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Washoe Libraries Join The Startup Scene

Library staff and community members gather for the concluding class of the first session of Startup School at the Washoe County South Valleys Library.
Natalie Van Hoozer

Libraries across the country are taking on new roles in today’s digital age. In Washoe County, libraries are offering programs like Startup School.

When we think of libraries, we often imagine stacks of books and study desks.

“It’s not just a house of books, there’s a lot more opportunity and more and more hands on stuff,” said Morgan Tiar, a Washoe County librarian and instructor for Startup School.

She’s in a meeting room where students like Colleen Lennox are discussing their products.

Lennox wishes this class had been available when she opened her business selling extra-absorbent diapers. Due to a lack of planning, she had to close it. 

“I would have been successful if I would have had startup school back then,” Lennox said.

Now, Lennox is learning about things like customer needs and will soon start on a business degree at UNR.

For Librarian Morgan Tiar, the library is the ideal place for people like Lennox to go through this discovery process.

”Libraries are a safe place for people,” she said. “There is no discretion at the door, we have something for everyone.”

That also includes a manufacturing technician certification program, which is the first step in learning advanced machinery used at companies like Tesla.

The library will be offering more Startup School and manufacturing technician classes in the fall.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
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