Category Archives: Articles and Information

Taxpayer Resources for Your Patrons

Tax time has rolled around another year. When your patrons turn to you for tax information (and not just forms), know that you can point them to the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). On the  TAS website, your patrons can find the information they need to ensure their filing goes smoothly and even get help with problems they haven’t been able to resolve with the IRS.

To help people avoid refund delays, the TAS has created this downloadable flyer and slides in both English and Spanish that you can share:

Flyer in English and Spanish
PowerPoint slides in English and Spanish

Learn more at

News in Brief

Big Talk From Small Libraries Schedule Now Available
Big Talk From Small Libraries is a free one-day online conference on February 26, 2021. A schedule of speakers and sessions is now available. Speakers are either from a library serving fewer than 10,000 people or they work directly with small libraries.

Apply Now for ARSL Leadership Institute
Applications for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries pilot leadership institute, Outstanding In Their Field, are officially open. They are looking for 30 outstanding people who are currently working in rural and small libraries to join us for this special professional development opportunity. Applications will be accepted through February 24, 2021.

Celebrate Digital Learning Day on February 25
Digital Learning Day is an online celebration where educators share great ideas, amazing stories, and promising practices through social media and within their own schools and communities. Thousands of local events, interactive activities, and lessons mark the importance of innovation in schools and remind district leaders that every day should be a digital learning day in public school classrooms.

EveryLibrary Report: The Demographics of Winning Library Elections
More than 90% of library funding is determined at the local level, either by the will of elected officials or by voters themselves. In this important and groundbreaking study for the EveryLibrary Institute, the authors analyze over 700 library elections between 2014 and 2018 across 50 variables taken from the IMLS Public Library Survey for each library and the American Community Survey (ACS) for each locality to try and dispel the conventional wisdom for library leaders.

ALA announces 2021 Youth Media Awards
The American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books, digital media, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery, and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits that took place virtually from Chicago.

Library of Congress Connects with Minority Communities
The Library of Congress has announced a new, multiyear initiative to connect more deeply with Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and other minority communities by expanding its collections, using technology to enable storytelling and offering more internship and fellowship opportunities. The new initiative, Of the People: Widening the Path, creates new opportunities for more people to engage with the library, thus weaving a more inclusive American story.

WebJunction Creates Toolkit for Creating Smart Spaces
WebJunction is offering a new toolkit to help you re-envision your library’s place as a center of community learning. Get ideas to reconfigure your physical space and reimagine your services to promote active and participatory learning. These resources were developed to guide small and rural libraries through a transformation process in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces program, but they are valuable for libraries of any size.

Library of Congress Guide to Middle and High School Research
To help support young people in their personal and academic research endeavors, Library of Congress educators and librarians teamed up to develop an online research guide for middle and high school students.  A variety of Research Guides have been designed by library specialists to help researchers navigate the Library’s analog and digital collections and find resources. Currently, there are hundreds of such guides, covering more than 70 topics that relate to the arts, science, history, social and cultural studies, and more.

Resources for National Consumer Protection Week
Do your patrons need to know how to protect themselves from fraud, identity theft, and scams? Maybe they’re wondering about the best way to use credit, how to shop for a used car, or maximize their security online. National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is just around the corner from February 28-March 6, 2021. The Federal Trade Commission leads the national outreach for this event.

Podcast: The Role Libraries Play in Closing the Justice Gap
WebJunction and the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation (LSC) have partnered to deliver national online training for public library staff to strengthen access to civil legal justice through public libraries. LSC recently launched a podcast called Talk Justice, which explores ways to expand access to justice and illustrates why it is important to the legal community, businesses, government, and the general public.

Read Native 2021 Challenge
The American Indian Library Association invites you to participate in their inaugural reading challenge. Throughout the year, find and read books and publications by and about Native Americans; visit tribal websites; search peer reviewed scholarly journals; visit Native-owned bookstores; and check with Native librarians for all of the best sources for learning more about Native Americans and Indigenous people around the world.

Advancing Science Through Citizen Science Games
Citizen Science is people from all walks of life getting together with scientists to advance scientific research.  There are many ways to get involved but one of the most popular ways is by playing citizen science games!  Citizen Science Games is a website dedicated to sharing the latest news, game lists, articles, publications and interviews about the latest citizen science projects.

Holocaust Remembrance Day with the National Archives

Auschwitz I (Main Camp) – Oswiecim, Poland, 8/25/1944. From the series: Aerial Photography of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Records of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1894 – 2002. National Archives Identifier 305899

From the U.S. National Archives

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a memorial day designated by the United Nations to mark the anniversary of the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp.

The National Archives is the international epicenter of Holocaust-related research. NARA holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II that document Nazi war crimes, wartime refugee issues, and activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets (including gold, art, and cultural property)—as well as captured German records used as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunals. They not only hold these records, they provide access to them.

Start your research on History Hub

For those looking to conduct research on the Holocaust and other World War II-related topics, browse recent posts and questions on this topic in History Hub, the support community for researchers, genealogists, history enthusiasts, and citizen archivists. Ask questions, share information, work together, and find help based on experience and interests. Researchers can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or search to see if a question has been asked before.

Citizen Archivist transcription mission: World War II looted art

In another piece of World War II history, the Third Reich’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, or ERR, was the main agency involved in the systematic looting of cultural treasures in Nazi-occupied countries. Consider volunteering as a Citizen Archivist for the National Archives World War II Looted Art transcription mission. Help transcribe property control cards that include information indicating to which country Nazi-looted cultural objects were restituted. In addition, the cards may include information such as artwork classification, measurements, identifying marks, history and ownership, condition and repair, arrival, destination and exit information, and the disposition of each item.

New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

Learn more

Read more from the U.S. National Archives about World War II resources, History Hub, and Citizen Archivist missions. Educators might be interested in teaching resources using online primary sources.

You can also learn more in the History Resources in Log in with a library card from any Wyoming public or community college library. For assistance, contact your local library.

Introducing Number Data and Story Data

Wooden pieces representing people in front of easel showing graphs against a blue background.From Library Research Service

Hey, there! Welcome to 2021! We’re glad to see you here. It’s a new year and we’re ready to dive into research methods. Not what you expected to rejuvenate you in 2021? Well, hold on — research methods are actually pretty rad. First, though, what are they?

Research Methods

Research methods are the different ways we can do the research or evaluation. If you’ve already tried out our tips on doing desk research, you may have found that the data you need is just not out there. You’re going to have to collect some data yourself!

What kind of data should you collect? Two very broad categories of data are quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data are numbers data and qualitative data are story data. Wait — isn’t all data numbers? Nope! Story data are real!

Quantitative Data: how much or what extent

What kind of information can quantitative data provide? Think about questions that you could answer with a number. Here are some examples from libraries:

  • How many books were checked out this month?
  • How often did families attend more than one storytime in a month?
  • What times for storytime have the highest attendance?
  • What percentage of our patrons rely on mobile services for library access?

You can see from the examples that quantitative data can answer questions about how much, how often, what, and to what extent. Quantitative data can often be collected by consulting data you already track within your library or by distributing a survey. This data can generally be collected and analyzed relatively quickly. The downside to quantitative data is that it can’t tell you how or why something is a particular way. If you collect data on how often families attended more than one storytime in a month, you still don’t know why some families came more often. That’s where qualitative data comes in.

Qualitative Data: why or how

What kind of information can qualitative data provide? Think about questions that are difficult to answer with a number. The questions below cover the same topics as the quantitative questions above, but approached in a qualitative way:

  • Why are some patrons super-users?
  • Why do some families attend storytime once and never return?
  • What reasons other than convenience determine whether families attend storytime?
  • How do patrons who use the mobile services feel about the library in general?

You can collect some qualitative data on surveys by asking open-ended questions. You also can collect qualitative data from observations, interviews, and focus groups. While it yields detailed information, qualitative data collection and analysis can be complex and time-consuming. These data don’t always yield information that is actionable right away. Going back to our storytime example, if we ask why some families attend storytime once and never return, we may get a lot of different answers and need to spend time looking for common themes.

How to choose?

Now that you know what both types of data could look like, how do you decide what data is the best to collect for a project? Did you notice how those quantitative and qualitative questions matched up on similar topics? That was on purpose! Different types of data can give you insight into different aspects of your evaluation question.

To get the most meaningful results, it’s a great idea to collect both quantitative and qualitative data for your project. They can work together to provide a more complete picture of the topic. An easy way to incorporate both is to create a survey that includes mostly quantitative questions, but also a few key qualitative questions.

Now, is it always realistic that your organization has time and capacity to collect both types of data? Not really, right? That’s ok. The most important thing is to match the kind of data you collect with your evaluation question.

Need help?

The Wyoming State Library offers assistance to Wyoming libraries with data collection, information sources, and more. Learn more on our statistics page.

Portman is National Library Week Honorary Chair

National Library Week banner advertisement

From the American Library Association

Natalie Portman, Academy Award-winning actress, director, producer, author and activist, will lend her star power to shine a spotlight on our nation’s libraries as the honorary chair of National Library Week, April 4-10, 2021. She will help highlight the essential role libraries, librarians and library workers play in serving their communities, especially during challenging times.

“Libraries are open, inclusive places that foster a sense of belonging and community,” Portman said. “They show us anything is possible by encouraging a love of learning, discovery and exploration.”

The theme for National Library Week 2021, “Welcome to Your Library,” promotes the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building – and that everyone is welcome to use their services. During the pandemic libraries have been going above and beyond to adapt to our changing world by expanding their resources and continuing to meet the needs of their users. Whether people visit in person or virtually, libraries offer opportunities for everyone to explore new worlds and become their best selves through access to technology, multimedia content and educational programs.

Free digital graphics promoting National Library Week are now available at

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is an annual observance by the American Library Association and libraries across the country each April. National Library Week celebrations include the release of ALA’s 2021 “State of America’s Libraries Report,” April 5; National Library Workers Day, April 6; National Day for Bookmobiles and Outreach Services, April 7; Take Action for Libraries Day, April 8; and the celebration of School Library Month throughout April.

News in Brief

Resources to Recognize and Counter COVID-19 Vaccine Mis/Disinformation
As the COVID-19 vaccine inches closer to widespread distribution, help your patrons and community find reputable and reliable information about the vaccine with these resources from the Texas State Library and Archives. Also included are some helpful tutorials on spotting fake news and evaluating information found on the web.

2020 Wyoming Kids Count Data Book Now Available
The Wyoming KIDS Count Data Book takes a county-by-county look at the well-being of Wyoming children and families. It includes information ranging from health to education and much more. KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation designed to track the well-being of children by providing high quality data and trend analysis.

Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement K-12 Curriculum Virtual Library
As schools across Wyoming face a growing need for virtual education resources, the University of Wyoming Wallop Civic Engagement Program shifted its focus to address the need. Through the creation of a virtual curriculum catalog, new free resources will be available for Wyoming teachers. The virtual library includes short video presentations across a range of topics, such as civics, civic engagement, government, history, geography and economics — all from UW faculty and partners from Wyoming community colleges and public experts.

Association for Rural and Small Libraries Launches Leadership Institute
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries has launched its inaugural ARSL Outstanding in Their Field Leadership Institute. They will be looking for 30 people who are currently working in rural and/or small libraries throughout the country. All participant travel, materials, and instructional expenses are paid for by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The application period will open in January 2021.

Space Planning Resources for Renovations and New Libraries
The Massachusetts Libraries Board of Library Commissioners released a brand-new resource for library space planning. Library Space: A Planning Resource for Libraries specifically focuses on the step-by-step process of public library design and includes illustrations of seating, room types, shelving, and more. It empowers librarians, administrators, and designers with the tools for planning and redesigning public libraries. Find more space planning resources in the Wyoming State Library’s handbooks for boards and directors.

Call for Applications for Community History Web Archiving Program
The Internet Archive invites public libraries in the United States and cultural heritage organizations in U.S. territories to apply to join its Community History Web Archiving program. Apply by January 31st, 2021 to join a diverse network of 150+ public libraries and librarians who are documenting local history, growing their professional skills and increasing institutional technical capacity, and building a public understanding of web archiving.

Book Clubs in Lockdown: New Research, Free Report
“Book Clubs in Lockdown” examines how book clubs have responded to the challenges of 2020 and how some of these changes will impact book groups for the long term. It is based on original research analyzing over 3,400 survey responses collected this October with many findings particularly relevant for public librarians. The report is also relevant to those in book clubs, so librarians may wish to share findings or the download link in their own communications.

Copyright Tools, Best Practices, and More
Whether you’re teaching students the basics of copyright or trying to make sure you don’t run afoul of the law yourself, the Alaska State Library can help. As part of their Online With Libraries (OWL) project, they’ve  put together an extensive set of resources on copyright. OWL is a longstanding project here for supporting broadband, videoconferencing, and more.

Six Copyright Concepts Your K-12 Students Should Know
The Library of Congress, with the U.S. Copyright Office, has assembled six points to remember when teaching students about copyright. Incorporating copyright concepts into your lesson plans can help engage a student’s creativity and foster an appreciation for the importance of protecting creative works.

Registration Opens for 2021 AASL National Conference
Registration is now open for the 2021 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference. The conference, taking place Oct. 21-23, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah, convenes school library professionals for in-person learning and networking opportunities. Content provided at the conference will be rooted in AASL’s “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries.” Wyoming librarians needing assistance with conference expenses are encouraged to apply for a Carol McMurry Library Foundation grant.

White Paper on Serving non-English Speakers and Newcomers to the U.S.
The American Library Association’s New Americans Library Project explored the landscape of literature and resources about library services for new Americans, studied how libraries can more effectively serve new Americans, and made recommendations about this topic for the library field. This white paper provides a synthesis of the project to help library professionals understand opportunities for libraries’ work with new Americans.

LSCUTC Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Populations
The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  This month, the LSCUTC Toolkit focuses on resources for serving Spanish-speaking populations. Most of the resources focus on creating an inclusive space for Spanish-speaking families through materials, programs, and outreach.

Guide to Law Online: U.S. States and Territories
The Law Library of Congress has announced the launch of a redesigned Guide to Law Online: U.S. States and Territories at its new Library of Congress Research Guides location. This project originally started in 1999 as an outgrowth of the nation-specific guide portal, with the state pages created to provide quick links to primary and selected secondary free online resources. The initial launch included Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, and Arkansas. Groups of 5-10 states will be added alphabetically each week.

National Archives 2020 Year in Review

Black and white photo of herd of cows, wide angle.
Photograph of Herd of Cows. National Archives Identifier 158884318, from the Bureau of Indian Affairs photographs.

The U.S. National Archives writes:

“2020 was a year like no other. Without a doubt, this is a year that will be covered in the history books of the future. Despite this unprecedented year, a bright spot was working with our Citizen Archivists and Catalog community members. Together we accomplished a great deal! Looking back on this unique and historic time, we’d like to share some of the highlights from the year.”

Research tools:

Citizen Archivist contributions:

Special (virtual) events:

Read more about each of these projects in their newsletter.

Top 2020 Titles from Syndetics Unbound

Book cover: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensEver wonder what patrons are searching for in library catalogs? Here are the answers for 2020, aggregated from all the public libraries that use Syndetics Unbound. Last week’s Syndetics Unbound Blog post covers the top 15 most searched-for books of 2020 in US public libraries. It also includes lists for the top ten titles of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, along with some other interesting book data.

The top 15 from the U.S. were:

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  2. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  3. Camino Winds by John Grisham
  4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  5. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  6. The Guest List: A Novel by Lucy Foley
  7. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  8. Walk the Wire by David Baldacci
  9. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  10. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
  11. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  12. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  13. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  14. Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  15. The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Find these titles and more at your local library in WYLDcat.

2021 National Day of Racial Healing

Multi-colored graphic reads: SAVE THE DATE: National Day of Racial Healing January 19, 2021. W.F. Kellogg Foundation logo in top left corner.From WebJunction

The National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) is an opportunity for people, organizations, and communities to call for racial healing, bring people together in their shared humanity and take action together to create a more just and equitable world.

The 2021 event will be held on January 19, the day after Martin Luther King Day. WebJunction and the team leading NDORH have come up with some specific ways that libraries could encourage community participation.

NDORH is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort – a national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

Learn more on WebJunction.

How to Report 2020 Censorship Incidents

Logo in red reading "Report Censorship. Defend the Public's Freedoms." Image includes graphic of computer keyboard with read "Report" button.The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is seeking information on any ban or request to remove library or school materials, displays, and programs that happened in 2020.

OIF urges library workers and educators to report all censorship incidents, even if they don’t need assistance or support to address the challenge. Those with information about bans and challenges that happened anytime this year are encouraged to submit OIF’s online reporting form by December 31, 2020. All personal and institutional information submitted is kept confidential.

The information gathered from these reports helps OIF identify censorship trends, support library workers and compile the Top 10 Most Challenged Books list, published in April during National Library Week. OIF collects information on attempts to remove books, DVDs, online resources and displays. The office also documents attempts to cancel programs and disinvite speakers.

Recently, the office has noticed a rise in attempts to censor books that address racism and police brutality. LGBTQIA+ books and programs also continue to be targeted with censorship.

Anyone can contact OIF throughout the year when they face a challenge, ban, or access or privacy issue. Staff provide various forms of support, including writing a letter, coaching on media relations and public statements, reviewing policies and researching laws and regulations.

Wyoming libraries are also encouraged to contact the Wyoming Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Advisor, Janice Grover-Roosa, at or (307) 382-1701