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Library director to leave for Oregon

by Andy Bourelle

While Carolyn Rawles-Heiser will remember her time as Douglas County library director with fondness, it is time to move on.

Rawles-Heiser has been the county’s library director for nine years, but she has accepted a position as the library director in Corvallis, Ore. Her last day at the Douglas County library system will be May 1.

“It’s a bigger library system; it’s a professional advancement,” Rawles-Heiser said.

With a main library and three branches, the library system she will be running is about five times the size of Douglas County’s. While Douglas County’s budget is about $800,000, the new budget she will be working with is $3 million.

Her annual salary will be increasing from $51,000 to $71,000, and instead of managing the equivalent of 12.7 full-time employees, she will be overseeing 40 employees. The Corvallis library system serves about 80,000 people.

“It just seemed like a dream job,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a new challenge.”

Although the county library’s future funding is unknown – resulting from the pending loss of room tax revenue – Rawles-Heiser said that did not influence her decision to take the job. With the sales tax question on this year’s election ballot to decide much of the library’s funding fate, she said she was concerned because “it is not the greatest timing for the library.”

However, she said she felt she should take advantage of the opportunity while it was presented.

Although she will be leaving, Rawles-Heiser said she is confident the library will continue as it has.

“I’m pretty confident the staff and the board will keep the library running the way it has been,” she said. “People really support the public library. I’m confident the community here will continue to support the library.”

She said she is proud of much of what has been done in the time she has been director. The hours the library is open and available to the public have gone from 40 hours a week to 60. She said she is proud of the increased computerization at the libraries, including the fact that the Douglas County Library was the first public library in Northern Nevada to offer access to the Internet.

“I’m proud we were always able to provide a high level of customer service at low cost,” she said. “We’ve had funding problems for years, but we’ve always maintained a high level of service.”

She said she is proud the Lake library was expanded, and one of her biggest disappointments was that the expansion of the Valley facility “never got off the ground.”

Rawles-Heiser has worked in libraries for 25 years. Prior to coming to Nevada, she worked as a library director in Indiana. Originally from Sacramento, she came to Douglas County because it was closer to her family. Corvallis is still not that far away.

She said her husband, Charlie, and daughter, Alicia, are looking forward to the trip. Rawles-Heiser is enthusiastic about the change also. However, she said she will miss Douglas County.

“I’m looking forward to living in Oregon, but I’ll miss the Sierra. I’ll miss the weather,” she said. “I’ll miss the library cats. I’ll miss the community. This is a really nice community.”

Something else she will miss is obvious.

“I’ll miss the people I worked with,” she said. “The library board and library staff have been great over the years.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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