Butte County: California Libraries in Wildfires’ Wake

From American Libraries

“Public institutions across the country are rallying in support of displaced library employees and libraries devastated by wildfires in California that have claimed more than 80 lives and resulted in the evacuation of tens of thousands people.“Miraculously, the Paradise branch of the Butte County Library system is still standing,” says Butte County Library Director Melanie Lightbody, noting that it’s one of the only remaining structures in the town.The remaining five branches in the system are still operational and have become information centers, offering computers, Wi-Fi, and printers to help displaced residents contact insurance companies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other agencies.“Right now, part of the biggest issue we have going on is people have lost their technology,” Lightbody says.Five of the library’s 26 staff members have lost their homes to the fire, Lightbody says.“We have many people affected by the fire, so we are still in an urgent situation,” she says. “We are just now starting to look at disaster recovery. One of the things I’m working on is trying to get into the [Paradise branch] building.”Also on the long list of concerns are the historical records and archives located at the Paradise branch, Lightbody said. While the library was not destroyed by the fire, the building and its contents have suffered extensive smoke damage.”


Butte County Library announces fee amnesty in September

From Paradise Post

” The Butte County Library announced that it is offering community members a fee amnesty this September in honor of National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Throughout the month, library cardholders with outstanding library fees/fines and unreturned items can visit any local Butte County Library branch to have their fines forgiven.Currently, there are more than 3,300 Butte County Library cardholders with blocked accounts because they have more than $10 in fines for unreturned items, and nearly 30 percent of these blocked accounts are young people under the age of 18.”


Butte County: Library expands collection Grant delivers hundreds of books on emergency prep, recovery

From News Review

” In light of the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis and last summer’s devastating wildfires, the Butte County Library has added hundreds of books focused on disaster prep and recovery, made possible by a $10,000 Crisis Collections grant from the California State Library.”


Emily Goehring, a new chapter for Paradise Branch Library

From Paradise Post

” The Paradise Branch Library welcomes their new Branch Librarian, Emily Goehring, whose love for reading, access to information and public service runs as deep as her Paradise roots.“Emily brings enthusiasm, experience, excellent technology skills and a genuine desire to serve our community members,” Butte County Librarian Melanie Lightbody said.Goehring is a Paradise High School, Butte College and Chico State graduate. Goehring worked for Paradise Elementary in the Title 1 and special education department, the Washoe County Library System in Reno, Nevada and earned a Master’s of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Her story doesn’t stop there.While completing her Masters, Goehring spent a summer semester studying in London, England conducting archival research at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the British Library, and the Imperial War Museum.”


Homeless occupy Butte County Public Library in Chico


“The public library is free for everyone to use, but there are mixed reactions from the public when it comes to homeless people staying in libraries.”People can become homeless very quickly,” said Michael Hayes, a frequent library goer. “Most Americans are one to two paychecks away from not being able to take care of themselves and I’m really happy that Chico has the opportunity for people to come and stay here.”Other people have different reactions on the matter.”The purpose has been lost. It’s a kick it spot where people clean up and use the bathroom for a shower,” said Brook Morin, a library goer.Brenda Martinez said that she had her bike stolen from a homeless person at the library, and their presence has made her hesitant to go back to the library.”They are not here to read a book,” said Martinez, “They are here seeking shelter.”County Librarian, Melanie Lightbody, said that anyone is free to stay in the library, as long as they follow the code of conduct, such as not blocking the exits, not damaging property, not using substances in the library such as alcohol or drugs, as well as not using the restrooms to bathe and wash clothes.Security guards have been hired to enforce the code of conduct to anyone who does not follow it. One of the enforcements they do is to make sure that people are not sleeping outside of the library when the library is closed, because there have been reports of concerned citizens who return their books at night.”


Butte County Library undertakes countywide mental health training

From ChicoER

” Approximately 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. So it isn’t about “us versus them,” counselor Lisa Smusz told a room of Butte County Library staff, librarians and volunteers Monday. It affects us all: our families, our friends. Countywide training on how to deal with the mentally ill is the first part of a project made possible by a $25,000 federal grant awarded to the library through the Library Services and Technology Act.”


Chico: Library going DIY

From NewsReview.Com

” The Chico, Gridley, Oroville and Paradise branches will integrate fully automated self-service technology over the next year, with all branches adding radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to library materials. The Chico branch—the busiest—also will automate sorting.”