By Raven Romero
Las Vegas Optic
One hundred years ago a man had an idea. He valued books and he believed that everybody should have access to them, so he established a trust, to build libraries in small communities throughout the United States.
His name was Andrew Carnegie, and one of these libraries was constructed in Las Vegas. With it, a long line of librarians have kept the books flowing. Leo McCormick joins these people as the new librarian for Carnegie Library.
Amid a book sale and cookies in Carnegie Park, McCormick was introduced to the public on last Saturday.
Originally from Glenwood Springs, Colo., he visited Las Vegas for the first time last October, for a mini conference of New Mexico librarians. He spent the night at the El Fidel Hotel and instantly fell in love with the town.
“This place is full of visible history. It’s such an attractive, beautiful, storybook kind of small town history, including this Carnegie Library. When I walk in there in the morning it’s like walking into a time machine.”
McCormick already has a few ideas up his sleeve for the library. Physically, he wants to protect and restore the outside of the library, mainly the roof and the pillars. On the inside, he says, they are in the process of “weeding” — going through the library and pulling out books that aren’t read very often anymore, such as old medical books and other outdated nonfiction — to make room for newer, more widely read books.
In either an expansion underground or in a separate building, he wants to add new technology, such as e-books, which can be downloaded entirely onto a laptop or Mp3 player. A person can easily download an entire novel instead of carrying around the actual book.
Asked about the role of the library many years ago, compared to its role now, even with the changing times and new technology he said he was not worried.
“The role of this library in 1903, when it was built, was a very popular place for the entire community. It was hard for people to get books, so the library could get books from all over the country, and in turn, people could easily get them from the library. Now, it is still a very popular place, but for a small group of people,” he said.
The technologies that are drawing people away from reading can actually be used in the library. There are lots of computers where people can download music and browse the Internet.
McCormick encourages everyone to come and visit the library.
“The future belongs to those who read,” he said.