The Crucial Role of a Modern Library as a Sanctuary for Youth

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By April Cole

As a Moonshine Ink Member, I look forward to the uniquely local stories that the paper brings to us each month. The heartwarming tales of local individuals making a positive impact resonate with me the most. Recently, three compelling stories struck a chord with me, each highlighting a profound need in our community: the urgent need for a safe, inclusive space for our youth, particularly one that celebrates culture, arts, and literature.

In the stories Creating a Safe Space for Teens and Art and Not Your Mama’s School Bus, the authors eloquently expressed the yearning of our youth for a safe haven. Nico Bolen aptly noted, “Living in a small mountain town can feel especially isolating when your interests and identities vary from the norm. That’s why spaces and events like this are so important.” Alex Hoeft’s article about Summer LaFluer’s Banned Books Bus featured a supporter who remarked that the bus “also brings a place where people can sit and be surrounded by books … Part of what’s beautiful is when kids have access to things in a place, it creates more curiosity.” Lastly, in Buzzy Jackson’s Stay Human: Growing Up in Truckee, she commented on the value of a new bookstore in town: “Suddenly, not only did Truckee have a beautiful new addition to its cultural offerings, but the long afternoons I spent in the bookstore were as creatively and intellectually rich as any kid’s, anywhere.”

What is repeated in these narratives is that our community lacks a safe space for our youth to simply be, and that our youth desperately want this space. In Jackson’s article, we see that when youth have access to these types of spaces, they thrive. We have done an amazing job as a community supporting outdoor adventures and sports, and now is the time to focus on investing in our urgent need for an inclusive, equitable space where our youth can immerse themselves in art, culture, and literature. What our community needs is a modern library that is big enough to serve our youth. As our current library has a maximum capacity of only 54 people, we need a new, modern library that is spacious enough to serve as a community hub, a space for creativity, culture, and connection.

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In my role as the campaign director of the Friends of the Truckee Library, I, along with our dedicated board and volunteers, am tirelessly working toward realizing this essential space for our community. We recognize that a modern library is a haven where people can encounter diverse perspectives and cultures, uplifting our entire community.

Over the years, Friends of the Truckee Library has been much more than an advocate for the new space; we’ve paved the way to run a campaign to build a new, modern library and cultural center in Truckee — to build more than just a space for books, but rather a community gathering place. And we’re not alone! Over 300 individuals and businesses have contributed to the campaign as Luminaries, and more than 40 nonprofits and businesses have formally endorsed the project. A recently received letter of endorsement from the Alder Creek Middle School PTO shares the reasoning for their support clearly: “As parents and teachers deeply committed to area youth, we understand that our growing community desperately needs a new, modern library. Truckee’s new regional library will be an unmistakable symbol of our value of community, knowledge, the arts, and education. As such, we support the project wholeheartedly.”

The new Truckee Regional Library project is a big, bold endeavor that will take the support of our entire community. We invite those who want to provide the safe community space our kids are asking for to join us in supporting the new Truckee Regional Library project. You can learn more at our website truckeefol.org.

~ As the campaign director for Friends of the Truckee Library, April Cole spearheads advocacy for a new Truckee library. With a background in international travel operations and marketing, she brings valuable expertise. A dedicated community volunteer, April is also a past president of the Rotary Club of Truckee.

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