After eight months, East Las Vegas among most-visited libraries

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An excitement can be heard in the East Las Vegas Library.

It comes from the studio with four DJ mixers and top-of-the-line recording machines. It comes amid the quiet inside a room filled with podcast equipment. It comes from the homework help area with students poring over their work on library computers.

It’s everywhere, and it’s infectious.

Since it opened in April, East Las Vegas Library has become one of the most-visited libraries in the city. The branch had received 271,158 visits as of the end of November, according to data provided by the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District administrative offices. Between July and October, the library had the fourth-highest number among the district’s 25 branches.

The library isn’t just an inspirational place to study, with its tall ceiling and modern architecture, said Claudia Gomez, 19, a College of Southern Nevada student.

“The guards monitor the place, and it feels safe,” she said Dec. 5 while studying with her friends. It was the first time Gomez and her cohort had been there, and they had heard it was a good place to study.

Her friend Jasmin Ortega noticed the Wi-Fi was pretty fast even though the library was busy.

Ten weeks of Spanish

To prepare for the move from the old library near downtown, staffers hired at the East Las Vegas location were required to take 10 weeks of Spanish-language classes. It was enough so librarians could help complete transactions at the library.

“It was needed and helped staff dig deeper into who they were serving and working with,” said library branch manager Salvador Avila.

The library has also been working on marketing material in Spanish, and there are classes offered in Spanish — such as a podcasting one.

‘Excited faces’

The library replaced an older one near downtown.

“I see a lot of excited faces; people are in awe,” said Tala Miranda, youth services department head. “People have more access to technology. We aren’t a traditional library.”

Its offerings include equipment to produce podcasts, places to record music with soundproof walls, and tutoring provided by UNLV volunteers.

“It keeps the community more updated and in the know,” Miranda said. “It’s nice to see the whole family coming in.”

Besides managing the library, Avila greets visitors in the morning, monitors security calls and teaches a podcast class twice a month.

The two-hour class teaches future podcasters how to use the machines, vendors to use and things to avoid — such as copyrighted music. Avila recommends creators use sounds provided by the library or their own beats.

“Then it’s as simple as recording and uploading,” Avila said, during one of the classes.

Near 20 schools

The library serves an area with nearly 20 schools and a neighborhood where many households are Latina or Latino, supplemented by a mix of residents of Pacific Island and Central and South American heritage. The project cost about $26 million and took about 1.5 years to build.

There are about 45,000-50,000 print materials. There are 13,500 items in Spanish, the most of all the district’s libraries, according to officials.

Besides computers, books, podcast and DJ equipment, there are parenting workshops. The first one had about seven participants.

There are plans for more programming on the horizon. With the high numbers of people visiting the library, Avila hopes it will be able to hire four more people — one specifically for the teen section.

Miranda doesn’t expect library attendance to slow down.

“It’s a lot more active (than one it replaces),” Miranda said of the library. “We are still seeing new families, who are trying to see what all the hype is about.”

Contact Alex Chhith at achhith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0290. Follow @alexchhith on Twitter.

By the numbers

Following are the top five libraries by number of visitors from July-October, as well as the number of visits recorded at each, according to the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

Whitney: 212,550

Sahara West: 193,897

Clark County: 191,561

East Las Vegas: 153,894

Rainbow: 146,252