As We See It

Check it out—more folks are discovering the library


Katherine Rose dons the headphones before her 3-year-old puts them on to play a computer game. “Testing for volume,” the mother of two says. It’s a drill she’s familiar with, being a regular at the James Gibson Library on Lake Mead Parkway for the last five years. Rose, an airline pilot, suffered a 50 percent cut in pay in 2003, and the library has been a “godsend” for her cash-strapped family ever since. “It’s my best resource. We get books, movies, music. It’s just not practical to go out and buy all this stuff.”

Apparently, many residents agree with her. Henderson’s six libraries saw a whopping 22 percent increase in activity over the previous fiscal year, a direct reflection of a devastating economy, says branch manager Candace Kingsley. “We checked out 33,000 books in August 2009. This August, it was 40,000,” Kingsley says. “People have less expendable cash. People have gone from saying, ‘Oh, I never use the library!’ to ‘Oh, I love the library!’”

And it’s not just books, magazines, videos and CDs—Kingsley says computer usage is skyrocketing over last year, from a collective 200-300 minutes per hour at her facility’s network to 300-400 minutes. This despite the library running at six hours less per week due to budget cuts. More users are going online at the library for unemployment benefits or extensions, as well as completing online work tests. “The computer is one of the first family luxuries to go,” she says, adding she hopes users remember such benefits when the next library bond issue comes up for a vote. “Maybe they’ll return the favor.”

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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