Category Archives: People News

There’s a Wyoming Archivist for That!

Originally published on the ArchivesAWARE! blog of the Society of American Archivists An interview by Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist at Iowa State University with Anne L. Foster, Archivist at Yellowstone National Park. Reposted with permission.

Anne L. Foster

Anne L. Foster has served as Yellowstone National Park’s Archivist since 2010. Prior to that, she was the University Archivist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Traveling Archivist for the Montana Historical Society, NHPRC Fellow in Archival Administration at Fort Lewis College in Colorado, and Assistant Archivist at the Sharlot Hall Museum in Arizona. She is a Certified Archivist (CA), Digital Archives Specialist (DAS), and holds an Masters in Library Science (MLS) from the University of Maryland.

RS: How did you get your gig?

AF: As an undergraduate history student at nearby Montana State University in my hometown of Bozeman, Montana, I used to see flyers advertising an internship in the archives at Yellowstone. While I couldn’t take advantage of the program at the time (I was working three other jobs to pay for school), the fact that archives was a potential career for a history major and that someplace I loved like Yellowstone had one stuck with me. For the next fifteen years, through graduate school and several other archives jobs, I would periodically check and see Yellowstone was hiring. And then, on one random check—they were! I’d just been tenured and promoted at my academic repository, but finally, my dream job was available. All those other jobs were probably a good thing, though, because they gave the skill set needed to step in as the first professional archivist in Yellowstone and tackle one of the largest backlogs in the National Park Service.

RS: Tell us about your organization.

AF: The Archives is part of Yellowstone’s Heritage & Research Center (HRC), which also houses the Park’s museum collection, herbarium, and research library. The HRC is part of the Yellowstone Center for Resources, which is tasked with managing all those things that make Yellowstone so special like the thermal features, wolves and bears, and the scientific research that guides management decisions. While we are part of the National Park Service, we are very fortunate to also have Yellowstone Forever, our philanthropic and educational partner. Yellowstone Forever actually started life in the 1930s as the Yellowstone Museum and Library Association, so our collections have long been a key part of their efforts. Most people think of Yellowstone as the place for geysers and wildlife—and we are–but the Archives is the place where we document those special features and our efforts to preserve them, which to me is something special.

RS: Describe your collections.

AF: Like many archives in the U.S., we are both an institutional repository and a collecting institution. Our institutional records are government records and we are subject to federal records laws and guidelines. There are actually two types of records within the government collection: resource management records and administrative/historical records. All national parks keep resource management records. Parks are created to manage a resource or resources and as long as that resource exists, we need to keep records pertaining to those resources to help inform future management decisions (these records are considered “permanently active” as long as the resource is active). Unlike other national parks, however, we also retain our permanent administrative and historical records like Superintendent’s correspondence, planning documents, partnership agreements and other records that don’t pertain quite so directly to resources. For other parks, those records are sent to the National Archives. Yellowstone is fortunate to be one of the few Affiliated Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This means that the records become part of NARA’s collection, but so long as we meet their standards for preservation, security, and access, we can keep them in our location. This makes it easier for our researchers, both staff and the public, to access our history in one place.

Our third category of collection is our donated or manuscript collections. These materials range from Park visitors’ photo albums, diaries, and scrapbooks through the research of scholars and scientists who donate their data for future comparative or longevity studies to records of businesses who have operated in the Park over its nearly 150 years. In fact, our Yellowstone Park Company (YPC) records, the main Park concessioner for the first 100 years, is our most accessed collection because it includes payroll records. The YPC hired hundreds of college kids every summer and, apparently, that summer was so memorable that the employees would spend the rest of their lives talking about their summer in Yellowstone. Now, we’re getting those employees’ kids and grandkids coming in to find out what Grandma or Grandpa really did in Yellowstone.

RS: What are some challenges unique to your collections?

AF: People love Yellowstone, so much so that there isn’t much about the Park that they aren’t interested in. This makes archival appraisal a bit challenging—the most routine things truly have the potential for historical value. Our NARA-approved NPS records schedule, for example, classifies most supply records as temporary. Of course it does—why would one need records for equipment once that item is used up or sold? But, we get queries regularly from people who have purchased former Park vehicles (buses, boats, snowmobiles) and want to know all about their item, down to paint formulas and the names of Rangers who drove them; it’s frustrating not to be able to answer their questions. At the same time, we can’t possibly keep everything. So, it comes down to a rigorous and often detailed appraisal process.

We can have some unique preservation challenges as well. Some of our most interesting records are logbooks–bound books used to record eruption data, visitor comments, or deep thoughts about wilderness. But, many of the logbooks are kept in less than optimal locations during creation—backcountry cabins, rock cairns on top of mountains, or next to erupting geysers. By the time they are filled and transferred to the archives they can be nibbled, rained upon, or even somewhat eaten away by the acidity of geyser spray. During the 1988 fires, the Park’s historian actually flew with a fire crew in a helicopter to several backcountry cabins in order to rescue the logbooks (fortunately, all of the historic cabins were saved). Today, we have a more regular transfer of the logs to help cut down on damage and make use of digital duplication in cases where the damage is significant or potentially harmful to other items.

RS: What is the favorite part of your job?

AF: The location; it is magical to go to work in Wonderland and even more extraordinary to be the keeper of the documentary record for the world’s first national park. That feeling is shared by my coworkers as well as our visitors and researchers—it makes for a lot of enthusiasm and interest in the Park’s history. Every day is different and that makes for interesting and challenging work. There’s a huge amount of variety to my day: the types of records, the archival functions, and the research questions are as varied as Yellowstone’s landscape.

Collins Selected for PLA Leadership Academy

Jeff Collins

Jeff Collins is one of 28 exceptional individuals selected nationwide to be a Public Library Association Leadership Fellow. Jeff is Deputy Director, Public Service, at Laramie County Library System in Cheyenne.

As a Fellow, Jeff will attend the PLA’s 2017 Leadership Academy, taking place December 4-8, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. Themed “Navigating Change — Building Community,” the PLA Leadership Academy is designed to help empower public librarians as community leaders and agents of change. The content focuses on developing the skills needed to work with municipal officials to enhance the library’s role in the community and improve the effectiveness of library activities and programs.

Jeff joined LCLS in July, 2016. In his position, he is responsible for the four public service divisions in the library: Reference/Collection, Computer Center/Cataloging, Youth/Outreach, and Circulation/Branch Services. Prior to moving to Wyoming he was director of two libraries in Arizona and worked for the Connecticut State Library.

People News

Carmen Clayton, Records and Data Management Analyst at the Wyoming State Archives, received her M.A. in American Studies from the University of Wyoming in August. Her masters paper, “Squaw and Princess,” examines how the pejorative stereotypes of “squaw” and “Indian princess” manifest themselves in web search images.

Rykki Neale is the new Children’s Librarian at the La Barge Library. Rykki grew up in Shoshoni, Wyoming. She has a B.S. in Creative Writing from Weber State University and worked for several years for the Technical Services department of Weber School District, helping K-12 teachers and staff use technology. Rykki’s husband, Coulter Neale, is the choir teacher in Big Piney, and this is their fifth year living in La Barge. They have two children, Rhiannon and Ezekiel. Rykki maintains a family blog called Flutter in the Breeze and enjoys spending time with her family.

Sarah Marino is the newest librarian to join the Yellowstone Research Library. Sarah received her MLS from Suny University at Buffalo and did her undergraduate work at Missouri State University. She interned at the library during the summer of 2015

Sharon Mikesell is retiring after 28 years in the Laramie County Library System. She started as a substitute in the two branch libraries, where she would later work 13 years as the Assistant Branch Manager. Over the years, she’s also worked for LCLS in reference and technical services. She was active in the Wyoming Library Association and represented Wyoming with the Collaborative Summer Library Program.  She is especially proud to have earned her MLS from Texas Women’s University three years ago. “I’m a walking example of the old adage, ‘you are never too old,'” she said. “After 25 years, I could truly say ‘I am a librarian.'” She and her husband plan to do a bit of traveling and then to serve a mission for their church in about a year. Also on the agenda: taking quilting classes, working on her family history, playing her piano, reading and spending a lot of time with her family.

Tamara Lehner has moved to the Glenrock Branch Library where she is working in circulation and adult programming. She has a degree in theatre, and worked at the University of Wyoming for 23 years before returning to her hometown to help out aging parents. Tamara worked at Converse County Library’s main library in Douglas for a year before transferring to Glenrock where she lives. She loves her work—being a librarian was a childhood dream.

Reese Ruiz is leaving the Laramie County Library System, where she has been the Manager of Community and Media Relations. She has accepted a position with the City of Cheyenne, Parks and Recreation Division, as a Marketing Coordinator. Her last day will be October 13. After that, you can drop in at her new office at the Cheyenne Civic Center to say hello. The library wishes her well on her new endeavor.

Knesel Named ‘Governor’s Woman of Distinction’

Sue Knesel

The Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues will recognize Susan B. Knesel of Gillette with its 2017 “Governor’s Woman of Distinction Award” at an October 14 luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at Gillette College. Knesel is a Campbell County Public Library System retiree and a past president of the Wyoming Library Association.

The award is “a once-in-a-lifetime honor for the recipient’s impact on women and/or families in the areas of education, employment practices, community outreach, health and wellness or legal issues.” Knesel was nominated by CCPLS Youth Services Coordinator Janet S. Tharp and WCWI member Laurel Vicklund of Gillette.

“Sue has been a tireless advocate for youth, women, families, underrepresented citizens and more,” said Terri Lesley, CCPLS Executive Director, who provided a letter of support. “She has developed many programs, putting much of her time and talent to work to advance literacy, improve community services and promote good government. Having observed Sue in action for the last 20 years, I’ve often asked myself how one woman can do so much.”

Knesel’s career accomplishments include introducing cutting edge literacy programs for preschoolers and toddlers. She procured a nutrition grant to provide summer meals to students and community grants to bring popular authors to Campbell County where they provided presentations and writing workshops for fifth grade, junior high and high school students. She carved out library space for tweens and enhanced library programming with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).

Tickets are $25 for the no-host luncheon. RSVP by October 5 to Michelle Shellhart at (307) 777-2801 or Chava Case at (307) 777-2823 at the Wyoming Business Council.

People News

Edie Phillips retired August 31 after almost 25 years with Park County Public Library System in Cody. She began working there in 1992, part-time in technical services and part-time in circulation. Later she became technical services supervisor. “I have met so many great people along the way, especially the helpful WYLD team. Their expertise has been invaluable,” she said. “I know I won’t be missed for my quick temper and awful puns, but I thank all my co-workers for their enduring patience.” She has no set plans for retirement but is considering volunteering in the library.

Kim Taylor is the new Children’s Programming Specialist at the Big Piney Library. She previously worked with small children and is looking forward to the new environment the library has to offer. Kim loved books and the library as a child and is hoping to help foster those interests in the kids she works with. Kim enjoys the community of Big Piney and the relationship the library has with the people in the area. “The library here is such an important part of our town. I love that it has something for everybody, from children’s programs to great adult classes. I’ve participated in many classes over the years and have enjoyed the fun opportunities to learn something new.” Kim enjoys living in Wyoming with her husband and three teenagers. She loves to spend time outside, travel, and connect with family and friends.  The best part of the job for Kim is working with the kids and also being surrounded by so many books to read!

Kennedy Penn-O’Toole was elected as the new leader of the Wyoming Library Association’s Youth Services Interest Group. Kennedy is the Young Adult Specialist at Albany County Public Library.

Doug Loughry has joined the Big Piney Library as its new manager.  Doug was an elementary educator for the past five years. He and his wife made Big Piney their home and have found it to be the ideal location for their new family — close enough to their two year old’s grandparents (within driving distance), but not too close. In his free time Doug may be seen on the slopes at White Pines Ski Resort or floating rivers in a raft. Doug has a passion for working with children and is very excited to be a part of the library that is such a positive contributor to the town of Big Piney.

Maggie Sullivan is now the ILL and Public Services Manager, taking the place of Courtney Suko. Maggie has returned to Wyoming after spending two years in Arizona. We are delighted to have her back where she belongs.

Leslie Colin Tribble is now the Technical Services Manager at Park County Library taking the place of Edie Phillips, who retired. Leslie has been with the Park County Public Library in Cody since September of 2010. She has worked in many areas, including Children’s Services and the circulation desk. Since March of last year she has been working on the Meeteetse flood replacements project. Leslie has a B.S. in environmental education and an M.S. in conservation education. She is an avid hiker and photographer of the natural world. She has been studying cataloging and is well-equipped to take on the challenges of the Technical Services department.




One Man’s Wyoming Libraries Road Trip

Kelly Leichtnam’s map of Wyoming is sprouting push pins — each one a library in the state he’s visited. He’s hoping to snag them all.

Four years ago, Kelly moved from Sheridan, where he was born and raised, to take a job in Cheyenne as a Retirement Educator for the State of Wyoming. He’s on the road 20 weeks a year, covering about 25,000 miles a year going to different communities to make presentations to state employees and others enrolled in the Wyoming Retirement System.

To pass the hours on the road (and the evenings in hotels with terrible television reception), he was always buying the audiobooks he loved on CD. That was until Park County Library Director Frances Clymer let him know that with the WYLD consortium, he could check out materials from any public library in the state and return them anywhere as well.

At first, it solved a practical problem for him. Then, he said “It became fun.” He began putting a pin in a Wyoming road map marking every library where he’d both checked something in and checked something out. When we interviewed him, he was up to 24, and he had also visited additional libraries, since they’re an excellent place to hold meetings. “They always have the rooms and the technology available.”

When the car he’s driving now dies, he’s looking forward to getting a new one where he can use the downloadable audio in GoWYLD. “That’s an even greater benefit because you don’t even have to go to the library. You can download it from the website.”

Kelly lived on the East Coast for four years when he served in the U.S. Army. “I realized early on I would always come back to Wyoming, and that’s where I wanted to live the rest of my life.” He loves the Equality State and collects tourism stickers in his travels along with library checkouts.

“I’m just amazed at where libraries have come from when I was a little kid,” he said.


People News

August 1 marked Michelle Havenga’s 36th anniversary as the Children’s Librarian at the Sheridan County Fulmer Library. She’s has encouraged a love of reading in so many kids in the community … and sometimes dogs and puppies as well.

Lucky Sydney Lupton, after 12 fine years of service for the Riverton Branch Library, Fremont County Library System, she is retiring and plans on expanding her master gardening skills. Syd always came to work with her sense of humor and “can do” attitude. She will be greatly missed.

Matthew Troyanek is now the Office Associate Senior for the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. He was worked 17 years at UW in a variety of staffing positions, most recently at the Office of the Registrar. “I enjoy the professional atmosphere of American Heritage Center, the research and education focus we have as a primary source archive, and the administrative support that I’m able to provide for our faculty and staff.”


People News

Rachael Svoboda, Laramie County Library System Business Services Coordinator, graduated in the 2016-17 Leadership Cheyenne class on June 2. Rachael is the Business Services Coordinator for L2B (Library 2 Business). L2B is a free information service that connects patrons with local and regional economic development agencies to learn new skills and create a business network.


Victoria Bryan is departing the familiar stacks of the Rawlins Public Library to further her education. Victoria was a Library Assistant who came to work for the system last July and has been a welcome sight at the circulation desk ever since. She quickly made herself a valuable asset to co-workers and patrons alike in Rawlins and will be greatly missed. “Being here was like being part of a family,” Victoria said, “because we had each other’s backs.” All of her co-workers wish her well on her future endeavors.

Cindy Moore has joined the Converse County Library as its new Assistant Director. “It’s gratifying to be in such a magnificent library and a vibrant town,” she said. “The director and board are supportive and have worked to provide their patrons with the best facilities, collections, and technology. If you’re in the area, please stop by — it’ll be a treat!”

Marple Named Lander Branch Manager

Anita Marple recently was named manager of the Lander Branch Library, part of the Fremont County Library System. “Anita is very service oriented, said Janette McMahon, the library system’s Executive Director. “I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the Lander branch.”

The library has been a big part of Marple’s life ever since she came to Fremont County. “The Lander Library was the first place I took my two children when we moved to Lander 15 years ago,” she said. “From the very first visit we felt welcomed by the children’s staff in particular and quickly became regular visitors.”

As her children grew, she began volunteering with the Lander Library Friends Association, serving on its board for four years before she was hired by Barbara Oakleaf in 2011 to work in the children’s department part-time. Not long after her hire, she started the Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) process, taking online courses with the support of Carol McMurry Library Endowment grants. In 2013, she took the full-time children’s position when Becky Packer retired.

“I appreciate this opportunity,” Marple said. “We’ve got intelligent, creative staff who are committed to excellent service to the wonderful variety of people in the Lander community.

As she settles into the groove of leading the Lander team, she hopes to encourage new avenues to engage current patrons and welcome new ones, as well as to develop more partnerships with groups in the community.  “We provide access to excellent resources. Promoting what we do and what we offer will be necessary to show that the library truly is the hub of the community.”

Marple holds a B.S. degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from Missouri State University.  Prior to joining the library world, she worked in campus ministry, early childhood education, and bookstores.

She grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, on the north bank of the Missouri River in a good-sized Italian family (with Scots-Irish thrown in) of 10 kids. “My maiden name is Giovagnoli, which is not so common in the US, but in Italy it’s equivalent to ‘Smith.'” A fun random fact: her father was the inventor of the modern arm-style commercial baseball pitching machine, the  “Iron Mike,” used by most of the major league baseball teams for training.

McMahon to Lead Fremont County Library System

Janette McMahon has been chosen as the new Executive Director for the Fremont County Library System. Prior to her move to Wyoming, she was Director of the West Liberty Public Library for 22 years in her hometown of West Liberty, Iowa.

A quote McMahon said has driven her career in library service is from Ray Bradbury: “Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future” She started in library work as a children’s librarian. “I definitely gained new respect for daycare providers, teachers, and library children’s department staff during the short time I did that.”

Now, after many years in libraries, “I’m looking forward to the challenges of the Fremont County Library System and working with the creative staff here. Not to mention the great location!”

In her free time, McMahon enjoys hiking, cycling, reading (particularly historical fiction), and sewing. She also loves to travel with her family, exploring the United States and abroad.