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Plumas County welcomes new Librarian Lindsay Fuchs

New Plumas County Librarian Lindsay Fuchs is enjoying life in her first rural community. A native of the Los Angeles area, she oversees four library branches throughout Plumas County and four library ‘stations’ in Sierra County. Photo by Roni Java

Stopping by the Plumas County Library in Quincy for a friendly chat and to meet the brand new librarian, a surprising development pops up.

“Please excuse me just a moment,” County Librarian Lindsay Fuchs says politely, temporarily leaving the desk inside her bright office tucked into a back corner of the comfortable building that is a key resource for residents and community organizations.

An efficient staffer is at the door with a perplexed expression. She has a worn paperback novel in one hand and a stack of cash in the other.

“I was sorting through the book donations and found this,” the employee tells her new boss, holding out the handful of bills.

Fuchs is immediately on the problem, explaining that this sort of thing sometimes happens in community libraries because “people tuck all sorts of things into books and forget they’re there.”

The ladies step away to work out a resolution. They have a lead on where the donation came from and will take it from there.

“You know,” Fuchs says with a wry smile, returning, “I’d like to remind everyone, please go through your donations before you drop them off to us. A friend of mine once bought an old couch at an estate sale and found a sack stuffed into it, filled with $50,000. They went back to the sellers and returned the money.”

Makes one feel good about the future of the human race, hearing a thing like that.

Hailing from Los Angeles County, where she was born and raised, Fuchs is enjoying the transition to her first rural community. It’s a big change.

“I’ve only lived in four places — L.A., Santa Cruz, San Jose and here,” the city girl quipped. “Now, I’m learning to drive in snow and ice! No one seems to think that’s a big deal, but it is to me. A few days ago, I went to Red Bluff with one of my staff for a conference and she drove us. On the way back, I kept thinking, ‘It’s snowing! There’s a cliff!’ and I quaked a little.”

Fuchs, whose German-origin name is pronounced “fewks,” started her new post Jan. 9 and it’s been a busy time from Day One.

Between getting around to meet all of the employees and volunteers at the various branches she oversees — nine staff on the library operations side of things at Chester, Greenville, Portola and the Quincy headquarters, plus six in the literacy program — she’s still settling in.

Fuchs also manages the staff at four library “stations” through a contract with Sierra County — in Alleghany, Downieville, Loyalton and Sierraville — where they have one employee at each location and depend on much-appreciated volunteers.

Jobseekers take note: the library system has three openings right now and may soon be recruiting for a fourth. Fuchs encourages interested workers to apply.

In the meantime, you could say that a commitment to facts and information is very important to the Southern California native.

Fuchs has long been fascinated by history and earned two bachelor’s degrees in the subject while at U.C. Santa Cruz from 2006 to 2009 — one that focused on U.S. history and the other an interdisciplinary B.A. in feminist studies.

“I love learning about history because it’s not really linear like you’d think, it’s about cycles,” she says. “It gives you a base for understanding a lot of things. You see a lot of waves and flows throughout history.”

But Fuchs has a small confession to make. Fair warning: don’t put her on your trivia team.

“I’m terrible at dates!” she laughs. “With a major like mine, it was not fun, let me tell you! I’m terrible at ‘Jeopardy!’ too. I’ll think now, was that in 1992 or 1993? What? Oh, it was 1982!”

Speaking of dates — by 2014, Fuchs had earned her master’s in Library and Information Science at San Jose State University, then it was back to L.A. where she began her career in earnest.

She started out as an academic librarian. In that field, her experience included making budget decisions about programs to serve the specific needs of communities. She also helped offer diverse services for non-English-speaking populations, such as citizenship pretest materials and resources, financial literacy and resume-building skills.

Soon, Fuchs switched to the Los Angeles Public Library system. Working as a rotating Administrative Clerk at more than 10 different branches helped her find her career home serving at public libraries.

Since her arrival here, the new county librarian has been getting acquainted with various community partners, spending time learning about current resources, finding out what is working well and what people might like to see offered.

She wants to work with partner organizations in ways that will stretch the budget dollars. Once she’s had a chance to do her research, Fuchs said she will be better able to determine what she’d like to see develop for the region and determine how to get there.

“I’m getting a feel for what’s happening now in Plumas and Sierra counties,” she said. “Where are the needs in our communities? Who is already working with us? Whom should we be working with? What can we create?”

She gave a suggestion about a service that is gaining in popularity elsewhere, 3-D printing.

“I don’t have a wish list yet,” she said, “but things like 3-D printing and a ‘makerspace’ can be useful in a community because it’s about more than art. It’s a tool for learning about engineering, science, medicine and a lot more. I know one library where they are using this resource to teach students how the body works and about applications for medical needs.”

Fuchs foresees having short-term and long-term priorities.

For example, the community “goes through a lot of DVDs,” she explained, and many in the collection come from generous donations by residents and others. “I’m looking at how to get more movies for you guys to check out. Not everyone has excellent internet (for streaming).”

In the near term, her major priorities will focus on making sure “the library structures that are in place are helping us run at our maximum potential.” For instance, she and her staff are dedicated to getting the library’s collection of books, DVDs and other materials out and available for patrons to access.

“We also want to thank the community because we receive a lot of donations from the public,” Fuchs added. “It takes time to assess and process the materials, catalog them if they are an asset to the collection, and get them out there for everyone to access.”

It’s clear the new librarian has a lot on her to-do list. But then, she’s always been like that.

Over the past 15 years, Fuchs has devoted her spare time to working for the nonprofit International Child Advocacy Network’s “YesICAN” program that operates worldwide to end the cycle of child abuse.

She also enjoys working on art projects, from painting to making glass mosaics, among other things.

“And I love to read — try to contain your surprise on that one,” the librarian jokes.

Oh, and she really, really loves animals.

Fuchs and her mom mutually rescued a dog before she moved up to Quincy. “Harpo” is a beloved, older beagle-chihuahua-dachshund mix who remained behind in the warmer weather.

“I miss Harpo a lot. My mom sends me pictures of him all the time,” Fuchs said.

So if she stops you on the street to play with your dog, now you know why.

Recruitment is now open for the following positions with the Plumas County Library.

Library Technician (Quincy)

Library Aide (Quincy)

Library Aide (Portola)

Apply online at:

plumascounty.us/jobs.aspx

Or call 283-6310 for more information.

2 thoughts on “Plumas County welcomes new Librarian Lindsay Fuchs

  • Applier beware working with the staff at the Quincy branch for basically minimum wage. Yikes.

    • Your right, why work, when I can live the good life on welfare. Keep paying your taxes Jim, thanks.

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