By GWENDOLYN WEILER
Moapa Valley Progress
“As we cut the ribbon today, we are not only opening the doors of these two beautiful buildings, we are also opening the doors to opportunity, creativity, knowledge, and survival,” said Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Board Chair Randy Ence at the ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday, May 31, at the Mesquite Library Campus.
Ence was flanked by Mesquite Mayor Allan Litman, LVCCLD Executive Director Dr. Ronald Heezen and several other key government officials and library board members. They cut ribbons to both the new 13,313-square-foot library and its adjacent 5,464-square-foot Learning Center housed in the old library facility across the street.
“Together, we have set a new high bar for intergovernmental cooperation, innovation, and making precious public dollars go further with great and long-lasting community impact,” said Ence.
Heezen said building costs were first estimated at about $250 per square foot. But the final expenditures were more than double that—coming in at $8.4 million, he said.
“Whatever the cost of our libraries,” said Litman, quoting the famed late journalist Walter Cronkite, “the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”
The higher-than-anticipated costs motivated officials to seek out partnerships that would add more value to the library’s programs, such as partnering with the Workforce Connections’ One-Stop Career Center. Heezen said the Learning Center, which has already been open for a year, is the first of its kind in the country. Staff members include professional career counselors who help patrons develop marketable skills, obtain valuable job experience through internships, and get advice and information about starting small businesses. Since it’s been open it has already helped “hardworking people from all walks of life to gain new economic and employment opportunities,” said Heezen
Mesquite resident Brandon Abbott said he is excited about the new library because it will better meet the needs of his five-year-old son. Speaking of the old library, he said, “We had a kid section over there, but it was mostly books and not as much interactive or open space.”
Assistant Branch Manager Myra Corn has worked in the LVCCLD for ten years and said she was excited to transfer to the Mesquite campus from the West Las Vegas Library, where she was working in the youth services department. She said it’s more in line with what she is already passionate about.
“They really want to foster the community being in the library and using it as their own living room,” Corn said. “I’ve always tried to do that in the branches I’ve worked in.”
The new building is bursting with amenities, including new computers, a makerspace, a multipurpose room with enough space to host events such as musical performances and author visits, a cafe, and two homework spaces (one for children and one for teens). All Clark County residents holding LVCCLD library cards are welcome to use the facilities.
“My hope is that this campus doesn’t just add to the physical beauty of our city,” said Litman, “but it helps to better the lives of Mesquite residents for generations to come.”