All posts by Susan

Libraries Transforming Communities Grants Available from ALA



Libraries Transforming Communities banner graphic

The American Library Association (ALA) invites library workers to apply for the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries. Up to 100 libraries will be awarded in this round of grantmaking, part of the ALA’s longtime community engagement initiative.

Library workers may apply online for grant funding by September 16 at ala.org/LTC.

The opportunity is open to libraries serving small and/or rural communities in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines small communities as those with a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and rural communities as those more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area.

Over 500 public, academic, school and tribal libraries representing 48 U.S. states have been awarded in the past year. None have been awarded in Wyoming yet, and the ALA would like to make one or more grants in this state in this third and possibly final round.

Since 2014, the ALA’s community engagement initiative, Libraries Transforming Communities, has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

June 2021 Outrider Now Available



Front page of OutriderFind a wrap-up of the latest in Wyoming library news in the June 2021 Outrider newsletter from the Wyoming State Library. Subscribe today, and we’ll send the Outrider straight to your email inbox each month. You can also see past issues.

Do you know any library colleagues, trustees, advocates, or volunteers who might be interested in the Outrider? Please share the news with them and encourage them to sign up for our monthly email.

Have news you’d like included? Contact Susan Mark, WSL Outreach Librarian, at susan.mark@wyo.gov or (307) 777-5915. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Kate Dennis Interning at the WSL



Kate Dennis sitting at a computer. She has long dark hair and eyeglasses.
Kate Dennis

We have an intern at the Wyoming State Library! Kate Dennis has joined us for the summer to work on digitization and metadata projects.

Kate is from Laramie, and is currently attending the University of Iowa. She’s majoring in history and minoring in Russian and Eastern European studies, with future career ambitions to earn an MLS and work in libraries.

Kate came to the WSL wanting to learn the ins and outs of special libraries and the different departments within them. “I think it’d be cool to work in a state library or a presidential library,” she said. Kate wanted to know more about digitization, metadata, the WYLD Network, and the State Library’s digital collections. All of this ties into a way to build on both her undergraduate work and the graduate education she hopes to pursue.

“I’d like to tie history to my job,” Kate said. “I always feel like I’m finding buried treasure in all the historical resources when I’m digitizing and exploring the collections.”

Free Continuing Education Events for the Week of June 21



Free, online, continuing education events for the week of  June 21 from the Wyoming State Library Training Calendar. Descriptions and links are below. You can subscribe and view the events in your calendar software, or you can find all the events at library.wyo.gov/services/training/calendar.

Image of calendar listings

All times MDT

Monday, June 21 (12:30-1:30 pm)
Virtual Facilitation that Rocks! Strategies to encourage engagement during your next online meeting (Idaho Commission for Libraries)
We may have all become experts at attending virtual events this past year, but what about hosting them? Join us to learn engaging virtual facilitation skills to help level up your next virtual event.

Monday, June 21 (2-3 pm)
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Open House 2021 (ALSC)
Attendees will have an opportunity to hop around into different breakout rooms and learn more about the different priority areas of ALSC and how to get involved, both through appointed committee work and standalone volunteer opportunities.

Tuesday, June 22⋅(10-11 am)
New Federal Funding for Libraries: What It Means For You (Library Journal)
Learn about the brand new funding for public libraries that the Federal government has made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund. In this webcast, we will cover how many millions are included; how libraries can get it directly from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through their state library, or from the FCC; what expenses are eligible to spend it on; and more. Led by Stephanie Gerding, winner of Grants for Libraries, Winning Grants, Second Edition, the Library Grants blog, and more.

Tuesday, June 22 (12-12:45 pm)
Women in Space: The Future of DEI and STEM (GovLoop)
In this panel discussion, you’ll hear from women who have built careers studying everything from deep space to ocean exploration and beyond. You will also hear how they have served as leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations and what tools, resources and training they needed to get to this phase of their careers.

Tuesday, June 22 (12-1 pm)
Color and Play: Learn and Have Fun With Government Coloring Books and Games For All Ages (Federal Depository Library Program)
This webinar is designed for pure summer fun with some on-the-side learning. The U.S. Government publishes a number of coloring books and games across a variety of agencies including NASA, CDC, and NOAA. Topics cover space, health, safety, disaster planning, gardening, and nutrition. Games and coloring books from state and local sources will also be highlighted. For your users who speak other languages, there are coloring books and games also. Join us for this webinar just to have some summer fun and take a break from pandemic worry.

Tuesday, June 22 (12-1 pm)
Accessibility: Practical Things that People in L&D Need to Know (InSyncTraining)
In an increasingly virtual world, how can virtual learning designers ensure their programs and content are truly accessible for everyone? Discover the practical steps to creating learning experiences for all while adopting an inclusive mindset and approach to learning design – especially areas we might be neglecting as we move more and more content online in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Tuesday, June 22 (12-1 pm)
Foundations: Analyzing Primary Sources from the Library of Congress (Library of Congress)
Join Library of Congress education specialists as we model foundational strategies for analyzing primary sources in the K-12 setting. Participants will practice making observations, reflecting to draw inferences, and developing questions. They will also learn about free teacher resources available from the Library’s Teacher’s Page. These resources and strategies are designed to facilitate student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge. Come learn how they can be applied in your educational setting!

Tuesday, June 22 (12-1 pm)
Curious about Curiosity Camp? IF/THEN Collection Resources to Support Girls in STEM (National Girls Collaborative Project)
GoldieBlox is educating and empowering girls by creating engaging content, fun toys and interesting resources. In this webinar you’ll learn more about the IF/THEN Collection and Curiosity Camp resources, produced by GoldieBlox, and how to use them to support gender equity in STEM programs. Hear from the founder of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling, and the stars of Curiosity Camp, about why having role models and resources for girls in STEM is important.

Wednesday, June 23 (9-10 am)
Bedbugs in the Library?! (Nebraska Library Commission)
Dr. Jody Green from the Lancaster County Extension Office will discuss bed bug biology and behavior. Lincoln City Library Staff, Jen Jackson and LeeAnn Sergeant, will discuss how LCL approaches the possibility of bed bugs in the library.

Wednesday, June 23 (11-11:45 am)
Beyond Virtual Facilitation: How to Maximize Engagement and Tackle Wicked Problems in Your Virtual Meetings (CharityHowTo)
Join us for a hands-on training where you will learn the virtual facilitation tools, tips, and tricks needed to build trust, spark ideas, and foster collaboration in your virtual meetings.

Wednesday, June 23 (11-12:30 pm)
Identifying and Managing Hazardous Materials In Museum Collections (Connecting to Collections Care)
This webinar will take a close look at hazardous materials present in museum collections and how to properly manage their safe storage and handling. It will cover not only the identification of hazards, but also the straightforward steps that can be taken to improve safety and reduce the likelihood of exposure to dangerous substances.

Wednesday, June 23 (2-3 pm)
Teaching Poetry: Poetry 180 with Billy Collins (Library of Congress)
Join us for a conversation with former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins about his signature laureate project, Poetry 180—which brings poetry to schools for each of the 180 days of the school year.

Thursday, June 24 (11-12 pm)
Leading From Home: How to Manage a Virtual Team (Charity Village)
Working from home has become the “new normal” for many organizations, and it has been a challenging adjustment for all departments. Sargent Solutions Inc has been successfully working remotely since 2016, long before the COVID-19 pandemic made its impact. This webinar will be packed with tips and tricks for those making the pivot to remote work, with a special focus on leadership skills and effectively managing a virtual team.

Thursday, June 24 (11-12 pm)
Social Media Scheduling and Planning Tools (TechImpact)
In this free 60 minute webinar, we’ll provide an overview and demonstration of tools such as Hootsuite, Facebook Publishing, Tweetdeck, and Airtable.

Thursday, June 24 (11-12 pm)
Favorite Free (or cheap) Fundraising Tools (Productive Fundraising)
Join fundraising master trainer, Chad Barger, CFRE, for a fun, fast-paced session where he will highlight the free (or inexpensive) tools that he uses to make fundraising easier and more efficient. Over 15 tools will be discussed and demonstrated ranging from apps to websites to gadgets to books and more. It’s your chance to take a look under the hood and see how Chad works on a daily basis.

Thursday, June 24 (12-1 pm)
Congress.gov Webinar (Law Library of Congress)
This orientation is designed to give a basic overview of Congress.gov. While the focus of the session will be searching legislation and the Congressional member information attached to the legislation, the new features of Congress.gov will be highlighted.

Friday, June 25 (8:30-9:30 am)
Storytelling Q&A Session (Firespring)
Join Firespring’s director of strategic marketing, Alec McChesney, as he casts light on your story, shares how it can work for you, and answers questions about how to use storytelling in your marketing.

Friday, June 25( 12-1 pm)
Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Overview (Federal Communications Commission)
The webinar will provide schools and libraries with an overview of the ECF, including applicant eligibility, supported equipment and services, reasonable support amounts, and the application and invoicing processes. Participants will also have an opportunity to submit questions about how the program works and the program requirements. The webinar will be recorded and available on the FCC’s website following the event.

Saturday, June 26 (9-10:30 am)
Tech for Teens: Building Websites (PACER Center)
This workshop will introduce teens with disabilities to a method of designing websites using the free online tool at Weebly.com. Students will learn how to use template designs and insert small amounts of code to customize and publish their own websites online. This is an extension of the Coding Websites workshop but past attendance is not required.

Want to Know More About Juneteenth? Explore GoWYLD!



Juneteenth graphic with date and "freedom"On June 17, President Biden signed a law creating a federal holiday recognizing Juneteenth. (Read the Senate bill in Congress.gov.)  Juneteenth, observed on June 19, is a celebration of the emancipation of people who had been enslaved in the United States.

GoWYLD.net is a go-to resource on this topic. Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, is a featured topic in High School (Gale In Context). You’ll find background information, magazine and journal articles, critical essays, as well as a link to an NPR audio reading (with transcript) of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Britannica Library has two short videos:  “Juneteenth: All of your Questions Answered,” and “Discover the History of Juneteenth.”

Find these in GoWYLD.net under Browse Databases by Title. GoWYLD resources are available in your local library or from home with your Wyoming library card number and PIN. For more information, contact your library or contact Chris Van Burgh, Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian, chris.vanburgh@wyo.gov.

Starting your EDI Process



3D letters read: Fairness, Diversity, Inclusion (highlighted), and EquityFrom the Colorado Virtual Library
by Leah Breevoort, Research Assistant at Library Research Service

Starting the journey toward building a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization can evoke a range of emotions. From being guilty you didn’t start this ages ago to feeling like you’re in over your head, it can be a scary and simultaneously exciting process. The truth is, the road toward a just and equitable future will be bumpy, with mistakes made along the way. The fear of messing up should not prevent us from taking the first step forward.

Having an understanding of EDI principles and an openness to learning will make library staff better equipped to serve patrons, no matter your library’s size or location. At the Colorado State Library (CSL), equity, diversity, and inclusion are tenets of our profession. Among the values of librarianship are equal access, diversity, and social responsibility, making us well positioned to respond to the current social climate. This, coupled with the spate of police killings of unarmed black people and the nationwide protests that followed, turned our responsibility to act into an imperative. CSL began by creating EDIT, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team, to create a formal structure around addressing EDI issues.

Although we understood many of our colleagues were already confronting these issues and thinking about them within their own work, our goal was to create a cohesive response, capture and better support the work we were already doing, and initiate work we should be doing.  We are by no means the experts—and it’s a matter of fact that we lack diversity within our own ranks—but as much as possible we did learn from the experts, solicited second opinions, and continued to educate ourselves from those out there doing the hard work, including the libraries who are much farther along in their EDI journey. With that said, here are a few takeaways that may be helpful if you and your library are deciding to embark on this journey.

Where are we now? Where do we need to go?

Working toward an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization is a never-ending process, so it’s important to understand that the work is never “done.” Before thinking about what we wanted to accomplish, we identified where we currently stood with the help of The Equity Project and Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler. Use this slide to think through where your organization currently stands on the equity continuum.

Arrow shapes going from left to right indicate stages in the equity continuum. Each of the six stages describe organizational initiatives and motivations. Stage 0 is Denial. Stage 1 is Compliance with legislation and policy--the organization is meeting its legal obligations. Stage 2 is Beyond Compliance--the organization recognizes its social responsibility and is supportive, but have to real plans in place. Stage 3 is Making the Business Case, where the organization understands the power of diversity and has diversity initiatives. Stage 4 is Integrated--the organization moves beyond diversity to focus on leveraging different strengths in inclusion initiatives. Finally, Stage 5 is Inclusive and Equitable. The organization see equity as an imperative, and its initiatives focus on people and systems.

In order to better understand where our organization currently stood in regards to EDI issues, we also created and disseminated a survey for all staff. This allowed us to collect baseline data about how staff approach EDI issues within the work they do and to identify areas for improvement. Our goal is to retake the survey every three years to measure if our theory of change is correct/successful. It is important to note that although we conducted the survey internally, responses were anonymous. We also did not collect any demographic data because we are such a small staff and that could inhibit the anonymity of responses. Here is a pdf of the survey, which was based on online resources and then adapted for our specific needs.

Who needs to be involved?

No matter what position you hold within your organization, you can’t do the work on your own. Our process started small—just an idea among co-workers—and grew as we intentionally brought our colleagues in on the process. We realized that the buy-in of leadership was an essential component to advancing equity work. We were fortunate to discover that there was a lot of support from key leadership, who we met with regularly  to help define our goals, strategies, and activities. Then we refined our objectives with a small group of our coworkers that were meeting regularly to discuss EDI-related articles and podcasts. After incorporating their feedback, we introduced our collaborative plan at an all-staff meeting. A few key things we learned from this process:

  • Identify your stakeholders early on by asking yourself: “Which staff members could be advocates? And who could be a barrier?” If someone might be a barrier, consider how you would go about making them an advocate.
  • Create opportunities for planning to be a communal process. The chances are, not everyone will want to be involved, but be sure to give them the option.
  • Intentionally seek out people outside your organization that might provide a diverse perspective or people who you directly impact through your work.

What do we want to accomplish?

One of the scariest parts of this work is actually doing the work. Especially as library workers, we feel the need to continue learning, and researching, and asking questions. We need to gather our resources and remain open to changing cultural needs in order to  tackle such a monumental problem as iniquity. At CSL, we started by creating a strategic plan document that would clearly outline EDIT’s mission, goals, strategies, and tactics. This helped us formalize a theory of change (if we do x,y, and z we will accomplish these goals) and allowed us to clearly define what we hoped to achieve and how we planned on doing so. We used ALA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implementation Plan as a model. Some key takeaways:

  • Set achievable, actionable goals. While goals should be aspirational, they should also be reasonably achievable. Our approach was to set five goals, and related strategies for achieving the goals, for example by including suggested activities. Your goals should be a springboard for launching you on your EDI journey, and so it doesn’t need to be set in stone and in fact should be flexible.
  • Define everything! We wanted to be very explicit about terms, including what we meant by EDI. We weren’t just talking about race equity, but also accessibility (a key concern for library staff), as well as the intersection of various identities, such as religion, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity and so on.
  • Get feedback. Don’t be afraid to reach outside your organization. If you lack diverse voices within your planning process like we did, seek outside perspectives from colleagues, your community, advocates, etc.

If not now, then when?

Even writing this post causes trepidation. There is always a lingering fear about sounding tone deaf and getting something wrong. Part of this process is remaining open-minded and open to criticism. We do not claim to know everything about doing EDI work—we certainly aren’t experts—but we cannot wait until we do feel like we know everything. That may never happen and the work is simply too critical to not start today. So if your organization is waiting to take the leap into EDI work, here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Reflect on where your organization currently stands
  • Gather your stakeholders (this is a good opportunity to practice inclusion!)
  • Gather data
  • Develop a plan
  • Ask for feedback from outside authorities
  • Don’t wait!

ALA Launches Emergency Connectivity Fund Resources



Asian girl student video conference e-learning with teacher and classmates on computer in living room at home. To help libraries take advantage of the new $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program, the American Library Association (ALA) has created the ECF Solutions Toolkit. New resources summarize key ECF provisions and detail how public and tribal libraries can design, plan, and implement technology services using the new funding to serve library patrons who need it most.

The ECF program will provide funding for public and tribal libraries and K12 schools to purchase connected devices and broadband internet connections for use off of library and school grounds by library patrons, students, teachers, and staff who otherwise lack internet access. Libraries participating in the ECF will receive 100 percent reimbursement of costs for eligible equipment and services and the ability to receive upfront reimbursement.

Libraries and schools can apply for funding for the purchase of eligible equipment and services made between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. The application window for the ECF program will open on Tuesday, June 29, and close on Friday, August 13.

The toolkit, located on ALA’s ECF web page, includes five scenarios that provide step-by-step guidance modeled on examples collected from libraries across the country — in rural, suburban, and urban communities. Options include tablet or laptop lending, hotspot lending, creating community Wi-Fi hotspot zones, and subsidizing home internet access.

ALA also encourages libraries to take advantage of other ARPA funds to support related digital inclusion needs, such as programming, staffing, and staff training.

Tails and Tales for Summer Reading in GoWYLD



Cartoon chameleon lying on book with long tail curled underneath him. Text reads "Tails and Tales"This year’s summer reading theme from the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is Tails and Tales! Iguanodon tail or the tail of a plane. Fairy tale or Tales from the Crypt. So many ideas, so many GoWYLD.net resources to find information, images and video.

For the younger kids, check out Britannica Library Children. Scroll down to Animal Kingdom for easy to understand information and fantastic photos of all kinds of animals with tails-including those that are extinct! Or explore Elementary (Gale In Context) to learn more about Loch Ness Monster. What a tail!

For Middle School kids, check out SIRS Discoverer. They have Animals as a research topic on the main page. Incredible images of all sorts of tails! Check out the spider monkey or the ring-tailed lemur, the macaw or the quetzal.

Novelist Plus has curated a number of reading lists and reading activities for libraries to use.

Find all of these resources and more in GoWYLD.net. All are available from school and library and from home. For remote access you will need a Wyoming library card and PIN. For more information, please contact your local library or Chris Van Burgh, Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian, chris.vanburgh@wyo.gov.

UW’s George W. Hopper Law Library Honored



Tawnya standing in green shirt and dark suit by law library sign
Tawnya Plumb

From UW News

The George W. Hopper Law Library in the University of Wyoming’s College of Law has been recognized with the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) Excellence in Community Engagement Award for a program to provide legal research training to librarians around the state.

The initiative, “Access to Justice: Legal Research on the Road,” was developed and administered by Tawnya Plumb, a law librarian and head of collections at the George W. Hopper Law Library.

The Excellence in Community Engagement Award honors outstanding achievement in public relations activities by AALL members, chapters and libraries focusing on law library outreach to their communities.

The goal of the project was to visit each county in Wyoming to work with public librarians, community college librarians, tribal librarians and community groups for the purpose of providing legal research training. Training librarians then allows them to assist the members of their communities who may need to research legal problems.

An important aspect of this program is the resulting networking between UW’s law library and the various libraries in the state as they encounter issues with access to legal resources and information. Plumb says many individuals find legal research intimidating, and librarians often field requests from low-income Wyoming citizens with legal issues.

Plumb received support from UW’s Office of Engagement and Outreach and Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research as a recipient of a 2019 Faculty Engagement Fellowship award.

Emergency Connectivity Fund Application Opens June 29



Cartoon illustration: wifi symbol surrounded by people using gadgets and laptops against a cityscape backgroundThe FCC has announced the initial filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $7.17 Billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.

From June 29, 2021 to August 13, 2021, eligible schools and libraries can apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve the unmet needs for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons during the COVID-19 emergency period. During this application filing window, eligible schools and libraries, in addition to consortia of schools and libraries, can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will serve as the program’s administrator with FCC oversight. Congress authorized funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Outreach and training

The FCC will host a webinar on June 25, at 12 p.m. MDT on fcc.gov/live to provide an overview of the Emergency Connectivity Fund, including applicant eligibility, supported equipment and services, reasonable support amounts, and the application and invoicing processes. No registration is required for this event.

Additionally, USAC will host a series of outreach and training sessions about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. You may register for one of the training sessions using the links provided below.

  • Wednesday, June 16, at 12 p.m. MDT: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar for E-rate Participants – Register
  • Thursday, June 17, at 12 p.m. MDT: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview Webinar for New (Non E-rate) Participants – Register
  • Thursday, June 17, at 2:00 p.m. MDT: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview for Tribal Applicants – Register
  • Wednesday, June 23, at 1:00 p.m. MDT: Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview for Potential Applicants – Register

More information

View an FCC Fact Sheet on the program.

More information about the program is available at emergencyconnectivityfund.org, including information about how to apply and what schools and libraries can do now to prepare. Schools and libraries can sign up to receive programs updates and information about future training sessions. Help with program questions is also available by calling 800-234-9781 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. MT.