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Shhh! Librarians are getting loud at the Washoe County Library

I know I’m a little bit late to the table here. But….the Washoe County Library Downtown branch. Y’all.

I met with Jamie Hemingway, marketing library assistant, and Debi Stears, collection development manager, on Friday at the Downtown Branch of the Washoe County Library.

Right to Left: Jamie, Debi, Erica
Credit: Erica Pionke

Jamie has always been involved as an ally in the artsy LGBTQ world and Debi’s been a straight woman in a gay world of friends and roommates and bars since she was young.

Jamie jumped onto my radar during a LinkedIn search for LGBTQ in Reno. She is listed as hosting Drag Queen Story Time for the last few years. She organized it for the first time in 2019, around Pride. You may have read about it in national news that even the mayor of Sparks opposed. Though the turn-out was FANTASTIC.

In 2022, they plan to host Drag Queen Story Times on June 25th at the Downtown branch at 10:30 and 11:30am and on June 26th at the Sparks branch at 10:30 and 11:30am.

The Downtown branch space is AMAZING. It’s like walking into a rain forest. They have these floating pods with plants all around where you can sit under the natural ceiling lights. The entire roof is windows!

On the ground floor, two floors under the entrance, there is a pond with running water. The floor of the ground floor is littered with the leaves that have fallen off the plants over the night.

Credit: Erica Pionke

Jamie and Debi told me that when the library was being planned, they wanted to site it at Idlewild Park by the river. But because books and water don’t go so well together and rivers have been known to flood and destroy anything in their path, the move was denied. So whoever was running the show back then said, “Fine. If we can’t have the library in the park, we are going to have a park in the library.” Hence, the indoor rainforest.

Y’all, check this place out. It’s incredible. And check out my next post to learn more about all the awesome things that the library provides to the community.

The kiddo-ski area of the library. Credit: Erica Pionke.

By Erica Pionke

Erica Pionke moved to Reno/Sparks, Nevada in March 2020 and is finally now getting out into the world and exploring all of its queer offerings with her hilarious and loving partner of 10 years, Debbie.

Erica is an avid outdoorsperson and a self-inflicted seeker of education. She works for the government, in realty, and has a history going back to her earlier years in law school, in real estate, zoning, and land management.

3 replies on “Shhh! Librarians are getting loud at the Washoe County Library”

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