On October 21st, 2022, the Sparks Heritage Museum Research Center was officially opened to the public on the final day of National Friends of Libraries Week with a wonderful reception celebrating Nevada’s newest library!
Executive Director Christine Johnson kicked off the festivities with an introduction welcoming over 60 attendees of the opening event, and informing them of the momentous significance of this new research center in honoring the original Sparks Library, opened in the same building 90 years previous. On January 1, 1932, the Sparks Library was opened on the upper floor of 814 Victorian Avenue. This building was completed in 1931 by Rousch and Belz, and designed by renowned architect Frederic J. DeLongchamps, who was responsible for many buildings in Northern Nevada during the early 20th century – many still standing in the area today. This structure built for less than $20,000, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural importance in 1992. While the library occupied the upper floor, the Justice Court functioned in the lower portion of the building, the judge’s chambers situated in the room that contains the Research Center today.
Immediately following Christine’s opening statements, local author and fervent supporter of the Sparks Heritage Museum Research Center Patricia Cafferata did the honor of participating in the Center’s ribbon cutting ceremony, marking the official opening of the space. Patricia then give a rousing speech advocating for the importance of research centers and libraries today, and how they have been integral in her own work as a writer and lawyer.
Christine then recognized the four Sparks Museum volunteers who spearheaded the cataloging of the hundreds of fiction and nonfiction books in the Research Center: Sandi Bitler, Joyce Cox, Carole Keith, and Julie Machado. Julie Machado proceeded to introduce another special guest, local Mark Twain Chautauqua performer, historian, and author McAvoy Layne. Layne spoke about Twain’s past work and then cut the ribbon opening the completed Mark Twain Collection, housed on its own bookshelf in the Research Center. Also acknowledged during the event was the other generous donors to the Research Center, commemorated on a plaque visible upon entering the room. These donors include Sparks Elks Lodge #2397, Karalea Clough, ComputerCorps, the Nevada Woodchucks, TransCanada and Union Pacific.
Cake and refreshments followed as the event came to a close. KOLO 8 News and KTVN Channel 2 News were present at the event and provided media coverage of the event that can be viewed in the hyperlinks above.
The Sparks Museum Research Center celebrates the bringing back the function of a library within this historic building, and to continue the mission of the Sparks Heritage Museum to collect, protect, and preserve the history and culture of the City of Sparks. We hope you will use this space and investigate our collections, learn about the City of Sparks, research your family, and grow your knowledge of this unique city and its rich history.
The Sparks Heritage Museum Research Center is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. (hours subject to expand) or if made in advance by special appointment. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (775) 355-1144 for more information!