Category Archives: Schools

The School Library’s First Contact With Parents

By Doug Johnson
Reposted from the Blue Skunk Blog

This question was recently posted to LM_Net:

Do any of you send a letter home with students at the beginning of the year that explains library rules, routines, info, etc..? If so, could you please share so I could generate some ideas. Thanks in advance.

Ah, the first thing our parents hear from us are our RULES! Why not hit them with our SERVICES in that first communication instead? Rather than…

Dear Parents,

Please be aware of the library’s rules:

  • Your child is allowed to check out two books each week.
  • Books must be checked out and returned on the specified library days.
  • If a book is not returned, no additional books can be checked out.
  • Fines will accrue for late books.
  • Lost books must be paid for by parents before report cards are issued.

Your librarian


Dear Parents,

The library program has some exciting opportunities in store for your child this year:

  • Our curriculum will be promoting the very best of children’s literature to your child with activities designed to help student’s enjoy the stories even more.
  • We’ll be doing our very best to get (or keep) your children “hooked on reading” by recommending specific reading materials to each individual.
  • At each grade level, students will be learning research and computer skills specifically suited to their developmental needs.
  • The new iPads in the library will be available for reading e-books this year!
  • We have a lot of special events being planned, including author visits, a book fair, and reading contests.
  • If you would like to volunteer to help in the library, please let me know. We’d love to have you.

Your librarian

Parents can and should be our greatest advocates, but this will only happen if we communicate the positive. Sure, it’s OK to communicate library “rules.” But what priority should this communication be given? Think about it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Geography Awareness Week Bookmark Contest

Geography Awareness Week is coming up November 12-18. To mark this occasion, the Wyoming Geographic Alliance is sponsoring a bookmark contest for students in K-8 on the theme of “Civil Rights.”

All bookmark entries must be postmarked by December 1, 2017. This contest is only open to Wyoming students, limit one entry each. Judging will be based on geographic content, artistic quality, and creativity.

Download the entry form.

First place winners will have their bookmark published and distributed to libraries and schools throughout Wyoming. First and second place winners for each grade level will receive an inflatable globe and National Geographic world map. The sponsoring teacher will receive a one-year subscription to National Geographic Kids.

Questions may be directed to Robert Rust, WGA Graduate Assistant, at or (307) 766-3213.

Geography Awareness Week, organized by National Geographic Education Programs, encourages citizens young and old to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it. Each third week of November, students, families and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meeting with policymakers and business leaders as part of that year’s activities. Geography Awareness Week is supported by year-long access to materials and resources for teachers, parents, community activists, and all geographically minded global citizens. The event is organized by National Geographic Education Programs.

Teacher Resources for Letters About Literature

From now through January 12, 2018, Wyoming students can enter their letters in the 2017-18 Letters About Literature contest to engage with some great reading and to compete for state and national prizes. Classroom and individual entries are welcome. Teachers, librarians, and homeschool parents should know there are resources available to them to guide their student participants.

The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide provides activities teachers can use to guide their students through the book discussion and letter-writing process. The guide addresses the LAL teaching strategies and ways in which the program can dovetail with curriculum for teaching reading and writing. Also included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists.

Letters About Literature is a Library of Congress national reading/writing promotion program for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. You can download the guidelines and read winning letters on the Library of Congress website.

Postmark entry deadline for Wyoming participants for the 2017-18 contest is January 12, 2018. Students compete in three age categories: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8), and Level 3 (grades 9-12). Letters are judged on state and national levels. Wyoming winners in each level will receive a $150 Amazon gift card for 1st place, $100 card for 2nd place, and $50 for 3rd place.

Questions may be directed to Susan Mark, Wyoming State Library publications specialist, at or (307) 777-5915.

Visit the Official Letters About Literature website

A Don’t-Miss Session at the Innovations Conference

Heading to the Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference?  Don’t miss Chris Van Burgh’s session, “Students? Yes! Teachers? Yes!” Chris is the Database Instruction Librarian here at the Wyoming State Library.

Join her for an exploration of the many resources available free to you and your students (pre-K-college) through Here you will find research databases, supplemental classroom materials, practice tests and computer skills, language learning, and so much more! Search and find articles with citation information on a topic. Locate career tutorials and computer skills tutorials. Discover additional material to promote and teach various databases.

The conference will be held November 2-3 at the University of Wyoming Conference Center in Laramie. Registration is open through October 15; fee is $25. Learn more and register.

Wyoming K-12 Well-Connected to Broadband

EducationSuperHighway has just released its annual report on the state of K-12 broadband connectivity, “2017 State of the States: Fulfilling Our Promise to America’s Students.”

They report that in Wyoming, 100% of school districts representing all of the state’s 92,642 students not only meet the minimum connectivity goal of 100 kbps per student, but beat it by a factor of 2, with every student receiving at least 200 kbps per student. What’s more—Wyoming provides the 200 kbps per student to all districts at absolutely no cost to any district. In 2017, Wyoming leveraged $6.1 million of federal E-rate funds

See the state snapshot report.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is quoted on the website:

Wyoming’s primary goal in this effort is to assure every student in our state has access to a first class education. As a result, we have deployed the best possible broadband to every school district in Wyoming. We are among the best in the nation because we have the highest aspirations for our students and we will continue to invest in the infrastructure necessary to be sure our districts have what they need in order to deliver connectivity in every classroom.

EducationSuperHighway is a nonprofit focused on upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America. They believe that digital learning has the potential to provide all students with equal access to educational opportunity and that every school requires high-speed broadband to make that opportunity a reality.

First Peek at Resources for New AASL Standards

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has released early materials addressing elements of the new “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries” that will launch in November.

Early materials available on the AASL Standards web portal include:

  • “On the Horizon: New Standards to Dawn at AASL 2017”
    Featuring AASL’s updated Common Beliefs for the profession, this article from the Sept./Oct. “Knowledge Quest,” describes AASL’s process for researching and remodeling the standards.
  • Shared Foundation Infographics
    This collection of six Shared Foundation infographics summarize Competencies for learners and suggest starting points for school librarians implementing the “National School Library Standards.” These infographics will be central to a Twitter chat you can join hosted by AASL on Monday, September 18, at 5:00 p.m. MDT at #AASLstandards.
  • Standards Explainer Video – Evolved and Familiar
    Learn how the AASL Standards have evolved to reflect current learning environments while still honoring and carrying forward beloved elements from previous Standards.

The AASL Standards web portal will be the hub for “National School Library Standards” resources. Many downloadable support resources, including materials customized for various types of school librarians and stakeholders, are planned for the fall launch and beyond to help school librarians understand and communicate the new standards structure in their collaborations and communities.


2016-17 Wyoming School Library Stats Released

Colter Elementary School, Wyoming Snapshot Day 2016

The numbers are in: the results of the Wyoming School Library Survey 2016-17 have been released and may be found on the WSL library statistics page.

Annually, the Wyoming State Library conducts a voluntary survey of school libraries to collect basic information on staffing, budgets, student use of the library and other measures. A large body of research has shown that a strong school library program—with sufficient staffing, collections and budget—is associated with higher student test scores.

The response rate for this year’s survey was lower than in 2015-16. Part of the decline may be because of budget and staffing cuts that have left many school libraries without certified librarians. Collecting instructional time continues to be a challenge, as the data provided is often inconsistent with the amount of library media specialist staffing reported by the Wyoming Department of Education. This year, the question on planning time was dropped and the question on instructional time was clarified to define it as formal teaching time.

Questions about the survey, or about other school library issues, may be directed to Paige Bredenkamp, WSL School Library Consultant, at or (307) 777-6331.

AASL President’s Comments on Info Power

Last month, American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Steven Yates came to Wyoming to speak at Information Power. He shared his impressions of his visit in a Knowledge Quest article, “A Fresh Look, Lending a Hand, and the Equality State.” He wrote:

Last month marked my first presidential visit to an AASL affiliate. I had the good fortune of joining the School Library Interest Group of the Wyoming Library Association for their Information Power preconference before the Wyoming Library Association annual conference in Sheridan, Wyoming. The exchange of ideas among school librarians with their academic and public library peers on the beautiful campus of Sheridan College was so refreshing! Affiliate representatives Jennisen Lucas and Connie Hollin graciously assisted me as I shared the many benefits of being a part of the only national association dedicated to school librarianship. While my stay in Wyoming was only a few days, I left there knowing that I wanted to visit again very soon and so proud of the work our school library colleagues are doing to transform teaching and learning across the Equality State.

Steven Yates is an assistant professor and coordinator of the school library media certification program at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. He earned a doctor of philosophy in instructional leadership with an emphasis in instructional technology in 2017.

Read the full article.