Category Archives: WSL News

Assistive Technology Makes Library Resources Accessible to All

What is assistive technology (AT)? It’s more straightforward than it may sound. AT is any device, tool, or adaptation that supports a person when participating in everyday activities.

“We use assistive technology, but nobody knows that term,” says Tekla Slider, Wyoming State Library Federal Documents Librarian. “It can be something as simple as magnifiers or reading glasses.”

Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish or had great difficulty. AT supports independence, increases self-confidence, reading comprehension, and reading ability, and enhances access to library resources.

Tekla has been working on a collaborative project between the WSL and Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) to increase awareness of assistive technology and its benefits throughout Wyoming. As the first step in this effort, the WSL funded a basic Assistive Technology toolkit for each of the 23 public library systems and seven academic libraries.

The project was also intended to highlight not just AT, but also the services provided by WATR, available to every Wyoming resident. The agency provides information and assistance, training, device demonstrations and “try before you buy” loans, help with acquiring AT, and access to low-interest loans for those purchases.

“Libraries disseminate information about resources,” Tekla said, “and this is a huge resource that is underutilized. Our partnership is to get their information into libraries who are seeing all walks of life. We don’t expect libraries to know all about assistive technology, but we want them to know about WATR.”

The kits were unveiled at this summer’s Wyoming Library Association conference where Tekla, along with Ryan Rausch and Felicia Arce from WATR, presented a program on “Supporting Patrons with Disabilities Access to Library Resources and Services.” The AT boxes contain a number of simple, low-tech devices that are intended to remain in the kits:

  • Bookmark magnifiers – Makes objects larger for reading and general viewing.
  • Jar opener grips – Textured, rubber grips assist in opening jar lids.
  • Pencil grips – Gently positions fingers in the proper, ergonomic position for writing.
  • Color overlay bookmarks – Reduce glare when placed on top of print text.
  • Raised lined paper – Slightly raised bumps at each line gives feedback to stay between ruled lines.
  • Masking aids – Isolate words and help readers focus on segments of text.
  • Large print keyboard stickers – Large, individual letters applied to a standard keyboard makes keys easier to see.
  • Picture communication book – Allows an individual to point to words, letters, or pictures to communicate.

“There was a lot of interest at WLA,” Tekla said, “When we were passing out kits, they’d immediately know someone who could use one of the tools. They recognized it in themselves, or they thought of someone in their lives who could benefit from it. So it did exactly what we wanted it to do.”

The kits came along with promotional materials to be distributed to the public, including information on WATR services and a rack card of helpful AT apps. Tekla said libraries could put them on display (as has been done at the WSL) and pass out the brochures and cards. They could be used for programming, such as a demonstration to seniors or homeschoolers. It all depends on what works best for the local library.

Every day, libraries help people with assistive tech. They provide mobile carts, wheelchairs, magnifying and reading glasses for use in their buildings; offer a variety of eBooks, audiobooks, large print materials, and electronic databases; assist users with computers, eBook devices, and more; and visit patrons in their homes, daycares, schools, and other institutions. The WSL has been working with the Talking Books program for those unable to read regular print material due to visual, physical, or reading disabilities.

“We’ve already tried to make libraries accessible to all, so here’s just another way to do that,” Tekla said.

The next step is training to address the many questions librarians had about implementing the kits. Plans include creating videos on Niche Academy. Tekla recommended a book from the WSL Professional Collection, Creating Inclusive Library Environments. TechSoup for Libraries has also compiled assistive technology resources that may be of interest.

Questions about AT in your library? Visit the Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources website or contact Tekla at or (307) 777-6955.

Library Use on Snapshot Day

Niobrara County Library

There’s a reason for all those happy faces on Wyoming Snapshot Day, held this year on October 10. Every day, hardworking staff in Wyoming libraries serve their communities. On Snapshot Day alone, Wyoming’s public and community college libraries:

  • Circulated 12,170 items, including 5070 children’s items
  • Issued 102 new library cards
  • Added 745 items to their catalogs
  • Had over 3.62 million items available to Wyoming’s residents in their collections

From data collected annually by the Wyoming State Library, we estimate that on Tuesday, Oct. 10, there were:

  • 39,689 visits to public libraries
  • 2,324 people using a public library computer
  • 1,061 reference questions answered in public libraries
  • 850 children and teens who attended programs at their public libraries
  • 41 meeting room uses
  • 650 wireless internet sessions
  • 6,693 retrievals of information from WYLD databases

See photos, videos, and patron comments on the Wyoming Snapshot Day website.

For more library numbers, see the WSL’s Wyoming Library Statistics page on the website, or contact Thomas Ivie, Research & Statistic librarian, at or (307) 777-6330.

On This Date: Wyoming Territorial Library Proposed

On October 13, 1869 J.A. Campbell, Territorial Governor of Wyoming recommended the establishment of a territorial library in a speech to the Wyoming Territorial Legislature:

I am informed by the secretary of the interior, that he has in his possession a number of volumes of “state papers,” and other public documents, which will be forwarded for the public library, in case the territory will pay for their transportation. I would recommend an appropriation for this purpose, and for the establishment of a territorial library.

The Wyoming Territorial Library was established two years later. In 1890, it became the Wyoming State Library. The first Territorial Library was located in the Cheyenne Opera House at 17th and Capitol Avenue.

Abandoned Mine Land Library Goes Online

The Wyoming State Library collaborated with the Department of Environmental Quality, Abandoned Mine Land Division, to create the online Abandoned Mines Library. WSL stores, maintains and makes accessible the digitized versions of 20,472 maps, plans, project reports, photographs and miscellaneous reports detailing Wyoming’s abandoned mines. Over the course of the project, more than 566,000 pages were digitized.

These records are used by consultants and contractors, as well as residents looking for history and information. Before they were digitized, those wanting them would make an appointment to go to the AML offices where staff would help them find the documents they were looking for. If needed, they could make copies. Now, they can be quickly accessed online.

“It was a great project,” said Travis Pollok, WSL Digital Initiatives Librarian, “We were able to put more than 20,000 records in a more user-friendly database so that anyone can access them without having to come and look at the physical documents.”

“We’re extremely happy with the amount of time and organization Travis put in on this project, along with who ever else was involved,” said Jane Nuoci, AML office support specialist. “It went very smoothly, and so far it is working great.”

The project came about because of the impending move from the Herschler Building during renovation. The physical library took up a lot of space, so the agency needed a way to minimize it, but still make it accessible.

“The feedback I’ve received has mostly been from our consultants,” Nuoci said. “They’re very happy they can look up the information they need, download and print it without having to make a trip into the office, or even a phone call.”

Future additions will be documents that would have gone into the library, such as additional documents for certain projects or different research documents. These additions will be coordinated between the two agencies.

Nuoci said this project has benefited everyone involved in AML. “It’s saved time for everyone involved, from the consultants to the staff. This project has been one of the most valuable options we have to provide information to the public.”

Stories to Discover in Wyoming Newspapers

Are you familiar with Wyoming Newspapers? It’s a free online source for digitized historical newspapers from the Equality State. Check out the video for a brief introduction of what you’ll find, then take some time to explore Wyoming Newspapers at

Questions? Contact Thomas Ivie at or (307) 777-6330.

September 2017 Outrider Now Available

Find a wrap-up of the latest in Wyoming library news in the September 2017 Outrider newsletter from the Wyoming State Library. Subscribe today, and we’ll send the Outrider straight to your email inbox each month.

Have news you’d like included? Contact Susan Mark, WSL publications specialist, at or (307) 777-5915. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Two From WSL Presenting at Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

Paige Bredenkamp, Wyoming State Library School Library Consultant, and Chris Van Burgh, WSL Database Instruction Librarian, will be at the 9th Annual Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (WYAA) Conference at Little America in Cheyenne Oct. 4-5.

This conference is designed for school- and community-based programs taking place outside of formal school time. It is also set up to meet the needs of professionals and attorneys in the field of juvenile justice.

Paige and Chris will present “Tour Wyoming — Homegrown Resources for your Projects and Activities,” a trip through the Wyoming-focused research gems created by the Wyoming State Library and available freely. They will delve into digital databases that connect to Wyoming history, places, legislation, and inventors. In addition they will share history sources available to Wyoming residents found in

Their session is one of many informative ones at the WYAA conference. Late registration is still available.


New Books at the WSL

The latest additions to our professional library science collection are available to you through WYLDCAT. Questions, comments, or suggestions for purchase may be directed to Library Development Manager Brian Greene at or (307) 777-6339.

40+ new revenue sources for libraries and nonprofits
Edmund A. Rossman III.
Chicago : ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association, 2016.

Developing librarian competencies for the digital age
edited by Jeffrey G. Coghill, Roger G. Russell
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield, [2017]

Innovative LibGuides applications : real-world examples
edited by Ryan L. Sittler, Aaron W. Dobbs
Lanham [Maryland] : Rowman & Littlefield, [2016]

Leading for school librarians : there is no other option
Hilda K. Weisburg ; foreword by Susan D. Ballard.
Chicago : Neal-Schuman, an imprint of the American Library Association, 2017.

Protecting patron privacy : a LITA guide
edited by Bobbi Newman, Bonnie Tijerina
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield, [2017]

Integrating LibGuides into library websites
edited by Aaron W. Dobbs, Ryan L. Sittler
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield, [2016]

Wyoming Snapshot Day Less Than One Month Away

Greybull Branch Library, Snapshot Day 2016

Wyoming Snapshot Day is less than a month away on Tuesday, October 10, and we’d love to have your library participate.

Snapshot Day highlights all the great things that happen in Wyoming libraries every single day. It’s easy to participate: take photos and/or collect comments on October 10, or on a more convenient day that week, and submit them to the Wyoming State Library to share. If you want to go above and beyond—video is always welcome, too! Photos, comments, and videos, along with statistics we compile here, are used to promote our state’s libraries.

We have detailed instructions for librarians on the website, along with promotional materials if you’d like to start promoting this in your community.

Is your library on the list of participants? If not, and if you’d like to be, email Susan Mark, WSL Publications Specialist, at, or call her at (307) 777-5915. She’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have. You can also see the Wyoming Snapshot Day website for more information and check out what happened on Snapshot Day 2016.

Be sure to follow Wyoming Snapshot Day on Facebook, too. We’ll post photos and comments throughout the day on October 10. We also share photos from Wyoming libraries throughout the year on that page.


Wyoming at the National Book Festival

(L to R) Travis Pollok and Cary Dunlap

The Library of Congress reports that on Saturday, September 2, “Tens of thousands of book lovers young and old packed ten stages at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the 17th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival. Thousands more watched live online throughout the day as the Library streamed the entire Main Stage line-up to its Facebook page.”

The Wyoming State Library was there to represent the Equality State. Travis Pollok, Digital Initiatives Librarian, and Cary Dunlap, Marketing Manager, manned the table on a “mind-bendingly busy” day. Both had a great time handing out fliers, bookmarks, stickers, tourism guides, and even copies of the Little Wyoming board book.

The Wyoming State Library booth at the National Book Festival

Nanci Turner Steveson’s book, Swing Sideways, was Wyoming’s “Great Read” on the festival map that kids took from booth to booth, visiting all the states. Steveson is a Wyoming author from the Jackson area. She’s on the Board of Directors of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, and is the Teen Creative Writing Instructor at the Teton County Library.

The 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, September 1

See more news on the National Book Festival on the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival website.