All posts by Susan

Wyoming Library Association Award Nominations Open Until May 15

The Wyoming Library Association is accepting nominations for its annual awards that honor individuals and organizations for their contributions to libraries and librarianship. WLA members may submit nominations in these categories:

Outstanding Hero/Heroine Award
This award provides an opportunity for WLA to recognize an outstanding person or group, whose hard work has made a difference to a Wyoming library within the last two years.

Outstanding Librarian
This award is meant to, above all, recognize and especially honor the significant and outstanding accomplishments set forth by a library employee in the past year, such as service to library patrons, and the library community that this individual is a part of. It is also meant to reflect the goals of WLA and the library professional, as a whole.

Outstanding Library
For a significant special project completed within the last 2 years. The staff, library board and the community or people served shall all be involved in the work for which recognition is sought.

Learn more on the WLA website.

Wyoming Library Association Call for Conference Proposals

The Wyoming Library Association is planning its 2017 conference Aug. 10-11 in Sheridan and is inviting your program proposals. Deadline is April 30, and you may submit your proposal here.

At the conference, the Wyoming library community comes together to discover, learn, and share ideas, innovations, and practical suggestions to help improve the state’s libraries. have some knowledge to share? A great program idea you think other libraries could implement? We want to learn from you!

Past program tracks have included:

  • School Libraries
  • Academic Libraries
  • Reference
  • Technical Services
  • Youth Services
  • Administration & Management
  • Leadership

Remember that this is the proposal stage, so you don’t need to have completed planning to submit your idea by the April 30 deadline. (Please note: You MUST see a screen that says “Survey Completed. Thank you for taking the survey!”  If you do not, the program was not successfully submitted.)

WLA is also asking members to suggest topics they’d like to see at the conference. Is there something specific you’d like to learn? Send Katrina Brown your program ideas at



Database of the Month Archived Webinar: Conflict/Understanding 2017

Explore our world using resources in Global Issues In Context, Statistical Insight, Culturegrams, CQ Researcher and more. Find more database training in our webinars index.

Survey for Libraries Serving Patrons With Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias

Don’t forget: Alzheimer’s Disease listening sessions are going on now at many Wyoming libraries around the state.

From Mary Beth Riedner, Chair, IGARD/ASCLA/ALA

In 2015, the Alzheimer’s and Related Interest Group (IGARD) of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Libraries Agencies (ASCLA) conducted its first National Survey of Current Practices (Excel spreadsheet). ASCLA is a division of the American Library Association (ALA)

More than 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with some form of dementia and this number is projected to rise as the Baby Boomer generation ages.  The Alzheimer’s Association’s projections for each state for 2025 in the full report, 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.

The efforts of librarians of all types — public, medical, special and academic — to serve this growing population will be made more effective by working together.  Libraries have much to offer both diagnosed persons and their care partners with a wide variety of programs and services. Such initiatives will enhance the library’s relevance in the eyes of the community.

Since the 2015 survey, many more libraries across the country have begun offering programs and services directly to persons living with dementia in their communities.  IGARD would like to update its previous survey in order to get an up-to-date picture of what libraries are doing in this important area of service.

If you are one of these innovative libraries, please self-identify by completing this brief survey. Results of this updated survey will be accumulated and posted on the IGARD web page before the ALA Annual Conference in June.

IGARD is hosting a preconference on June 23, “Becoming a Dementia Friendly Library: Serving People Living with Dementia in Your Community.” They will bring in experts from the field of dementia care to provide background information and present several case studies of successful programs for this population.

Wyoming Children’s Book Award Winners Announced


Winners have been announced for the 2017 Buckaroo, Indian Paintbrush, and Soaring Eagle book awards, as voted upon by Wyoming K-12 students. K-3 students picked the Buckaroo winners, students in grades 4-6 selected the Indian Paintbrush winners, and those in grades 7-12 voted for the Soaring Eagle Award.

These award programs help children become acquainted with the best contemporary books and authors, learn what qualities make a good book, and set reading goals. Each award honors an author whose books Wyoming students have enjoyed. These awards are a joint project of the Wyoming State Reading Council and the Wyoming Library Association.


Lori Phillips receives Milstead Distinguished Librarianship Award

From the University of Wyoming Library News blog

Lori Phillips

UW Libraries is pleased to announce that Lori Phillips, Associate Dean, is the recipient of this year’s Milstead Distinguished Librarianship Award.

The late Agnes Milstead, a professor of education and library science at UW, established the award in 1993 to recognize significant contributions to the University Libraries in scholarship, program development, teaching, fundraising, and professional achievements.

For over 25 years, Phillips has worked in a variety of roles at UW Libraries, serving as a librarian, teacher, mentor, colleague, and administrator. Her varying roles also included time as Interim Dean of Libraries. Phillips was one of the developers of the first TIP Tutorial taken by thousands of students as part of UW’s information literacy requirement; she has overseen strategic planning and reorganization of services and staff to accommodate initiatives and reductions in workforce; and she is a strong supporter of professional development for faculty and staff.

David Kruger, UW Librarian, says, “What I appreciate about Lori from my own perspective at UW Libraries is her selfless service on behalf of this organization.” Maggie Farrell, former Dean of UW Libraries, also holds Lori in high regard: “Throughout her Wyoming career, Lori has sought to improve services to advance university priorities and initiatives. Within the Libraries, Lori oversaw the expansion of the digital program including the creation of the scholarly communication program. These cutting-edge developments provided visibility to unique UW research and collections advancing the research of faculty.”

Phillips has also provided leadership for statewide initiatives, including training and promotion of health science information in the Regional Medical Library. She also took on the time-consuming role of leading the Legislative Committee for the Wyoming Library Association. On the national level, Lori has advanced librarianship as a leader in library ethics by working with Association of College Research Libraries (ACRL) and American Library Association (ALA) committees to provide training and information on library values.

Farrell further states in her nomination: “Such is Lori’s career that she works hard, usually behind the scenes, without regard for personal recognition. Lori models the best of Agnes Milstead, a passion for librarianship, a high regard for her colleagues, an unrelenting focus, and a strong work ethic.”

Congratulations to Lori on her many achievements and on receiving this award.

Supporting Students with Inclusive School Library Collections

By Melissa Snider
Colter Elementary School Library

The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” –Lucille Clifton

Huyck, David, Sarah Park Dahlen, Molly Beth Griffin. (2016 September 14). Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 infographic. blog.

As librarians and media specialists, we strive to build collections of print and digital materials that serve the information and literacy needs of our students and staff. Collection development choices are guided by many factors including curricular needs and student interest. We may also consider the backgrounds of our students; racial or ethnic diversity, or languages other than English commonly spoken in our schools.

According to statistics from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education, more children’s books are published each year about trucks and animals than there are books published about American Indian or African American characters. It can be challenging to locate titles reflecting the broad experience of what it means to be “American,” even when you’re searching for them.

All of our students deserve library collections that support their ongoing journeys of self-discovery, that help them know who they are, and who they want to become. I encourage you to consider these questions as you maintain your library collections.

Does my library collection offer both mirrors and windows?

  • A mirror is a book that can reflect parts of a student’s own experience back to them.
  • A window is a book that allows a student to walk in someone else’s shoes.

The demographics of your school are one piece of the puzzle to consider when developing your collection, but diversity is deeper than skin color. Every student comes with a unique perspective and identity based on their socio-economic status, religious beliefs, gender identity, abilities and disabilities, and much more. Even if your particular student body doesn’t have a lot of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, or national origin, ensure that you have books to help students broaden their reading experiences.

If you do have a particular group of students that you’re keeping in mind as you make purchases and don’t know where to begin, visit Their resources tab includes a link called “Where to Find Diverse Books” that directs you to recommended booklists based a variety of criteria. This page also collects excellent blogs and articles that discuss diversity and multiculturalism, if you are interested in more about the topic.

Finally, visit the Children’s Book Council: Reading Without Walls Challenge to learn about National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang’s efforts to inspire young readers to read widely.

Am I recommending diverse books to other teachers?

Wyoming’s Indian Paintbrush Awards List this year included El Deafo, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel featuring a character with a hearing impairment, and Full Cicada Moon, a historical fiction novel in verse whose main character struggles to identify herself as something other than the sum of her racial makeup (Japanese and Black). Promote diverse reading experiences by using recommended book lists and awards.

Librarians are trusted and powerful resources in our schools. If a teacher asks for books about Women’s History Month, include titles that represent less well-known narratives, such as Sarah E. Warren’s Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers. If 6th graders are learning about the Revolutionary War, add books like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains to your list. Encourage high school English teachers to branch out from the traditional canon and include “new classics” in their classroom reading, books that examine universal themes like love, loss, and coming of age from perspectives that challenge them to see the world from a different point of view. Remember that America’s history is one of diversity, and help ensure that this history is represented in our classrooms.

Many types of media fall into the trap of reinforcing a “single story” when it comes to marginalized cultures. For example, “the African American story is one of struggle,” or “all Mexican-Americans are here without documentation.” These are incorrect, dangerous, and damaging stereotypes that can be reinforced in literature. Be aware of harmful stereotypes in books, and weed these items from your collections. Add books that broaden the scope of stories told; and help students read a range of human experiences.

Just this month, I heard 4th graders use the word “racist” with no understanding of what it means, or the weight of the word they were wielding. These conversations are being played out in the adult political world, and they’re impacting our students. It’s critical that educators guide students to acquire a basic vocabulary when discussing race and ethnicity, and teach them to use it respectfully. One way to introduce these conversations is with literature.

How can I serve students of immigrant families?

This year we’ve had new students arrive from Jamaica, Myanmar, El Salvador, and Mexico. Some of these students speak English, some do not. Our school also has a large population of Mexican-American students who were born in the United States, but whose parents are first-generation immigrants. Some of these students feel upset and threatened by recent policy decisions from the Trump Administration, and are experiencing high levels of stress.

Library media specialists have a unique role to play when it comes to supporting student learning, especially for kids who come from immigrant families. It’s important for us to help students feel welcome in our schools and our libraries. We can provide them with reading materials that reflect their experiences as immigrants as well as books to help others develop empathy for those who have left their countries of origin. Additionally, we should have collections that help students develop English language proficiency once they’ve arrived.

Even if a child is born here in the United States, they often deal with issues related to immigration, especially if they’re one of the estimated 4.1 million children living in a household with “mixed status,” or in a family where at least one member is undocumented. Be aware of the complexities of immigrant students and their families, and use the recommended websites to read further about ways to support them.

It is our responsibility as educators to connect kids with books that both reinforce their own experiences and broaden their horizons. Consider your collections, and how they work to reflect and transport your students.

Recommended Websites for Collections that Serve Students from Immigrant Families:


At left, Melissa Snider teaching about “headings.” Snider has been an elementary school librarian in the Teton County School District for 8 years, with additional 5 years of public library experience in Wyoming and Massachusetts. She holds an MLS from Simmons College in Boston, and loves to teach, hike, and spend time at home with her husband and two young daughters, who also adore reading.


Alzheimer’s Listening Sessions Make the Rounds at Wyoming Libraries

The University of Wyoming Center on Aging is among the sponsors with the Wyoming Department of Health for Alzheimer’s disease informative listening sessions throughout the state — many at Wyoming public libraries.

Listening sessions are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. All listening sessions will be held from 3-5 p.m. on the dates and at the locations listed:

  • Casper, Thursday, March 23, UW-Casper, Room UU322.
  • Gillette, Friday, March 24, Campbell County Public Library, Wyoming Room.
  • Rock Springs, Monday, March 27, Rock Springs Library, Ferrero Room.
  • Lander, Tuesday, March 28, Fremont County Library, meeting rooms A and B.
  • Ethete, Wednesday, March 29, Wind River Tribal College, Room C1.
  • Jackson, Thursday, March 30, Teton County Library auditorium.
  • Worland, Wednesday, April 5, Washakie County Library, large meeting room.
  • Cody, Thursday, April 6, Park County Library, Grizzly Room.

The Wyoming Alzheimer’s Task Force is developing a plan to address Alzheimer’s disease in Wyoming. The plan will identify resources, detect resource gaps and map opportunities to improve the lives of individuals with dementia.

Wyoming residents unable to attend listening sessions can share their thoughts through an online survey. For more information about the plan, contact Linda Chasson at (307) 777-6103 or

LRCC Fall Literacy Conference Call for Proposals

The University of Wyoming Literacy Research Center and Clinic’s (LRCC) Fall Literacy Conference for teachers around the state, “Sharpening our Focus: Comprehension Across Disciplines and Grade Levels,” will take place Sept. 22-23 at UW in Laramie, Wyo. The Wyoming School-University Partnership has been a co-planner for the conference.

A Call for Proposals to present at the conference is open until May 1. Conference fees will be waived for accepted presenters, and applicants will be notified by June 1.

Registration is $35. The LRCC will provide up to 25 $200 travel scholarships for Wyoming educators to attend. More information on travel scholarships will be found on the registration site when it opens on June 1.

Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) renewal credit will be available to Wyoming certified teachers as well as UW’s EDCI 5959 credit for only $50.00.

View past conference archives here.