Railway has new books chugging into Colfax library this summer

$3,000 grant from Union Pacific Foundation providing funding
By: Tricia Caspers, Columnist
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The Union Pacific Foundation is now accepting grant applications from nonprofits anywhere along its rail line, which includes all of Placer County. The deadline is Friday, Aug. 14. “It’s not a complex grant application process,” Lawson Stark said. “It’s very streamlined and easily accessible.” For more information, visit


Colfax Library received a grant for $3,000 from Union Pacific Foundation to replace used books and buy new ones, according to Sue Carmichael, volunteer for the Friends of the Colfax Library. This is one of several UPF grants the library has received in the last few years, thanks to the efforts of the Friends.

“They have been very generous over the years,” Carmichael said. “In the past we received a grant to buy a computer, software and keyboard for the sight impaired.”

This new grant, however, will replace torn books and provide for new books in all subject areas, she said. New books are chosen by branch manager Gunda Pramuk, or through Placer County’s analysis of its most popular books, based on check outs. 

“For every book (UPF) buys, it benefits not only Colfax,” Carmichael said. “Because we belong to the Placer County library system, all twelve libraries can check out our books.”

There are a few books that are reserved for Colfax residents only, she said, including books about railroading history.

UPF grants fund up to $10,000 each year to any nonprofit residing along the Union Pacific rail line, according to Liisa Lawson Stark, UP’s director of public affairs for northern California,“The intention is to help support the communities where our employees live and work and where our trains operate,” Lawson Stark said. “Supporting organizations that are doing great work . . . is important to us. We strive to be a good community partner.”

In the past UPF has funded grants to Friends of the Auburn Library and Friends of the Roseville Library as well as Seniors First and Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center, she said. The organization is currently accepting applications for the 2016 cycle.

The Friends of the Colfax Library has already turned in its application for next year, Carmichael said. The Friends is also funded by an anonymous donor and monthly book sales. The next book sale takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1 in the Colfax library parking lot.

“We want to encourage people to check out the services at the library,” Carmichael said.  “The more patrons we have, the more the county sees how vital (we are to the) community.”

More patrons mean more funding, she said, and more funding means improved services.

Reach reporter Tricia Caspers-Ross at