History of Incline Village Library: Part 1
by Grace Fuller, Copyright May 2008; Edited by Phyllis Rogers and Norman Rosenberg
The world is larger than all the libraries in it. - Thomas Hardy
I ransack public libraries and find them full of Sunk Treasure. - Virginia Wolf
I go to my library and all history unrolls before me. - Alexander Smith
Disclaimer: Some facts and figures are not consistent throughout the work, but all deserve a voice and so all are included.
The community has always been an integral part of the Incline Village Library. In 1960-1962 PTA Library Chair Mrs. Betty Zenzic breathed life into the idea of a library in Incline Village by creating an all volunteer, one hour a day, one day a week library facility housed in the original Incline Elementary School kindergarten room. The library was next door to the Crystal Bay Development Company the original developers of Incline Village.
Early library volunteers checked out books during the noon hour to children and adults from the school room in the upper level of what is now the Lake View Shopping Center where the Post Office and Village Market reside. The Washoe County Library Bookmobile supplied bi-weekly visits during school vacations in order to continue library service. Through this joint effort a library was born.
In 1964 the Incline Elementary School moved into its own building and a small room adjacent to the office became the school and public library. The new library was now open the same hours as the elementary school and the size of the volunteer staff grew to cover the new expanded hours. Library holdings, approximately 60 books, began to increase in the new Incline Elementary School location. Washoe County Library System added short-term loan items in order to enlarge the collection. The County Bookmobile resumed library visits during school vacations. Mothers of elementary school students also donated one day a month to the library during the school year in order to continue serving Incline residents.
Audrey Anderson, a library volunteer, became the PTA Library Chair in 1965. She was both a teacher and a public librarian. Anderson was the mother of four children, two of whom rode the school bus daily into Reno to Junior and Senior High school. Anderson was dedicated to children, to learning and to libraries; her enthusiasum would serve Incline and the library for years.
With the swell of the village population, Incline Elementary School expanded into a new two story building and the library eventually occupied two adjoining classrooms, totaling 2100 square feet. Audrey Anderson was instrumental to the library expansion within the Elementary School.
In 1966, spearheaded by the newly formed Friends of Incline Libraries (FOIL), a group of Incline Village/ Crystal Bay residents requested that the library be made larger once again. The proposal was presented to the Washoe County Commission, the School Board and to the Library Board which resulted in an informal agreement. The agreement was as follows:
The school district furnished the space, utilities, maintenance and a book budget for the elementary school. The County Library furnished salaried staff and a book budget for the public Library. (Rosenberg)
In 1967 Audrey Anderson became the Incline Village Librarian of, what was until July 1978 when the new building was opened, the only dual function library in the State of Nevada. The concept of Partnership Libraries is still an important part of the Washoe County Library System and of the State of Nevada.
June 3, 1960 the Crystal Bay Development Company acted on their 1959 options and began building Incline Village. They sold out to Boise Cascade Corporation in 1968. During this time the library’s collection also expanded to include non-book materials along with the books. The needs of the Incline Village community library materials could now be met using the local branch, loans from Reno and through the use of Inter-Library Loans.
The content of the Incline Village Library collection has always been influenced by two major factors: the climate and the clientelle. The 6,500 foot elevation at Lake level and the basin shape creates isolation at some point each winter. Incline is a resort town where a third of the houses are empty and the economic fiber of the community varies from billionaires to seasonal workers from all over the globe. The range of patrons at Incline is diverse. There are many visitors who come to visit Lake Tahoe; many stop by the library and others are regular patrons for the duration of their stay. Incline’s diversity leads to an eclectic library collection that mimics a cosmopolitan community rather than a mountain rural community. Incline is considered a rural library in Nevada because of isolation in the winter and population size.
In 1970 a formal agreement was made with the school district for the use of air space above the elementary school’s upper parking lot in case building funds became available. “An airspace lease may range from a short term use with few or no tenant improvements to a long-term use with substantial structures” (U. S. DOT).
However, in 1971 a proposed bond issue to build in this space above the elementary school was defeated at the polls. Additional requests for
revenue-sharing funds could not be granted due to other County priorities, and so the library remained a partnership library within the elementary school.
First Partnership Library at Incline Elementary School North Lake Tahoe Bonanza 1976
In 1974 a gift of $100,000 was anonymously donated to the Washoe County Library Board for the purpose of constructing a new building for the Incline Branch Library (Nichols). In 1977 the original $100,000 was used to purchase a parcel of land on Tahoe Boulevard. The original gift was augmented with an additional endowment: a gift of ½ acre of land on Tahoe Boulevard adjoining the one purchased from the Boise Cascade Corporation.
Russ McDonald, Washoe County Manager procured a grant of $150,000 from the Fleischmann Foundation with the provision that an additional $50,000 would be raised locally by the Friends of the Library, which was at that time under the guidance of Russ Graff. The condition was not met and so Washoe County provided the funds as well as an additional $75,000, which was the purchase price of the adjoining land on Alder Avenue.
Incline Architect Jeff Lundahl was commissioned to design the Incline Library building. The ground breaking ceremony for the 6,000 square foot building was held in August 1977 and construction commenced with Jeff Lundahl as the contractor for Nevada Builders, Inc.