All posts by Jessica Dawkins

Innovations for School Libraries

Found in the Big Deal Media K-12 Technology newsletter.

Game Integrating Computational Thinking and Environmental Problem Solving
The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) pioneered Design–Make–Play, a novel approach to learning and engagement, drawing on deeper learning research and supporting the creation of learning experiences that develop critical thinking, knowledge integration, innovation, and creativity skills.

Assessments for Evaluating Historical Thinking
The Olympics Protest is a new assessment from the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) that gauges whether students can identify the historical event depicted in an iconic photograph and evaluate its historical significance. Successful students will draw on their knowledge of the past to identify American track athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists to protest racial injustice while on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics and then explain how the event was historically significant.

Documentary Illustrating Storytelling and Meaning Making with Children
Eric Carle, Picture Writer: The Art of the Picture Book is a 32-minute portrait of Eric Carle, creator of more than 70 books for children, including the bestselling classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In this documentary, Carle methodically layers a tissue paper collage of the caterpillar, pours over thumbnail sketches, and ruminates on drafts of his books.

Reading Under the Stars With Gale

Gale has created new marketing materials for Gale’s Books & Authors (available in that you and your libraries can use to promote Summer Reading. With Books & Authors, readers can explore Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction, Young Adult, Pre-Teen, and Kids titles that will take them to the moon and back.

Find them here.

Questions? Contact Chris Van Burgh, Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian, at or (307) 777-3642.

Free Virtual Conference from Library 2.019

(Image from the conference registration website)

Library 2.019: Open Data Virtual Conference
Wednesday, June 5
1 – 4 p.m. MST

This web conference will explore how librarians are using open data, teaching others about it, and even creating it. You’ll learn about tools you can implement in your own library and hear stories from libraries that have partnered with their local and state governments. Armed with practical tools and experiences, you’ll be ready to start diving into open data to help your library and community! Click here for more information and to register.

Free Library Continuing Education Events for June

site logoThe June 2019 Wyoming State Library training calendar is now available with 75 webinars, one mini-conference, and four recordings to watch “At Your Leisure.” Every training opportunity on this list is free and offered online. Topics include advocacy, planning, careers, children and teens, collection development, communication, databases, managing change, fundraising, legal, management, outreach and partnerships, programming, readers’ advisory, reference, school libraries, technology, training and instruction, and volunteers.

View, download, or subscribe to the calendar at

GoWYLD Database: CultureGrams for National Poetry Month

Can you find National Poetry Month resources on CultureGrams? You bet!

CultureGrams offers the history of poetry around the world, as well as the various forms poetry can be found in. Searching “poetry” in the World Edition or the Kids Edition (and one entry in the Provinces Edition; the Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Yukon) will provide you with fun and interesting facts in these various cultures—the perfect resource to explore as National Poetry Month winds down over the next week.

Here are a few fun poetry facts we found using CultureGrams:

  • Bangladeshis are generally proud of their artistic tradition, which is much older than their young country. Poetry, music, and literature are highly valued. Ethnic Bengali poetry, known for its passion and emotion, reflects the character of the Bangladeshi people.
  • In the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, orators known as ighyuwa, or griots, sing praise poetry and recite oral histories and other forms of poetry.
  • In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, poetry  is a cherished art. Anciently, poets used their art to shame enemies, record great feats and genealogies, and praise their patrons. Today, poems and stories are both published and preserved orally.

To start exploring CultureGrams, go to, or click here for resources to promote this database in your library.

Wyoming in Poetry: May Preston Slosson

Wyoming is no stranger to literary and artistic celebration. The artists who praise our state are incredibly fascinating, from the fame of Ernest Hemingway to the seldom-heard-of voices of the past. In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re taking a closer look at May Preston Slosson.
May Preston Slosson (1858 – 1943) was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States, likely the first “lady prison chaplain” in the world, and a poet with roots in Wyoming history. Born in New York and raised in Kansas, Slosson lived all over the country before moving with her husband to the city of Laramie towards the end of the 19th Century. There, she organized educational Sunday afternoon lectures for inmates at the Wyoming Territorial Prison, and promoted the institution of prison reform. Slosson became prison chaplain in 1899 at the fervent request of the inmates. This one-of-a-kind feat was featured in Wide World Magazine shortly upon her promotion:
“The Rev. Mrs. May Preston Slosson, of Laramie Penitentiary, Wyoming, is the only lady prison chaplain in the world, and possesses an extraordinary influence over her convict flock. She has already averted one dangerous mutiny, and has done much to ameliorate the lot of the prisoners.”
She served as chaplain and prisoner advocate until Slosson and her family moved to New York in 1903. Mrs. Slosson considered herself spoiled by the rich rights available to women in Wyoming, and she and her husband became leading advocates in the fight for nationwide women’s suffrage.
In 1920, Slosson published a book of poems titled A Quiet Garden, in which much of the content was inspired by or was directly about Wyoming.
See the accompanying images to read more about May Preston Slosson and to read a glimpse of her work. We found these tidbits in Wyoming Newspapers.


Library History: Wyoming Library Association

Before National Library Week comes to a close, we have one more story to share about Wyoming’s library history: the formation of the Wyoming Library Association (WLA).

An October 8, 1914 article published in Laramie’s Weekly Boomerang attributes creation of the association to Basin librarian Agnes K. Snow, who was chairman of the federation’s Literacy and Library Extension Committee. The formation of the association “will tend to increase the usefulness of the county and other libraries in the state and to secure needed legislation, as well as helping librarians in their work.”

Snow proposed the idea of the association before the annual meeting of the Wyoming State Federation of Women’s Clubs in Douglas in August 1913. The federation created a special committee to consider the formation of the group and appointed Snow its chairman, assisted by Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, the first librarian at the University of Wyoming.

The library association held its first meeting on October 7, 1914, signing the constitution and electing officers. The association selected Dr. Hebard as president, Snow as vice president, and W.S. Ingham, librarian at the Laramie Carnegie Public Library, as secretary-treasurer.

There follows a long on-again-off-again account of the association when wartime rationing made transportation and organization funding rather difficult. When membership finally settled out in the middle of the 20th Century, the WLA set to work establishing statewide practices. The association reported legislative success in clarifying bonds for county libraries, changing county library laws to delete outdated practices, and enabling county library boards to organize cooperative library systems crossing county lines in 1961, and helped formulate standards for Wyoming public libraries throughout the 1960s.

Today, the WLA is a staple in the Wyoming library community. The association provides support for libraries and library staff, and according to the WLA mission, they provide leadership, advocate for advancement of Wyoming libraries, educate the library community and users about contemporary library services, issues, and technology, provide members with a network for interaction on professional and social levels, and promote the profession of librarianship and participation of Wyoming libraries in regional, national, and global library arenas. The WLA also organizes and hosts the annual Wyoming Library Association Conference benefiting library staff and library communities around the state by encouraging minds to connect and share.

Find this and more library history of Wyoming with the Wyoming Newspapers Project.



Wyoming in Poetry: Agnes M. Wergeland

April is National Poetry Month and the Wyoming State Library wants to help you celebrate in good ol’ Wyoming fashion! Our state is no stranger to literary and artistic celebration. Today we’re taking a closer look at Agnes M. Wergeland.

Agnes M. Wergeland (1857 – 1914) was a prolific Norwegian-American poet and the first woman to receive a PhD in Norway. In the 1890s, Dr. Wergeland moved to Laramie to teach history and Spanish at the University of Wyoming, where she taught until her death. She met Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, Wyoming historian and the first librarian of the University of Wyoming library, and the two built a house in town affectionately known as “Doctor’s Inn.” The Wyoming Student reported “a large attendance of friends and the whole student body and the members of the Faculty” at her funeral, since she had been a prominent pillar of the University and the community of Laramie.

Wergeland wrote poetry strictly in Norwegian. She argued she would be unable to bring the beauty of her work to English, and thus never translated her poetry. Amerika, og Andre Digte, Wergeland’s first collection of poetry, was published during her lifetime. Hebard published a second volume, Efterladte Digte, in 1914.

You can find issues of the Wyoming Student from 1912 to 1920 in Wyoming Newspapers.

Library History: Albany County, Wyoming

In honor of National Library Week, here’s a story from Wyoming’s own library history!

In 1903 the Laramie Boomerang reported on the events of a mass meeting of Laramie citizens who gathered the evening prior. The topic of the hour? Whether or not to accept Andrew Carnegie’s generous offer to build a county library.

The following excerpt shows just how favored the donation was by the citizens of Laramie:

“Whereas, Mr. Andrew Carnegie has offered to donate to Albany county the sum of $20,000, for the purpose of building a public library building in Laramie, on condition that the citizens of said county donated a suitable site for such building and contribute each year for the maintenance and support of said library, the sum of $2,000…The Rev. Mr. Hogbin said that he thought there was really no dispute upon the subject. He had talked to a great many people and they all spoke favorable to the acceptance of the offer…Mr. Crumine said that the $2,000 a year asked for would mean an increased tax of about 50 cents upon each $1,000.
The committee thought that the cost of maintening [sic] the library would be about as follows. For librarian and janitor $1,000 a year; lights and fuel, $300 a year; insurance $125 a year; repairs $75 a year, costs of books and papers $500 a year…Pres. Smiley said that the time had come when Laramie should take cognizance of its duty to the University as a University town. The University was looking forward to the library and reading room and possibly a room where games could be played, as a place which would counteract the bad influences on some other places upon the students.”

There was a nearly unanimous decision to accept the $20,000 donation, a sum equivalent to over half a million dollars today, and the Albany County Carnegie Library was given to the people in January of 1906. The current Albany County Public Library opened in 1981.

This Wyoming history has been brought to you by the Wyoming State Library’s Wyoming Newspapers Project.

Free Continuing Education Events for the Week of March 25

Free, online, continuing education events for the week of March 25 from the Wyoming State Library Training Calendar. Descriptions are below. You can subscribe and view the events in your calendar software, or you can find all the events at

All times MST

Monday, Mar 25 (10-11:30 am)
The Art of Communication (Utah State Library)
In this 90-minute webinar, we’ll take a close look at how you communicate – and why it matters. We’ll also discuss our listening skills – or lack thereof! We’ll find out whether you are auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, and how to identify those communication styles in others. We’ll talk about just what that means in your everyday interactions. Want to know how to best get your message across to a specific person? This session will help you figure that out! And if you’ve ever been guilty of “not listening” (who, me??), we’ll also look closely at how you can become a more effective listener – and improve your life! We’ll come up with a list of at least 20 tips you can use to make sure you are really listening to those around you.

Tuesday, Mar 26 (12-1 pm)
Volunteerism in the Digital Age (TechSoup)
We live in the 21st century, and volunteerism is shifting and changing to meet the times. More and more volunteers are looking for ways to use technology to support the missions they hold dear. With the rise of digital volunteers, nonprofits need to have systems and practices that encourage, validate, and support this new trend. We will review ideas and strategies that other nonprofits have used to capitalize on the digital volunteer. We will have plenty of time for live Q&A, so prepare your largest concerns for discussion.

Tuesday, Mar 26 (12-1 pm)
The Compassionate Librarian (Colorado State Library)
Big issues like homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and poverty are at the height of our current conversations, and can sometimes feel overwhelming. You might even start to feel burnt out or afraid to face your customers. This session is going to address ways that you can build your own personal capacity to deal with challenging situations at work, give you the tools to understand how trauma and mental illness might be impacting your patrons, and actionable ways you can avoid compassion fatigue.

Tuesday, Mar 26 (12-1 pm)
What We Say and How We Say It Matter: Teacher Talk that Improves Student Learning and Behavior (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development [ACSD])
As educators, we all end up talking with students in ways that don’t actually align with our best intentions and positive goals for them. In this webinar with Mike Anderson, author of What We Say and How We Say It Matter: Teacher Talk That Improves Student Learning and Behavior, you’ll learn about several common language habits and patterns that many educators find themselves in and have a chance to explore better alternatives. You’ll also learn about a process for changing language habits so that your language better aligns with your best intentions and positive goals for students.

Tuesday, Mar 26 (12-1:30 pm)
Skills for Overcoming Burnout – Refueling the Fire (GrantSpace)
This live, online training will enable you to cultivate resilience-based practices in your own lives and in your organizations, to create a culture of sustainable activism. In the session, you will be guided through an assessment of your individual, team, and organizational resilience. You will learn how to develop effective methods of self and collective care, understand how stress and trauma impact individuals and teams, and learn strategies to cultivate stronger team communication to address conflicts and resolve tensions.

Tuesday, Mar 26 (1-2 pm)
Strategic Planning in a Deeply Weird World: The Flexible Roadmap Field Guide Approach (WebJunction)
It’s a big task to define the library’s future over the next three or five years, and strategic planning is becoming less and less effective in a rapidly changing world. The Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL) has created a new approach that is flexible, staff-driven, and human-centered. SCLPL’s Strategic Roadmap is not a 100-page plan in a binder-on-a-shelf; it’s an experiential learning tool that invites all staff to participate in the co-creation of meaningful outcomes and experiences for the community. The Roadmap focuses less on planning and more on building capacity of staff to adopt a human-centered service design mindset and skillset. SLCPL staff are adopting a new perspective, continually experimenting with and adapting spaces, collections, services, programs, and their own roles, to responsively address community needs and aspirations in an ever-changing landscape. Join us for this webinar to learn how to cultivate new skills to help bring the Roadmap to life for your library’s strategic planning.

Wednesday, Mar 27 (12-1 pm)
Literacy as a Tool for Student Engagement (Education Week)
Join this webinar with the Executive Director of Research at ThinkCERCA Chris Balow, who will explain how district leaders can use a literacy initiative to cultivate student engagement. By emphasizing reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills across the curriculum, educators can provide students abundant opportunities to collaborate with peers, develop deeper connections to learning, and see the real-world applications of their classroom instruction.

Wednesday, Mar 27 (1-2 pm)
Using Reddit and NextDoor to Engage with Your Library’s Local Community (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
Reddit, also known as “the front page of the internet,” is an incredibly popular web forum–with thousands of sub-forums (“subreddits”) for any topic you can think of–and many of your local community members of all ages are on there reading news, browsing, and engaging with content. While anyone can post anonymously on Reddit, another community-oriented website, NextDoor, allows verified neighbors in defined geographic regions to discuss real-time happenings specific to their neighborhoods. Libraries have a unique opportunity to connect with their users on these platforms, and two library tech enthusiasts will explain why you should, and how to get started!

Thursday, Mar 28 (11-12 pm)
3 Ways to STAND OUT and Win the Grant! (Bloomerang)
Margit Brazda Poirier will show you how your nonprofit can stand out from the competition so they are eager to fund you!