The Wyoming of Education (WDE) is holding meetings across the state to gather public input as the Statewide Digital Learning Plan (SDLP) is being prepared for presentation to school districts and legislators. The SDLP is a five year comprehensive technology plan to improve student access to digital learning opportunities.
Librarians are active in statewide educational technology issues. Two school librarians and two members of the Wyoming State Library staff serve on the Statewide Education Technology Plan Advisory Panel. The SDLP meetings offer an opportunity for librarians to weigh in on digital learning.
“Through the work of the Distance Education Task Force we saw the need for a comprehensive plan on education technology and the need to do more to determine the needs of students,” said Brent Bacon, WDE Chief Academic Officer. “The listening sessions will be to meet with folks to make sure we continue to create more opportunities for all Wyoming students.”
One goal of the sessions is to understand how technology is currently being used in the classroom.
“Students, parents, educators, boards of trustees, libraries, the community college system, the University of Wyoming, and individuals from both the public and private sector will all benefit from network connectivity in and between schools, communities, and between the state and the world,” said Ballard.
The tour kicked off in Evanston on January 25, and finishes in Cheyenne on February 10. All listening sessions are scheduled from 4-6 p.m. in school district buildings. Remaining dates and locations on the tour:
January 27 – Rawlins, High School, Cafeteria
January 28 – Riverton, Central Office, Round Room
Feburary 1 – Casper, Central Services, Jefferson Room
February 2 – Cody, Middle School, Commons
February 3 – Sheridan, Central Office, Board Room
February 4 – Gillette, Staff Development Center, Willow Room
February 9 – Laramie, Special Services Building, District Training Room
February 10 – Cheyenne, Storey Gym, District Boardroom
Albany County Public Library Patrons gathered on Saturday for the High Plains Seed Library’s work day. “We had such a great turn out,” Cassandra Hunter, ACPL public services specialist. “The community is integral to the success of our seed library. It’s so refreshing to see how enthusiastic the community has been about High Plains Seed Library.”
The mission of the seed library is to provide the community with seed resources, promote sustainability, and cultivate a culture of sharing. How it works is that patrons can check out a packet of seeds in the spring. They commit to saving some of their seeds and giving them back to the seed library for next year’s gardening season. Seeds harvested here are typically better suited for Wyoming’s climate.
Hunter got the idea for the seed library when she saw the Five Valley Seed Library, whic is housed by the Missoula Public Library. She reached out to the seed library’s coordinator for basic information and online resources. “I knew that many people in Wyoming already save seeds, and I thought it would be a great asset to others if we could harness that knowledge and propagate seeds that would flourish in our climate,” Hunter said. “I’ve have struggled gardening here and I wanted to offer a library of seeds that were well suited to Wyoming.”
High Plains Seed Library is a partnership between the Albany County Library and the Laramie Garden Club. The library selects seed saving books and resources. The library’s IT department has designed a database that will house all patron information and seed data, and Hunter plans and implements all seed-related programming, most of which is held at the library. The Laramie Garden Club contributes by providing workshop speakers and contributing financially to the development of the library. The seed library is housed within the library, and staff will assist with checking-in and checking-out seeds.
“The High Plains Seed Library and the Albany County Public Library missions are very much parallel to one another,” Hunter said. “By enabling people with information and cultivating a sense of sharing, the spirit of the seed library and the public library are one and the same.”
Seeds need to be open-pollinated or heirloom varieties for the seed to be saved — essential for creating a viable seed library that can become self-sustaining. Because Albany County Library has a limited budget, they were unable to purchase seeds from seed companies to stock the library. The library created a successful letter writing campaign asking seed companies to donate unsold seed: they have 387 varieties and we are fast approaching 10,000 individual packets. All seed needs to be repackaged and the brand name cannot be advertised, nor listed on the repackaged item, per the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.
What is Hunter’s advice to other libraries that would like to start a seed library? “My advice would be to network! It was essential in my case to reach out to the community and find folks that had seed saving knowledge and backgrounds in plant science.”
“It has taken roughly a year of planning to create a high caliber seed library for Albany County residents,” she added. Late spring, early summer is a great time to start planning to maximize seed donations. Another component she suggests is to develop a basic seed saving presentation that can be offered during planting and harvest seasons to encourage seed saving. The library has spent the fall and winter focusing on repackaging and labeling all of the seeds and developing programming that has a seed saving component.
Thinking Money is a traveling exhibition that will travel to 50 U.S. public libraries between 2016 and 2018. The exhibition strives to teach tweens, teens and their parents, caregivers and educators about financial literacy topics in a way that is not only understandable, but fun.Through an adventure-themed storyline, interactive iPad content and other fun, hands-on activities, Thinking Money explores these financial themes:
Wants vs. needs
Earning and paying interest
Preparing for rainy/sunny day
Imagining your future self
Avoiding financial fraud
Application deadline is January 29, 2016.
In addition to the traveling exhibition for a six-week loan, selected libraries will receive a $1,000 programming allowance; travel and accommodations to attend an orientation workshop at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando; and more.
Our Screencast Design for Librarians video is now available in our archive. Screencasts are digital recordings of a computer screen that can be narrated. They are valuable tools for demonstrating how to do various tasks, particularly tech-based tasks. While creating a screencast may seem daunting at first, this webinar will show you just how easy it can be, as well as free!
Welcome to the Wyoming State Library’s Training Calendar. These are free, online events. You can subscribe to it and view the events in your calendar software or find all the events here at: WyomingLibraries.org/calendar.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting applications for Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries. The application deadline is February 1, 2016.
Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries are small grants that encourage libraries and archives to prototype and evaluate innovations that result in new tools, products, services, or organizational practices. They enable grantees to undertake activities that involve risk and require them to share project results-whether they succeed or fail-to provide valuable information to the library field and help improve the ways that libraries serve their communities.
The Califa Library Group is accepting applications for mini-grants to librarians in rural public libraries who are interested in providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programming for adults. Grantees will receive program materials, a planning guide, marketing and promotional templates, up to $3,500, and an avenue for new patrons to find your library.
Library staff in any library serving a rural community are eligible to apply. The grant award includes $3,500 and access to public program materials, professional development, ongoing programming support, and an online peer-to-peer community.
Rural Gateways is a national research-based project designed to expand understanding about the ways professional development might increase the competencies of rural librarians to facilitate STEM programs for adults. The project is a unique and important opportunity to contribute to advancing the library profession’s capacity to engage communities in STEM literacy topics and discussions. This goal will be met by having librarians participate in a professional development series, implement STEM programs for adults in their communities using a format that has been well received, and contribute to periodic project surveys.
Registration for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2016 is now open. This free, one-day, online conference on February 26 is aimed at librarians from small libraries. Each speaker is from a small library or works directly with small libraries. Topics range from technology to programming to partnering with your community. Session schedules are yet to be determined. All are welcome to register and attend, regardless of library size, although smaller libraries may find it particularly helpful.
Big Talk From Small Libraries will be broadcast online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service, the same one the Wyoming State Library uses for its live webinars. Login instructions will be e-mailed to registered attendees the day before the conference. Sessions will be recorded and made available on the site as soon as possible after the event. Registration is not necessary to access the recordings.
It took Kathy Marquis only one encounter with a reference archivist in college to know she wanted to do that in her career. Now, she brings her years of experience and knowledge to her new job as Deputy State Archivist for the Wyoming State Archives.
“I’m excited to be here, to be learning about all the State Archives has to offer, and to be part of enhancing access to our collections and services,” she said. “So far, I’m spending time getting to know staff, doing all the online trainings that come with new jobs and reading up on all the accomplishments and challenges of my new workplace.”
In her undergraduate days at the University of Michigan, Marquis was in a group her women’s history professor brought to the Bentley Historical Library, the manuscript repository on campus. “The reference archivist gave us an introduction, and that was all it took to convince me that I wanted her job when I grew up.” She went on to Simmons College library school in Boston which had an archives program, but was already employed at what seemed like her dream job: manuscripts processor at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, at Radcliffe College. She organized and described the papers, and did original cataloging for records that went into the Harvard Libraries catalog.
“I got to do some reference occasionally, but mainly it was my opportunity to start digging into some of the most fascinating collections in the country.”
After she finished her MLS, Marquis became the reference archivist at the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections. “Such a different set of modern records, but a great learning experience. I served on the institute-wide reference committee, and I was there when the libraries implemented their first online catalog.”
From Cambridge, Marquis went to the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul. “Despite the quaint sounding name, MHS employs more than 300 staff. It runs the state library, archives, and manuscript repository, has a press, runs all the state historic sites, and has an education program that at the time served nearly 25,000 school kids a year. It was a busy place. I used to tell people that my reference interview sometimes consisted of yelling, ‘Next!’ I learned a ton about assisting patrons with genealogical searches and about working with government records.”
In 1999 she returned to the Bentley Historical Library, this time to finally “be” her early mentor, the head of the reference department. “I loved working with the grad students in Michigan’s School of Information, and with my colleagues there – some of whom had been there when I was a student, too.”
In 2002, her husband Mark Greene was offered the job of director of the American Heritage Center, so they made the move to Laramie. She began working at the Albany County Public Library, where she remained for 13 years. “I really enjoyed being able to assist the public in such important ways, from guiding them in how to use a mouse to organizing book discussion groups to selecting popular reading materials for the first time. Wyoming is so fortunate to have a strong State Library and consortial bargaining power for the amazing online resources available to every library patron. One of my greatest frustrations was realizing how many people have no idea that they have these sources at their fingertips!”
Although she was open to remaining in public librarianship when she left ACPL, she said archives was still her first love, so she was delighted when the Deputy State Archivist position opened. As she settles in, she said her challenges will include assisting State Archivist, Mike Strom, in looking at ways to make the records management system easier for agencies to implement, arranging for the long-term preservation of Wyoming newspapers, evaluating how best to preserve and make available the Archives’ scanned images and documents, and upgrading how the agency communicates online.
“I am lucky to have spent years in the public library system so that I have an idea of how our patrons find information and how we can be sure that the State Archives becomes part of that discovery process,” she said. “If anyone reading this has questions about what we have or how to offer it to your patrons, I’d love to hear from you.”