When you love your work… and, Sarah Winnemucca!

In this blog we are going to highlight the work of John Wayne Warren from the Image and Preservation Services Lab of the Nevada State Library. Warren has worked on Nevada’s Chronicling America grant since the first cycle! That means every single Nevada news-issue that is currently, or in process of digitization was originally pulled from the vault by him. He has duplicated over 300,000 newspaper pages for us! Can you believe it!?

The number of images and documents that have run through John’s hands throughout his career cannot be counted (millions upon millions! He says, “A lot of history”). He has assisted in the preservation of documents, maps, pictures …and the list goes on;  all from various places and subjects from mine sites, wildlife, to the Supreme Court!

He feels great satisfaction when images or documents he has handled become open and accessible to the public, stating, “My favorite part of my job is when I see my work get used or published. When someone shows up with a page from microfilm — it makes me feel useful in life.” (He also has a great sense of humor.) When I asked him how he describes his work to people, he said, “It’s like telling a fishing story.  I get excited and feel very proud with a glim in my eye.”

And, out of all these years, he claims that Chronicling America is his favorite project he has worked on. 🙂

John is vital to the success of our project. He also reads the densities in our film and records it pre-digitization (as seen in a picture of us below). Honestly, we could never pull off this project without him!

in the lab  mavhine







I know he loves this project, he is always spreading ‘the word’ through outreach for us – he said he is “proud to be as loud as possible” when he talks about the program.

The National Digital Newspapers Program Nevada staff from UNLV visited the Nevada State Library in June (see a previous blog) and we had a fascinating tour of his work area. The machines in operation are quite impressive, John thinks so too – he can work the format scanner to the film scanner, AND he enjoys it, saying, “It’s just so darn rewarding…the harder it is to get there, the better. “

When I asked him how he prepared for his job, he turned the statement around and claims the job has actually prepared him for an exciting life! “When I started working [here] I had no idea I would be part of anything like this in my life. I stumbled across this line of work and it fit, really well! It gave me the desire to do good. Something to look forward to.”

He is so good at his job! AND, you can tell when someone loves their job because the passion and quality really show in the work product. His work is pristine.

Seriously an inspiration!

When I asked him about the most unique image or item he has worked with (besides Chronicling America) he shared his break to be see the Sarah Winnemucca statue come to life AND he also got the opportunity to hold old pictures that now belong to the family of Sarah Winnemucca! [Of course, wearing preservation gloves] He tells us, “It was so exciting… and to watch the statue come to life in front of our very eyes was amazing. The sculpture was in clay form in the viewing section of our building while [the artist] was creating it.” We agree and are amazed too. (Photo below)

Also, while we are discussing Sarah Winnemucca, do check out the fascinating collection hosted by the Nevada State Library!




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