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.

 

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