Whether he’s helping community members impacted by wildfires or creating a storywalk and drive-thru storytime during quarantine, County Librarian Todd Deck takes his cues from Tehama County Library patrons’ needs, states the national Library Journal, which has recognized Deck with its Movers and Innovators award.
“I am sure you all join me in extending a heartfelt congratulations to our Tehama County Librarian, Todd Deck, for being recognized and honored nationally in the Library Journal for his innovative, creative programs which positively impact Tehama County Libraries and citizens,” said Susan Olson Higgins, president of Corning Friends of the Library. “This annual, national award celebrates his courage to bring new and dynamic programs for all of us to enjoy.”
Deck's 2017–20 involvement in the Young Adult Library Services Association/Association for Rural and Small Libraries’ Future Ready with the Library project, which provides support for middle schoolers in small, rural, and tribal libraries, encouraged him to search out unmet community needs.
“Connecting with the community is a foundational tool in being a catalyst for positive change,” he said..
After the 2018 California wildfires displaced thousands, “What struck me when talking with people who had lost everything was the gratitude they expressed for being OK,” Deck added. “The only remorse expressed by evacuees was a sadness over losing family memorabilia.”
With that in mind, Deck developed the Retro Tech Lab, funded by the California State Library. Tehama County Library purchased equipment for patrons to digitize their home movies, family photos, and more, and Deck trained in digital preservation at the Washington, DC–based Memory Lab Network.
“They’re learning new skills but also feel empowered that they’re preserving their family history for future generations,” he said.
When the pandemic presented a new set of needs, Deck partnered with a local business and probation program to build frames for a storywalk for safe outdoor activities, as well as implementing a drive-thru storytime, a Tehama County Library radio station, and a drive-in Mario Kart Tournament.
“The pandemic has made us all throw away the rule book. I am passionate about being part of a community of librarians who will be writing a new one,” he added.
Most recently, Deck and his staff created a unique, online Summer Reading Program for youths and families to utilize at home. Themed “Mission – Space,” the program offers a cornucopia of programs to encourage reading, study, adventure and more.