Library aide Kameron Mitchell points to a display case featuring the work of Lee Ann Gallagher, proprietor of Nanny Joe’s.
Library aide Kameron Mitchell points to a display case featuring the work of Lee Ann Gallagher, proprietor of Nanny Joe’s.
What’s going on at the Pershing County Library? It’s not exactly a re-opening. They’ve stayed open in a limited capacity for most of the past year. It’s more like a readjustment, unfolding page by page like any mystery.

“When the governor locked down the state (March 15, 2020), we closed our doors for about two weeks,” says Director Kathie Brinkerhoff. But, the staff began offering at-door-service. Library aides Kameron Mitchell and Mandy Springer answered phone calls from people in need of a good read or movie.

The lockdown dragged on. “Some people had read all of their favorite authors already,” says Brinkerhoff. “So Kameron and Mandy asked them what kinds of books they liked and what they’ve read before. We can help people of all ages, kids and adults, find new authors and read things they may not have considered before.” 

Mitchell or Springer met patrons at the door and handed them the selection. But, people missed browsing through the stacks. In October, Brinkerhoff moved the newest books onto carts just inside the building so people could choose three or four. Covid protocols included mask-wearing for all. People cooperated, sometimes grudgingly.

Lovelock is ripe for the renewal spring always promises. Even the Mustang football team is undefeated, adding to a general lightening of mood. A Pershing County commissioner recently remarked that the pandemic ended months ago.

Meanwhile, multiple variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 circulate globally. Experts are most concerned about the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants because they help the virus spread more easily. Italy just went back into lockdown as much of Europe battles a third wave.

Nevada health officials confirmed the state’s first known case of the South Africa variant in mid-February. More recently, they found the UK variant in Reno, causing the Washoe County health district officer to exclaim, “This is a stark reminder we are not out of the woods with COVID-19.”

The library continues to take coronavirus precautions seriously. On March 5, 2021, Pershing County Health Officer Dr. Kamin Van Guilder walked through the building. It had been a year since patrons browsed the shelves. She made recommendations on how to resume services safely.

Her recommendations include keeping the doors locked to limit admittance to no more than 10 to 15 people. She also recommends that everyone wear a mask covering their nose and mouth. The library has some masks on hand if anyone needs one. Per recommendations, there is also hand sanitizer at each table.

“We’re swimming in hand sanitizer,” says Brinkerhoff. The staff disinfects the materials as often as possible. But she cautions there is always some risk.

“Keep in mind that with our large collection, it’s likely we can’t sanitize everything, so please use caution while you browse. We’re delighted to see our patrons again and ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation.”

For more information, call the Pershing County Library at 273-2216. Walk-ins are welcome. “Just knock on the glass,” says Brinkerhoff. The library is located on 1125 Central Avenue behind the tallest pine tree in town.

Outreach programs on hold, mostly

The Pershing County Library’s Facebook page describes the library as “a place for ideas to gather, readers to learn and minds to grow.” Their full community outreach program has included free concerts, classes and more. For now, it’s all on hold, mostly.

Long ago, Viola Brinkerhoff made a present for her granddaughter. Kathie Brinkerhoff hung the jewelry organizer on her wall, using it to keep her bangles and bracelets sorted. Today, she offers the organizers as a take-home project for Lovelock’s crafty set.

“Each organizer will come with a set of decorative pins to hang the jewelry,” she says. Crafters can choose from a variety of velvety backgrounds.

The library is also displaying Lee Ann Gallagher’s photography in the lobby.

“I took my first photography class as a sophomore in high school, and I’ve taken photos ever since simply trying to capture moments in time,” she says. The photographs span decades. Locals will recognize Gallagher’s children and grandchildren against a variety of Nevada backgrounds.