New public library and research center now open in Sparks

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Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 11:24 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - In the heart of Sparks’ Historic Downtown District is the newest place to read and learn.

On Friday, neighbors celebrated the grand opening of the Sparks Heritage Museum Research Center on Victorian Ave.

The new library is located inside Sparks Heritage Museum, the same building where 90 years ago the city’s first library opened.

“The upstairs was the library, the lower portion of the building was the justice court,” said Christine Johnson.

Johnson is the museum’s executive director. She said this grand opening has been in the works for quite some time.

“Years ago, and then of course COVID and with everything that happened, we spent the time trying to figure out how to do it,” she said.

Although at first glance the library seems small, Johnson says there are thousands of records.

“We have hundreds and hundreds of books, we have many files and we have the yearbook collection from all three high schools, public high schools including the Excel Christian School. We have it labeled Find Your Family.”

In addition to having archival material on the historic families of Sparks, the center also offers and

“We have the computers here that will be available for us to help people do their research,” said Johnson.

With Sparks’ rich history rooted in the railroads, many of the books are focused on that.

Admission is $5 or $4 for seniors. For a $30 membership, you can get access every day of the year and even get discounts at area restaurants.

Aside from the books, Sparks’ history is also reflected on the walls, through art and artifacts, making the museum a true cultural center.

“Having the library in there, as a resource and having art exhibits that change, and having public programming, digital programming now. I think it’s a way to reach people in new ways, different groups of people who might not know we were here,” said Johnson.

With the addition of the library, the museum is looking for more volunteers. No experience is necessary.

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