Category Archives: Articles and Information

What’s Your Goal Here?

Wooden blocks form the words 'goal, plan, action, result'Reposted from Library Research Service

Every day we assess the world around us. We ask ourselves whether that decision we made was a good idea, what makes that person trustworthy, why we should or should not change something. We form a question in our head, collect data, analyze the information, and come to a conclusion. In short, we are all experienced evaluators!

However, that doesn’t mean setting up an outcome-based evaluation is a cake walk. It’s important to apply structure to the subconscious process occurring in our head. So where should you start? At the end. That might sound counterintuitive, but the first step in an outcome-based evaluation is figuring out how you define success for your program or service—what do you hope to achieve?

Think of a program or service you want to evaluate. It could be something already being offered in your library, or something new. What do you want your users to know/do/understand/believe after participating in the program or experiencing the service? Remember that outcomes are goals framed around your users. It’s the impact you hope your service or program has on the people participating—the big “why” of your work.

I’m going to ask you to take a few minutes to think through some potential outcomes, but before I do, we need to talk briefly about outputs. Outputs are the tangible and intangible products that result from program/service activities. If we were talking about summer reading, an example of an output is the number of children who complete the program. So, we may aim to increase the number of completions this year by 20 percent. That’s a great goal right? Yes, but be careful not to confuse it for an outcome. Increasing completions, even though it’s addressing users, does not capture the impact we hope summer reading has on children who participate in the program.

So what would be a good outcome for a summer reading program? Here are some potential ideas:

  • Children choose to engage in a reading activity every day.
  • Children believe that reading is an important part of their daily routine
  • Children return to school without exhibiting effects of “summer slide”

In each example, the “who” is the user (children) and the “what” is the impact we hope the experience has on them.

Now it’s your turn! Take a few minutes to write down some potential outcomes for the program or service you’re thinking about. As you’re doing it, remember to ask yourself:

  1. Is it achievable? It’s great to have aspirational goals, but we want to choose something that can be achieved by the program, service, or experience you are offering. We all want to alleviate poverty, but a much more achievable goal might be to create economic opportunity or increase wage-earning potential for a certain target group.
  2. Is it framed around the user? Think about who you want to have an effect on. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Does it capture impact? Make sure to be clear in your outcome about what you want your user to know, do, believe, or understand by the end of your program or service.

Congrats! You’re on your way to being an expert evaluator. Having clear and defined outcomes is the first step to designing your evaluation plan.

Nominees Sought for Leaders in Literacy Award

Former Wyoming First Lady Carol Mead
Former Wyoming First Lady Carol Mead

Nominations are now open for the Carol Mead Leaders in Literacy Award. Any Wyoming citizen, organization, business or community may be nominated. Accomplishments that are noted should reflect contributions made in Wyoming that exemplify a commitment to the literacy development of Wyoming citizens.

Award winners will be announced in October. Details about a virtual award unveiling will be forthcoming. Recipients will receive a $4000 award and a plaque recognizing the honor.

Submit your nomination here. Nominations must be submitted electronically no later than October 1, 2020.

News in Brief

Take Part in the First Virtual Wyoming Education Summit
The first Wyoming Education Summit, “Pursuing Excellence Together,” will be held on September 21-22, 2020 via Zoom. This conference will bring together Wyoming professionals in education to share knowledge and expertise on education leadership, instruction, virtual learning, and early childhood.

Fifth Round of REALM Project Testing Under Way
Battelle began testing on a fifth round of materials on August 29, 2020. For Test 5, four fabrics and leather bookbinding were selected for Battelle lab testing to examine the length of time the COVID-19 virus may live on materials commonly used in archives, libraries, and museums.

Register now for Free, Online SLJ Summit: Culture Shift
The School Library Journal Summit: Culture Shift is a free, online event to be held Saturday, October 24. Now in its 16th year, this national convening will focus on creating a culture that promotes an equitable world and closes the opportunity gap for all children. Attend this free, day-long event to gain skills, ideas, and support in leading the change you want to see in your library, school, and community. Events will be recorded for later viewing.

Find Resources for National Friends of Libraries Week
United for Libraries will coordinate the 15th annual National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 18-24, 2020. Find promotional resources including free graphics, flyers, sample press releases, and more on the  The celebration offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate Friends. Use the time to creatively promote your group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership.

Sprocket Offers Free Digital Education Resource Guide
Sprocket Inc., a nonprofit innovation lab in Paducah, Kentucky, recently released a Digital Education Resource Guide. The guide is a resource for educator,s regardless of their digital literacy. It has how-to guides for novices, general traits for the experienced, and for the pros, it can be used for quick reference or as a source of collaboration.

Free, Student-Safe Video Clips and More Available from Videvo
Looking for multimedia content for your students to use? Videvo offers free educational content that’s a great online teaching resource for students and teachers. The site has an extensive collection of free video clips, as well as motion graphics, music, and sound effects. There is no need for students to login to download clips and all the content is safe for students to use.

Can Employers Require Employees to Get Vaccines?
When a vaccine for COVID-19 does become available, can an employer require it of their employees as a condition of employment? What if employees do not want to take the vaccine? Perhaps they are worried because they think pharmaceutical companies rushed through the process. Do they have a right to refuse the vaccine and keep their jobs? Find answers on this article from the Library Worklife newsletter from ALA-APA.

Help ALA Track COVID-19 Exposure Closures
Has your library had to close temporarily or adjust services due to a known COVID-19 exposure, or positive contact of a staff member or patron? The American Library Association (ALA) is tracking this information; share any information or or links to news reports with Mariel Colbert of ALA’s Chapter Relations Office at

I Love My Librarian Award Nominations Open Through November 9
Has a librarian made a difference in your life or gone above and beyond to serve your community? The I Love My Librarian Award invites library users to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. Each year, 10 librarians are selected to receive a $5,000 cash award in recognition of their outstanding public service. Nominations will be accepted through November 9.

AASL Partners with the Human Rights Campaign to Help LGBTQ Students THRIVE
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is partnering with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation on its Project THRIVE, a multi-year national campaign to create more equitable, inclusive support systems and help families and youth-serving professionals become better equipped to affirm, support, and care for LGBTQ youth. Project THRIVE’s goals include reducing the significant disparities in mental and physical health outcomes and improving school safety and inclusion so LGBTQ students succeed academically and socially.

Registration Open for YALSA’s Virtual 2020 YA Services Symposium
Registration for YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium, which takes place virtually November 6-8, is now open. Early bird registration ends September 15. Programs cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults. This year’s theme is Biggest Little Spaces: How Libraries Serve the Expanding Worlds of Teens. New this year and included in registration is the Edwards Luncheon. Registration is open to anyone with an interest in young adult services and literature.

ALA Midwinter Going Virtual
The American Library Association’s Executive Board has announced that the 2021 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits scheduled for January 22-26 in Indianapolis will take place virtually. The preliminary roster of speakers, which is set to include some of today’s most highly regarded keynoters and authors, will be announced early this fall along with ongoing announcements of  programs, sessions, meetings, and exhibits. Registration will open in November.

ALSC 2020 Virtual Institute Opens for Registration
Registration for the 2020 ALSC Virtual Institute, “Dive In: Engage, Amplify, Activate,” is now open. This year’s Virtual Institute will convene October 2-3, 2020, in lieu of the originally planned in-person event in Minneapolis, Minnesota. General session panels will include authors Minh Lê, Carole Lindstrom, Bao Phi, Kao Kalia Yang, and 2020 Stonewall Children’s and Youth Adult Literature winner Kyle Lukoff, as well as illustrator Michaela Goade. The event will also feature a full slate of education sessions, networking opportunities and live discussions about issues in children’s librarianship and children’s literacy.

Nominations Now Open for IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is now accepting nominations for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor awarded to libraries and museums for service to their communities. Anyone — an employee, a board member, a volunteer, a member of the public, or a government official — is invited to nominate an institution. Nominations are due by 9:59 pm MST on November 2, 2020.

Facilitator Guide: Group Learning in a Self-Paced Course
Courses that are designed to be self-paced often pose challenges for the learner, especially around feelings of isolation and lack of motivation. This guide provides a framework for organizing, structuring and leading a group of learners through self-paced courses on any topic.

2020 Teens’ Top Ten Voting Now Open
Voting is open for YALSA’s 2020 Teens’ Top Ten now through October 15. Teens aged 12-18 can vote for up to three titles from the 25 nominees. Every April, the Teens’ Top Ten nominees are posted on the Thursday of National Library Week, and readers vote online August 15-October 15. To learn more about the Teens’ Top Ten and voting, visit the Teens’ Top Ten website.

DPLA Launches Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has launched its new Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection. The collection makes freely accessible nearly 200,000 artifacts, including images, videos, letters, diaries, speeches, maps, diaries, and oral histories, from DPLA’s more than 4,000 partner institutions that document the contributions and experiences of Black women during the women’s suffrage movement as well as Black women’s activism from the 1850s to the 1960s.

COVID Detectable Longer on Stacked Materials

From WebJunction

Graphic showing difference in days COVID can be detected in stacked versus unstacked materials.
(Click to enlarge.)

REALM Project Test 4 results are now available. As part of the REALM Project’s research, Battelle has conducted four natural attenuation studies to provide information on how long the virus may survive on materials common to archives, libraries, and museums. For this round of testing, materials were stacked to replicate items stored together in a return bin or on shelves. The materials in Test 4 included the following items:

  • Hardback book cover
  • Softcover book cover
  • Plastic protective cover
  • DVD case
  • Expanded polyethylene foam

Results show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested. When compared to Test 1, which resulted in nondetectable virus after three days on an unstacked hardcover book, softcover book, plastic protective cover, and DVD case, the results of Test 4 highlight the effect of stacking and its ability to prolong the survivability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Learn more on WebJunction, download the Test 4 report, and see answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the REALM Project.

100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote

Official program - Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913 / Dale.
Official program – Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913 / Dale. Click here for larger image and more information.

From govinfo

Suffragists launched their organized fight for women’s equality in July 1848 during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. 

For the next 72 years, leaders of the National Woman’s Party (NWP)  lobbied, marched, picketed, and protested for the right to the vote. The U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the Susan B. Anthony Amendment on May 21, 1919, followed by the Senate on June 4, 1919. The Amendment then went to the states, where it had to be ratified by 3/4ths of the states to be added to the Constitution.

Tennessee was the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment  on August 18, 1920, by a vote of 50-47.

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.

Visit today’s govinfo post for more resources:

  • Find photos in this article and other free to use and reuse photos of women’s history from the Library of Congress.
  • Read the full text of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment in the Congressional Record
  • View more original documents
    • Public Law 95-447 – Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Act of 1978
    • Public Law 116-71 – Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
    • DCPD-201600239 – Proclamation 9423-Establishment of the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
    • S. Doc. 112-9 – Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis, and Interpretation – Centennial Edition – Nineteenth Amendment – Women’s Suffrage Rights
    • S. Doc. 116-3 – Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence, Pocket Edition

Find Your Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

In turbulent times, books are tools that help people navigate the world around them. Intellectual freedom and access to information uplift people in crisis and during more peaceful times, so librarians are invited to champion the right to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3, 2020.

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has helped people recognize and navigate censorship, and the battle for free expression is unending. Reading brings people together, but censorship drives us apart. The theme of this year’s event, “Censorship Is a Dead End,” is a reminder that we need to fight censorship to “Find Our Freedom to Read.” This year’s celebration embraces a maze motif, an attainable and customizable idea that offers publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and others an opportunity to engage with their communities in a variety of ways, from passive programing to big events.

Learn more and find resources from the Banned Books Week Coalition and the American Library Association.

Libraries Offer Return on Tax Dollars

Return on investment (ROI) studies are one way to demonstrate that libraries are a wise investment. For every dollar spent on a library, much more is returned to the community. In fact, the Library Research Service (LRS) reported that a 2009 meta-analysis of findings from 38 library ROI studies found that, on average, the return value for public libraries is 4 to 5 times the amount invested.

Wyoming libraries that have run the numbers are in that range. The Park County Library found that taxpayers received $4.28 in value for every $1 invested in the library. Natrona County Library returned $5.35 per dollar (p. 2, “Tough times”), while Teton County Library provides a return on investment of $6.21 per each $1 spent.

Two methods are commonly used to determine a library’s ROI: contingent valuation or market valuation. Contingent valuation bases dollar values on subjective perceptions of responding library users. Market valuation bases dollar values on objective values such as the use of electronic resources, material and book circulation, program attendance, reference services, and meeting room use.

We’ve compiled a list of ROI studies and resources for you to learn more. Also know the Wyoming State Library maintains a statistics page, and you can call on us for help taking your numbers and making a case for your library with them. Contact Thomas Ivie, WSL Research & Statistics Librarian, at or (307) 777-6330.

State-Level Studies

Resource and Multiple Studies Lists

News in Brief

Counting Down with #19Suffrage Stories: 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
To mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian and National Archives are collaborating to bring the story of women’s suffrage to you on social media. Until August 26, you can follow weekday posts to learn voting-rights history drawn from all three institutions’ collections. You can also use their set of animated social media GIFs and Instagram stickers on your social media posts to mark the centennial.

ARSL 2020 Virtual Conference Registration Now Open
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) will hold its 2020 virtual conference, “SOAR with Libraries: Sharing Our Amazing Resources,” from September 28 to October 2. They plan a full schedule of professional development, networking, and socializing. Registration is $50 for members, $65 for non-members, with group rates available. A special $25 rate is offered for advocates — trustees, friends, and foundations.

ABOS Virtual Conference Registration to Open August 10
The Association for Bookmobile & Outreach Services (ABOS) will holds its 2020 virtual conference October 13-16. The conference will include educational programs, networking, access to vendors and sponsors, virtual tours and more. Registration is $79 with a group discount available.

School Library Journal Day of Dialog to be Free and Online
SLJ’s Day of Dialog will be held on October 15, 2020 — free and online. This is a daylong program of author panels, in-depth conversations, and keynote talks. Attendees will hear about the latest and most exciting forthcoming titles for children, tweens, and teens and engage in Q&A sessions with authors and illustrators. Other features include a virtual exhibit hall, author chats, digital galleys and other free resources.

Celebrate National Voter Registration Day September 22
Started in 2012, National Voter Registration Day is celebrated every third Tuesday of September as an effort to spread awareness about voter registration opportunities and reach voters who might not otherwise register.

ALSC Resources for Youth Media Mentorship
COVID-19 and subsequent shelter-in-place orders around the country triggered a rise in the use of digital media by children & families. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has compiled
 resources to support children’s library professionals serving as youth media mentors. 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month
With vaccines being in the headlines recently, it is likely many of your library patrons are wondering if they, their children, or family members are up to date on their shots. The Network of the National Library of Medicine has a program kit, social media materials, webinar and more for you to promote National Immunization Awareness Month to your patrons.

Free Programs from Covia for Seniors at Home
Covia offers a slate of free online and phone programs such as book discussions, travel programs (like one about a road trip in the Rocky Mountain region), foreign language learning opportunities (beginning German, Spanish, English as a Second Language), cancer and diabetes support groups, trivia programs, risk and red flags for elder abuse, meditation programs, LGBTQ chat, and more. All programs can be accessed for free from home.

AASL Announces Best Digital Tools for Teaching and Learning
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has released its inaugural list of Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning. Best Digital Tools combines the previously separate lists of Best Apps and Best Websites for Teaching & Learning. The new list follows the evolution of technology as websites develop apps and resources are produced which are not easily classified in either platform. The list can be found at

Rural Community Toolbox: Funding and Tools to Build Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities
This toolbox was created by the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group. This comprehensive toolbox provides information about grant funding for drug-free rural communities, resources for treatment and services for individuals, community assessment resources, a rural community action guide, and information resources for community agencies and organizations addressing substance use disorders. Information included in the for toolbox is provided by SAMHSA, Indian Health Service, NIDA, and other federal departments and agencies.\

National Book Festival Full Author Lineup Announced
The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will connect with audiences across the country for an interactive, online celebration of “American Ingenuity” for the festival’s 20th year, featuring new books by more than 120 of the nation’s most-renowned writers, poets and artists. During the weekend of September 25-27, virtual stages at will offer on-demand videos, live author chats and discussions, options to personalize your own journey through the festival with particular themes, and book buying possibilities.

Minerva’s Kaleidoscope: Just for Kids and Families
The Library of Congress has a new blog, Minerva’s Kaleidoscope, designed for children and families. Named for the Roman goddess of wisdom, it’s a source for parents and caregivers to find materials to spark kids’ imaginations and to get updates on programs at the Library. The blog is led by the Informal Learning Office, a new effort whose mission is to connect kids, families and teens to the collections and resources of the Library and to inspire them to use the Library for their own creative purposes.

Spotlight on Government Information

The ALA Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) offers non-partisan voting and election reference guides for every U.S. state and the District of Columbia — including Wyoming. These Voter and Election Toolkits are here to help librarians answer questions so that their patrons can be prepared to cast their votes.

These toolkits were created for and by librarians across the country and contain answers to FAQs such as voter eligibility requirements, voter registration deadlines, voter ID requirements, ballot information, and absentee voting.

Spread the word and help your patrons participate in elections and exercise their political rights.

Need assistance with government information? Contact the Wyoming State Library at or (307) 777-6333.

Library Technology for Contactless Service

From the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Originally, before the pandemic, new contactless technologies such as self-service kiosks and patron print management tools were developed for use in libraries for two main reasons:

  1. Make staff more efficient at their job
  2. Provide extra convenience for patrons

Depending on a library’s size or situation, implementing these features could be seen as merely perks, even unnecessary frills. They were often just nice add-ons, ways to make the library feel more modern and state-of-the-art.

It wasn’t too hard to level criticism at these particular contactless services back then. They could be considered barriers to connection between the library and the community it served. Using them meant patrons had little to no interaction with staff, thought to be the heart of the library. The concern was patrons might lose that personal touch that should go with library services, and the library itself would become more remote and distant. Soulless, automated machines would serve as the face of the library, replacing the crucial community-building work of friendly, caring, and human staff. Beyond the thinking in this regard, there was the added expense and staff training sometimes needed to implement this new technology. And for many, it was seen as an unnecessary reliance on new technology to perform library services that had traditionally been done by hand (and quite well, thank you) for as long as libraries have been around.

And then the pandemic happened.

We’re seeing now that there is suddenly a new purpose to these contactless technologies: safety! No longer are they nice perks; they’re necessary and potentially life-saving.

One can now add the following reasons to implement:

  1. Prevent close social interaction with staff
  2. Prevent patrons from waiting in line or being forced to gather in small spaces with other patrons
  3. Allow patrons to minimize time in the library as much as possible

Efficiency (reason # 1) is even more important now if libraries are experiencing staff loss or volunteers being let go. With brand new safety measures and pandemic-related services to be performed, staff have less time to handle the basic services of circulation, public access computer management, printing, etc. To list just a few of the added tasks: clean surfaces repeatedly, fill curbside orders, present virtual programs, assist patrons phoning in to make appointments to come into the building, etc., etc.

One big change is there often needs to be fewer public access computers due to spacing requirements, ensuring patrons stay six feet apart. Having fewer computers means more demand, so a library needs a new system in place, if there wasn’t one already, that sets reservations and enforces time limits — or the library needs to include more portable computers like laptops and tablets so patrons can use these devices throughout the space to stay socially distant from one another.

To sum up: self-service used to mean efficiency and convenience. Now self-service equals safety.

Decades ago, with the emergence of computers and networks, libraries had a significant phase of automation to convert their card catalogs to OPACs and ILSs. Now we are entering the Second Age of Automation. It’s not only the catalogs, but every library service that needs to become automated to make it contactless and safe.

To help guide you through this new technological age we’re living in now, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) staff have put together a list of products for contactless services. (Google Doc).

These are organized by service area:

  • Circulation
  • Curbside
  • Returns
  • Document management (print, scan, fax, email)
  • Fund transference
  • Public computer use
  • Reference, patron assistance, information/research help
  • Third party virtual programming software (by subject)
  • General building safety

Here are a few of the innovative highlights from the grid that may not have occurred to some:

  • To make curbside more efficient for staff and convenient for patrons, deploy 24/7 smart lockers outside of the library building for patrons to retrieve their holds.
  • If a staff member can’t position themselves next to a patron’s computer nor physically take control of their mouse and keyboard to assist them, screen mirroring software can be employed, even on the staff member’s personal tablet held at least six feet away.
  • For a scenario with the least amount of contact possible within the building, patrons can bring their own device to the library and use an app to not only scan the desired materials for check-out themselves, but even automatically desensitize the RFID labels/detection strips via the same app before exiting.
  • With the complete loss of in-house programming, employ third-party, resource-rich  online software to help conduct them virtually. This could be for social gaming, crafting, coding, to name a few. There are also services to provide live one-on-one job search coaching and homework tutoring for your patrons at their homes.

If you’d like to learn more about library tech for contactless service, join the TSLAC’s free interactive discussion webinar on August 18, from 1-2:30 p.m. MDT.