reno library, said that her staff handles money and the protection of classified data at their facility, which is why she strives to maintain at least one full-time or part-time worker in addition to volunteers during hours of operation.
The board began discussing possibly initiating an internship program to help bring in volunteers and offer them a chance to benefit through learning the library standards and duties.
“If we switched from a volunteer program to an internship program, it could be like teacher certification for librarians,” Umbach said. “With that program, even without pay, people who want to volunteer at the library really have some incentive to be here and actually learn how to do a branch librarians job.”
Maurins said administration would be looking into an internship program in the future. He said the WCLS already has 180 volunteers, which outnumbers staff, and that adding an internship program would add another layer of responsibilities that will take time to assess.
Before the meeting was brought to a close, the board acknowledged the reception of more than $134,000 in donations and grants during the months April, May and June. The library system receives monetary and in-kind donations throughout the year that assist in providing services and materials.