Category Archives: WSL News

WSL Closed for Thanksgiving

From the November 30, 1911 Lusk Herald, found in Wyoming Newspapers

The Wyoming State Library will be closed Thursday, November 23, for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be open our normal hours on Friday, November 24.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are four populated places named after the holiday’s traditional main course: Turkey Creek CDP, Arizona (405 residents in 2015); Turkey city, Texas (367); Turkey Creek village, Louisiana (357); and Turkey town, North Carolina (280). Although the Equality State isn’t on the list with a turkey-themed town, Wyoming Places lists a Turkey Hollow (valley) in Carbon County, and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names lists three Turkey Creeks in Wyoming, among other locations. See more Thanksgiving Day trivia from the U.S. Census from their Facts for Features.

November 2017 Outrider Now Available

Find a wrap-up of the latest in Wyoming library news in the November 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.

State Library Adopts Paw Patrol Pups

In September, the Uinta County Library held a hugely successful Paw Patrol program, teaming up with the local police and fire departments. Attendees numbered 393 at the main library in Evanston and more than 100 people at each of the two branches. As it turned out, the library had too much of a good thing — they received a double order of the costumes and offered the extras out for sale to other libraries.

The Wyoming State Library snapped those puppies right up so that Marshall, Skye, and Chase (L to R in photo above) can make appearances at libraries around the state. Interested in borrowing the Paw Patrol costumes from the WSL? Contact Robyn Hinds at or (307) 777-7282.


Working in a Wyoming Prison Library

L to R: Brian Greene, Hayley Speiser, April Williams, Thomas Ivie

WSL Librarians Thomas Ivie and Brian Greene recently visited the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins. The prison regularly goes through accreditation through the American Correctional Association, and as part of the accreditation, they need access to a credentialed librarian holding an MLS or equivalent degree. Thomas Ivie serves in this capacity for the state correctional facilities. Using LSTA funds, the Wyoming State Library provides a $2,000 annual stipend to the Penitientiary library and to the other 12 institution libraries to support collections.

By Thomas Ivie

We met with Hayley Speiser, April Williams, and Beth Strong who run the library services at the prison. The first thing that we noticed was that there is not a physical library for the inmates to go to, even though they have 1,600-1,700 items in their collection at any given time. Instead, library services are brought to the inmate living pods by way of two large carts of books. The carts are checked out to the pods and are rotated to the other living pods regularly. The exception to this is the segregation unit. Segregation’s library materials are delivered to their cells individually by a dedicated librarian (currently April Williams) who checks out the items to the individual instead of the pod. April is passionate about providing services to the segregation unit.  Each pod has a paper catalog of the titles the library has in the collection. Inmates can request those books (and titles the library does not have) by filling out a request form.  For titles that the library does not have in the collection, the library requests by interlibrary loan through the Carbon County Library, and the requesting inmate pays any fees.

These librarians face many obstacles and challenges on a daily basis. Quite often, they are tested by inmates who can be very unscrupulous — testing boundaries, and making attempts to intimidate or be manipulative. The library is only allowed to have paperback books, as hardcover could be used as a weapon. Paperback books do not stand up near as well and break down much easier. The librarians have to inspect the books much closer than a public library would. They look for notes stashed or written in books, contraband, and damage. These librarians go through security checkpoints and numerous locked doors just to get to their workplace. Wyoming has five correctional facilities, and the State Penitentiary houses the male offenders who are considered to be the greatest security risk.

In the same way any other library serves its patrons, the prison aims to meet the needs of theirs. They work to build the collection to relate to the interests of their population. There is a good demand for Louis L’Amour and C.J. Box. They’ve also seen a new demand for fantasy books. The prison library is working to meet the demand for art and how-to books as well. They can always use donations of paperback books, though content must not include gangs, extreme violence, and sexual activities.  Hayley Speiser instituted a program where inmates can pick out a children’s book and be recorded reading it. They then mail the recording home so their children can have a story read to them by their father. This program is extremely important as it not only promotes literacy but also provides sometimes the only interaction that child might experience with their father while incarcerated. In spite of the many challenges the librarians at the Wyoming State Penitentiary face on a daily and hourly basis, they remain dedicated to providing literary, educational, legal, and recreational library services to the population there. For sure, this work environment isn’t for everyone. Our hats go off to these librarians.

WSL Closure for Veterans Day

Cheyenne State Leader, November 11, 1919, from Wyoming Newspapers.

The Wyoming State Library will be closed Friday, November 10, in honor of Veterans Day.

Veterans Day, November 11, was first established in 1919 as Armistice Day, to honor the veterans of World War I on the anniversary of that conflict’s end. Read more about the history of Veterans Day from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Halloween Patents for the Holiday

From Karen Kitchens
WSL State Publications Librarian

It’s that time of year again — ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump in the night! Halloween is a time for costumes, spooky stories, and Trick-or-Treaters. Intellectual Property is not the first phrase that comes to mind when thinking of Halloween celebrations. However, there are patents for every occasion. Here are a few Halloween-themed patents. Enjoy!

First, may we present the just-for-fun patents:


(U.S. Patent No. 6,059,423). Patented in 2000 by Darlene J. Knopick. This handy device provides increased safety for busy Trick-or-Treaters.

PET COSTUME (U.S. Patent No. D699,403). Patented in 2014 by Target Brands, Inc. this patent allows your dog to proudly Trick-or-Treat with all the neighborhood kids.

Next, some Halloween patents to make you shudder:

JACK-A-LANTERN (U.S. Patent No. 396,252). This patent was granted in 1889 to G.A. Beidler.

FORMING CONFIGURATIONS ON NATURAL GROWTHS (U.S. Patent No. 2,096,507). Patented in 1937 by John Czeski, an Ohio farmer. This device grows pumpkins with human faces!

Last, but not least, may we present the most horrifying Halloween patent of all, the RESPONSIVE TOILET (U.S. Patent Application No. 20120060270). This patent application was submitted in 2012 by Kevin and Timothy Ihlefeld. This talking toilet has a flush responsive audio player plays preselected audio content keyed in response to a toilet flush!

Have questions about patents? The State Library houses Wyoming’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center. We have trained librarians ready to help you. Contact us at (307) 777-6333 or



USPTO Representatives Visit the State Library

(L to R) Karen Kitchens, WSL State Publications Librarian; Molly Kocialski, USPTO Rocky Mountain Region Office Director; and Rebecca Fritchman, USPTO Outreach Adviser.

The Wyoming State Library welcomed visitors Friday from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver.

Molly Kocialski, Director of the USPTO Rocky Mountain Region Office in Denver, and Rebecca Fritchman, Outreach Adviser, stopped by to see the WSL’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) as well as the rest of the library. Both were on their way up to Torrington for Sen. Mike Enzi’s Inventors Conference, held October 21.

State Publications Librarian Karen Kitchens, who manages the PTRC, gave them a tour. Both Molly and Rebecca said that Wyoming’s collection was one of the best they had ever seen. The PTRC is a valuable resource for businesses, researchers, students, teachers, historians, and inventors. The WSL’s collection includes:

  • Patents issued from 1790 to present;
  • Patent applications published since March 15, 2001;
  • Pending and registered trademarks from 1871;
  • PubWEST (Web-based Examiner’s Search Tool), a USPTO database for use by patent examiners;
  • USPTO documents; and
  • Commercial publications to assist with the patent and trademarking process.

In addition, the State Library maintains the Wyoming Inventors Database, part of its Digital Collection Suite. This resource catalogs U.S. patents from Wyoming inventors. Each record is linked to the USPTO website.

The WSL has reference librarians available to assist patrons with patent and trademark questions. Our librarians can help with using the resources, but they can’t offer legal opinions or interpretations of law, nor can they conduct patent searches.

Questions about patents and trademarks or about using the PTRC? Contact Karen at or (307) 777-7281.

Wyoming Inventions: Robot Baseball Umpire

The World Series Starts today! There’s a lot of talk in major league baseball these days about using a robot umpire to call balls and strikes more accurately. Did you know that a Cheyenne couple invented a patented robot umpire device way back in 1950?

Lloyd and Nellie Holiday filed for a patent of their “Detecting Device for fast moving objects” on March 31, 1950. It was approved by the U.S. Patent office on July 28, 1953. The device would use two lens to measure the strike zone. A light would indicate a strike, no light meant a ball outside the strike zone. You can see a drawing of the Holiday’s invention (along with many other Wyoming patents) by searching the State Library’s Wyoming Inventors database for the links to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

As a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) designated Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), the Wyoming State Library can assist with general questions and provide assistance and instruction in the use of patent and trademark resources. Contact Karen Kitchens for additional information or questions at or (307) 777-7281.

October 2017 Outrider Now Available

Find a wrap-up of the latest in Wyoming library news in the October 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.

Encourage Your Teens and Tweens to Enter Letters About Literature

Level 1
Grades 4-6

Level 2
Grades 7-8

Level 3
Grades 9-12

Wyoming students in grades 4-12 are invited to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) of a book that changed their lives. The 2017-18 Letters About Literature reading and writing contest is open and accepting entries.

Postmark deadline is January 12, 2018.

Letters About Literature is a Library of Congress national reading/writing promotion program. Entries will be judged at the state and national level in three age categories: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12. Students could win Amazon gift cards up to $150 in Wyoming competition and cash prizes in national judging.

Both individual and classroom entries are welcome. Resources are available for teachers and librarians:

  • An upcoming Letters About Literature webinar on October 25 at 2 p.m. MDT will explore 25 years of best practices. Certificates for CEUs will be available upon completion of the live program.
  • The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide provides activities and addresses how the program can dovetail with curriculum for teaching reading, and writing.
  • Winning letters from past years provide students with examples.
  • Last, but not least, the Wyoming State Library has created ready-to-print promotional posters for you to use to spread the word. We’d love it if you’d encourage the teens and tweens you work with to enter!

Guidelines, the teaching guide, and winning letters from previous years may be found on the Letters About Literature website. Questions may be directed to Susan Mark, Wyoming State Library publications specialist, at or (307) 777-5915.