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Award Winners 2017

Nevada Library Association’s Librarian of the Year, 2017
Sena Loyd, Carson City Library 

During her time as Director, Ms. Loyd has mended many bridges among the community and brought back the positive energy of Carson City Library.  Through her leadership, innovation, and forward thinking she has helped bring about new technologies and opportunities for all members of our community.  With limited physical space, staff, and resources these new technologies were achieved through aggressive grant applications, partnerships with the local school district, college, Boys and Girls Club and through fund raising efforts with the Friends of the Carson City Library. 

Through her innovative leadership and forward thinking, Carson City Library partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to provide a remote branch anywhere machine.  When the branch anywhere machine went down, Carson City Library continued to provide materials, including kindles, to the students at the Boys and Girls Club for check out with their library card.  A daily Library representative was on-site to provide students with library cards who did not have one, or answer questions regarding services provided.  During the summer, the Library hosted an all-ages and a hzigh school level NCLab self-paced program.  The partnership will continue this coming school year when the two agile organizations start work on developing the new mobile maker’s space to distribute STEM based modules for after-school activities on-site at the Boys and Girls Club. 

Through Nevada’s Working Capital, Carson City Library and Western Nevada College were able to partner and offer the MTI certification, making Carson City Library the first US library authorized with a certified trainer and assessment center.  Through this partnership with Western Nevada College, Carson City Library secured 10 licenses for the computer program Solid Works, a 3D CAD program, for library computers.  Having these licenses allowed students to use the program outside of the class lab time for working on projects and other assignments.  Through this partnership a total of 61 students graduated with an MT1 certification. Students have secured jobs with local manufacturing companies, including the new Tesla Gigafactory, with these certifications. 

Carson City Library has also partnered with Carson City School District to provide services through Carson City Library’s Digitorium.  Each freshman was required to come to Carson City Library and make a PSA as a class project as part of their freshman transition requirement.  In addition, Carson City Library expanded that partnership to offer students and parents access to district wide “Technology Cafes’.  These cafes started as sessions for the local teachers to learn more about technologies, but evolved into providing a similar session for parents and students at Carson City Library. Carson City Library assisted School District Library Staff in providing Chromebooks to all students in the district’s middle and high schools, further establishing the connection to Carson City Library. Carson City Library will continue working with the school district with a grant to provide education and materials to all teachers, parents, and students to prevent bullying and how to establish a bully-free zone in local schools. 

These partnerships, made possible by aggressive grant writing through the Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records have brought together all educational institutions in our community, held together and led by Carson City Library. Through Director Loyd’s pioneering, modern, and resilient leadership has made Carson City Library the glue tying all these educational institutions together.  The effectiveness of the group, pooling resources and working together with Carson City Library has made them stronger than continuing to go at it alone.  Director Loyd has continued to seek out opportunities such as these making Carson City Library a relevant, modern, and evolving example of what a 21st century library can be when we all pool our resources and work to benefit the entire community.

Nevada Library Association’s Special Citation, 2017
Jenny Gomez, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District 

Jenny is a little dynamo.  In her two years at Sahara West Library, she transformed the teen center (called Teens@) from two empty rooms to a focal point of relevance and tolerance for teens in this area.  It is rare to see someone so dedicated to making the library experience a positive and edifying one.

Jenny is a voracious reader and genuinely likes many of the teen books she reads.  This of course helps her relate to what the teens in the center are reading.

She is tech savvy, and genuinely challenges tech-savvy teens who visit Teens@.  This is reflected in her many tech undertakings.  She has 3D pens in the center.  Who even knew 3D pens existed? She is hoping to, one day, get a 3D printer for the center.  She has had art projects such as Pixel Art, wherein the teens create Mario and Pikachu drawings with giant “pixels” (square pieces of paper).  She has purchased paper circuits and squishy circuits, which can be used in art projects that incorporate LED lighting, teaching about basic electrical circuitry in the process.  One of her programs was one in which teens could create DIY light paintings, using a photographic technique rather like taking photos of people “writing” with sparklers in the air.  She brought an artist in to show the teens how to create stop action animation, using clay and Legos.  She also brought in someone to teach the teens how to design video games.

Jenny is aware of current and past teen trends, creating programs such as:

Cosplay workshops, Dragonball Z crafts, Goth sock puppet crafts,  a Hunger Games program, a Mario Kart tournament, a Pokemon Go tournament, a Smash Brothers tournament, Yu-Gi-Oh crafts, a Comic-Book-Making workshop, a Harry Potter support group where teens can “nerd out with others like you,” and creating challenges with Ozobot Robots.

Jenny encourages art classes among teens.  Jenny has had the teens make, at various times, beaded keychains, boom boxes made from shoeboxes and cell phones and cups, clocks made out of old CDs,  earbud holders resembling tiny tacos, and duct tape crafts.  She has introduced them to embroidery, basic sewing, metal embossing, crocheting, painting on canvas, quilt making, tie-dyed t-shirts, and watercolor painting.  Jenny, with her high emotional intelligence, pointed out that teens are always struggling with emotional issues and identity issues and that artistic creation carried out in a safe environment can be very therapeutic.

Another item that Jenny highly encourages teens with is reading.  She has a teen author biography section in the center.  One workshop she hosted was where the teens created their own covers for banned books.  A display that Jenny has highlights books “that will stay with you forever,” and one titled Books Recommended by Other Teens. She also has a display with both the book and the DVD movie of the book bound together; with the title, The Book is Better than the Movie.

Jenny encourages teens to take up the written word.  She has creative writing programs, imploring teens to “bring your notebooks, tablet, or laptop to talk about what makes us tick.”  She sponsored a Poem in Your Pocket program, where teens could make copies of their favorite poem and “hide them in books and other places.”  Teens could write poems on the teen center windows with window markers. They could recite poems to other teens or create art around a handwritten poem, using watercolors, markers, and colored pencils.  They did “poetry blackout” by creating poems using sharpies and pages from magazines and discarded books.

Jenny’s strongest approach among many strong approaches when dealing with teens is her approach to tolerance.  Jenny has made the teen center a place of acceptance, no matter your race, gender, religion or sexual preference.  She makes prominent displays during African American Heritage Month, Asian American Pacific Islander Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBT Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Month (with her “No More Stigma” display), Women’s History Month (with her “Here’s to Strong Women” display), and Native American Heritage Month.

Jenny truly cares about the teens she serves. She cares about who they are and where they have come from.  She cares about where they are going in life.  She has displays that list College FAQs and SAT FAQs.  She adheres to HOMAGO (Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out), inspired by the MacArthur Foundation, which studied the dynamics of teen social and recreational use of digital media.

She studied the “Verbal De-Escalation Techniques” from the National Association of Social Workers to help her deal with teens who might not be able to control their emotions in social settings.

Reports on how the teen brain works is something else she studied, so she could gain insight into the thought processes of her clients.

She advocates for teens by helping them with such things as filling out job applications or helping them with their studies.  She strives to have teens lead programs so they can learn organizational skills, leadership skills, and decision-making skills (with this in mind, she created TAG,  the Teen Advisory Group, which employs teens to meet regularly and brainstorm on ways to improve the teen center and “to spread goodwill”).

The teens relate to Jenny with trust. They seem to see her as their big sister, someone who can help guide them through the difficult teen years, which she certainly demonstrated that care and trust in two episodes she took part in at the library.

When a fellow colleague was going to donate their old comic books to a local comic book store, thereby earning them credit at the store, Jenny suggested they donate them instead to a homeless teen safe house. She told her colleague about two organizations in town, one called Street Teens and the other called NPHY (Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth).  Both provide homeless youth with food, clothing, hygiene supplies, haircuts, bus passes and “other survival supplies.”  They also provide educational and employment services and always offer homeless teens a safe place to stay.  Her colleague followed through as Jenny suggested, demonstrating Jenny’s positive influence on others, furthering the impact of Jenny’s love and passion in spreading art and literature to teens, and those in need.

The second episode was more serious.  A transgender teen who had volunteered at the library was found sleeping in the library employee lounge overnight.  His parents kicked him out of their home because of his sexual orientation.  Jenny found out he had been sleeping on the streets. She contacted a transgender organization in town called The Center, which helped the young man find a safe place to stay.  At the time, he was working three part-time jobs and did not earn enough to rent an apartment. Because of Jenny’s compassion and actions, The Center helped him get through some very rough times. He now has a full-time job with benefits and can afford to rent his own place.

Jenny is a good, admirable, caring person and considers her job at the library to be necessary and important.  She is a golden asset to the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.  


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