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Library-goers unhappy to see librarian go

Recent changes coming from the Douglas County Library in Minden are making waves at Lake Tahoe.

In an attempt to provide training opportunities for its employees, the Douglas County Library Board ordered a rotation between its library staff at the Lake Tahoe Branch in Zephyr Cove and the main library in Minden.

But some Zephyr Cove residents are wondering why the Douglas County Library is opening a position that has been filled by Patty Timmens, Zephyr Cove’s librarian, for the last 19 years.



“I am appalled – I don’t understand why they would send Patty to the valley when the lake community values her so much,” said Zephyr Cove resident Patricia Welze. “Certainly the director never considered the lake community when she made this decision.”

But Library Director Linda Deacy said the change is for the better.




“What we’re doing right now is a fairly large staff development program to increase (staff) skills and learn more about branch operations,” Deacy said. “Cross training of employees has always been important to the county, especially where we have distinct geographic areas.”

The training rotation has mandated that Timmens transfer to Minden. Deacy said Timmens will acquire technical training at the main branch that is consistent with her title of Librarian II.

But Timmens, who has been making the drive over Kingsbury Grade since Nov. 8, said she would rather stay at the lake.

“When I went down there, they told me that I could consider (the move) permanent,” she said. “I’m still working in a library and doing what I love to do, but, of course, I would love to be working (in Zephyr Cove) again – that’s where I live.”

Deacy said improving staff training was part of the strategic plan outlined by the Douglas County Library Board.

“As part of this, we’ll be looking at how we are doing business,” she said. “We want to provide more hours (of staffing) at the lake without increasing staff hours.”

By the end of January, Deacy said the library will be choosing one or two staff members out of a pool of six employees who have been training at the Zephyr Cove branch to see to the daily operations of the library.

Welze, a member of the nonprofit Tahoe-Douglas Library League, said the issue boils down to problems that have stirred between the South Shore community in Nevada and its governing agency, Douglas County, which operates out of the Carson Valley.

“It’s definitely a lake-valley issue,” she said. “We’ve had it before, we’ve had it in our schools. If you do not live in the community in which you are serving, you have a different perspective – there is no commitment there.”

In addition to staff development, Deacy said the Library Board is planning to launch a study to determine which Lake Tahoe location would better serve the public. The study was authorized June 22 in a Library Board of Trustees meeting, held in the valley.

Welze criticized library administration for spending $5,000 on a consultant to perform the study before asking lake residents if there is a need to move the library at all.

“But the whole issue of moving the library is separate,” she said. “For now, Patty has served us superbly for 19 years and we want her back.”

Deacy said the staffing at the Zephyr Cove library, which is supported by 40 percent of the Douglas County Library’s $870,000 annual budget, will be chosen through an interviewing process.

According to Deacy, library branches are typically staffed by senior technicians, who are paid $24,000 to $32,000 per year in Douglas County. She said Timmens, who earns between $32,000 and $44,000 per year as a Librarian II, is more useful in the main branch of the library.

“We’re looking at better ways of using the staff that we have,” she said.


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