Maria Wenzel is the new Rawlins Branch Manager for Carbon County Library System. Originally from Mexico city, Maria arrived in Wyoming after living in the Houston area for the last six years where she put in practice the knowledge gained from her Project Management Program (PMP) certification in leadership and management. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from National Autonomous University of Mexico, and loves to utilize her creative side when possible. She loves to inspire others and lead by example.
Linda Rae Waggener of Laramie died September 12, 2020, following a long journey with cancer. She was 55. Linda was a Senior Library Assistant at the University of Wyoming Libraries. She began her library career in high school as a page at the Sweetwater County Library. She earned her M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston (now Simmons University) in January 1991. Read her full obituary. While being treated in 2019 for late-stage cancer, Linda earned a master’s degree in American studies at UW, doing extensive research on Wyoming’s Carnegie libraries.
The Fremont County Library System is mourning the death of former librarian Georgia Nations. Georgia and her daughter Kristi Dowers were both killed in vehicle crash on October 1. Georgia retired in 2014 after working 36½ years at the Lander Library. “She truly invested herself in the library through hard work, excellent customer service, and diligence in finding resources for patrons,” FCLS Interim Director Anita Marple, “It was not uncommon for her to race out to a patron’s car if she found one more book to meet their reference need! We will always remember and appreciate the mark Georgia left on our library and community.”
Fern Stringham retired from the Western Wyoming Community College Hay Library after 32 years of “joyful, and admirable service to our library, students, staff, public, and library plants.” Her last day at the library was August 28. Her coworkers wrote on Facebook, “Fern, you are one of the most authentic people we’ve ever known, and it’s been our privilege to have worked alongside you. Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement.”
Derrick Mason is an educator, creative, motivator, and entrepreneur bringing over 15 years of library experience to his role as Innovative Media and Learning Spaces Librarian at the University of Wyoming Libraries. His tenure in librarianship has awarded him the opportunity to work with diverse populations ranging from working class neighborhoods to affluent suburban communities. He has engaged in educational programs with at-risk urban youth and tech-curious senior citizens. When not tinkering with his latest gadget, Derrick enjoys photography, cross country road trips, genealogy, pro wrestling, and cheering on the Cleveland Browns.
EvaLyn Flores, Laramie County Library System Early Literacy Outreach Specialist, was selected as a recipient of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) Rising Star Award. She started her job June 2018 and is responsible for developing and implementing the library’s First Steps: Literacy Begins at Home program. The award recognizes the achievements of those new to library outreach, who display a passion for the bookmobile and outreach profession, both at work and through volunteer or association activities. Rising Star Award Candidates must have worked in this field for five years or less. ABOS announced this and other new awards this year in honor of their 15th anniversary.
Larissa Stalcup joined Campbell County Public Library System in August as their Administrative Services Manager. Larissa and her husband Tyler are Gillette natives who moved back to Gillette from Grinnell, Iowa two years ago when they purchased a local business. In Iowa, Larissa was art director at Grinnell College for eight years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, communication arts, and marketing and a minor in commercial art from Black Hills State University. Larissa spends most of her non-work days camping and hiking with her husband and two boys, Turner and Tucker.
Paula Martin has joined the University of Wyoming Libraries faculty as the new Assistant Dean, User Services. A native of Missouri, Paula holds a Master of Library and Information Science Degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Truman State University. She started her library career working in architecture and engineering libraries before switching to academic libraries. She’s worked in reference, instruction, circulation, electronic resources management, and most recently as the Director of Holman Library at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. She has also taught in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Stacia Berry joined Laramie County Library System as a member of its Board of Directors. She is an attorney who serves as the Deputy Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. She looks forward to contributing to the success of Laramie County Library System and ensuring that everyone in the community can continue to access its wonderful services.
Isabel Zumel has left Teton County Library after 15 years as its Assistant Director. She served on the Wyoming Library Association Legislative Committee from 2015 to 2018. She’s joining the One22 Resource Center as Director of Education and Outreach. One22 is a human services organization which most recently has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency financial relief to Teton County families affected by the COVID-19 economic downturns.
Brittany Morton is the new Public Services Manager for the Powell Library. Brittany graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Minor in Creative Writing, and she is currently working toward her MLIS from the University of Illinois She worked as a Student Assistant at the Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections for two years, managing their social media and public outreach efforts and at the American Heritage Center as a Scan Technician Brittany’s has a passion for her public libraries and hopes to protect her community’s right to information.
Lida Volin is retiring at the end of August after 45 years of working for the Natrona County Library. Lida grew up in Casper and graduated from Kelly Walsh High School. She’s served in many positions during her tenure, including shelver, clerk-typist, Information Service Technician II, Library Assistant II and, since 1991, her current position as Interlibrary Loan Clerk. Known to many in Wyoming as the “Queen of ILL,” her assistance to the genealogy community and with interlibrary loans is particularly noteworthy. Locating books across Wyoming and the United States to meet thousands of patron requests annually is her specialty. Lida has seen many changes during her time at the library, from the introduction of computers and automation to the addition of formats that did not even exist in 1975 such as audiobooks on CDs, video games, and downloadable eContent. Her suggestions to researchers and willingness to provide assistance helps save them time and frustration, and her concerted efforts to find the item they need or want is one of the characteristics that makes her so valuable and special to Natrona County. When asked how she plans to spend some of her time in retirement, she laughed and said for years she’s been keeping track of books she wants to read some day. She has a file folder two inches thick with these titles and has already started the ILL process on a few not owned by her local library. To join the library in a celebration of Lida, cards may be sent to her c/o NCPL 307 E 2nd St, Casper, WY 82601.
Oscar Gittemeier brings a passion for community engagement and collaboration to Teton County Library at its new Director of Library Services. His first day at the library was July 13.
Prior to joining TCL he was the Outreach Manager for Adult Services at Fulton County Library System in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to an MS in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University, he has extensive education in management and leadership. In 2020 he served as the Vice-President/President-Elect of the Georgia Library Association.
In Atlanta, he worked closely with the Georgia Public Library Service and surrounding counties to launch program exchanges across county lines, explore resource sharing, and host large regional outreach programs that brought together libraries from across the state.
For many reasons, he knew Teton County was the right place for him. “One of our greatest strengths is the dedicated staff members that, despite the pandemic, are finding innovative ways to reach all our patrons. When I looked at the Teton County Library I found a team of joyful, engaged professionals.”
In addition to curbside service and virtual programs, TCL staff are exploring ways to Book a Librarian for a personally curated virtual browsing experience inside the library. This would serve immunocompromised patrons who are unable to come into community spaces as well as older patrons struggling with isolation.
“The TCL team is creative, thoughtful, and agile, which is necessary when adapting to a global pandemic,” Oscar said. “We’re innovating to serve all of our patrons regardless of ability or medical condition.”
Another strength Oscar sees at the library is its patrons and stakeholders. “The community, Foundation, and Friends support are remarkable. Teton County patrons absolutely love their public library and strongly support library initiatives.”
He added, “The views in Jackson aren’t too bad either. I ride my bike to work every day gazing at the mountains and enjoying the breeze off of Flat Creek. It’s the type of commute I could only dream of in Atlanta.”
Oscar hopes to build on TCL’s successes and build a larger library presence throughout Teton County, including Moran, Moose, and Hoback. He’s currently meeting with staff to explore outreach ideas like book vending machines, 24/7 lockers for holds, collaborations with community stakeholders, and curated gift deliveries from the library.
“Just before I left Atlanta we were launching Novel Deliveries, which is curated content specifically for you or a loved one. You simply complete a form to tell the library about a couple of your favorite books or movies and we curate content based on your interests and send you direct links to instantly stream or download movies, audiobooks, eBooks, and magazines. It’s a great way to reach out to your neighbors or loved ones while you’re physically distancing during the pandemic. I hope to launch a similar service in Teton County.”
He also has an interest in circulating non-traditional library items like GoPro cameras, binoculars, bear cans, and other items that might be popular in Teton County.
With the economic downturn and patrons out of work, he’s looking into ways to create an entrepreneurship hub and makerspace. This might include quiet rooms with videoconferencing equipment for interviews, skill building workshops, and technology workshops paired with print and digital collections.
“With a few key pieces of equipment, local makers, businesses, and non-profits could visit the library to create their own videos, commercials, or PSAs. Artists could record music, local stakeholders could host podcasts, and photographers could utilize editing software.”
He’s been impressed not just with his own library, but with the wider Wyoming library community. “In the short time I’ve been here I can already tell there’s a tight-knit, supportive library community in Wyoming. I absolutely love the statewide collaborations and resource sharing.” He’s now a member the Wyoming Library Association and looks forward to connecting with others at the 2020 virtual conference.
“I’m excited to learn from my colleagues around the state and connect with community partners. I’m just a phone call away if you ever want to chat about library collaboration. If you are ever in Jackson please stop by the library to say hello!”
The Park County Library Board has selected Karen Horner as its new system director. She will officially join the library on August 24.
Born and raised in California, Karen is currently the Cultural Services Agency Director and County Librarian for Mendocino County, California. In that role, she oversees five library branches, the bookmobile and outreach mobile unit, the county museum, and all county parks. She has an MLIS from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in Agriculture, with a specialization in wildland/rangeland management.
She and her family have lived in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Hawaii. She’d been interested in relocating from California, so she jumped at the chance when this opportunity arose.
“I’ve been a lifelong fan of Wyoming,” Karen said, “and it’s always been on my list of states I would like to move too. I’ve visited Wyoming a few times, the first in 1989 to Cody as a tourist. The culture and lifestyle in Wyoming seem to suit my family, as we appreciate the isolation and ruggedness.”
She knows she faces challenges ahead in these unusual times. “This year saw libraries throughout the country close down, which was something I thought we would never see. We’re now exploring the future of public libraries and how they will move forward. As our community workplaces change, public libraries will continue to be the hub of the community, a place where people can access not only information online, but can access materials, books, and connect to their community.”
Her close-knit family is excited to relocate to Park County. She and her husband Marty have been together for over 30 years. They have two children, a son in college who works as a firefighter and a daughter who is a high school senior involved in FFA and sports.
“I look forward to connecting with everyone and becoming part of the community,” Karen said. “When everything else is changing, the libraries will still be bastions of familiarity and become even more relevant in serving their communities beyond online services.”
Jo Otterholt retired from the Wyoming Services for the Deaf Library at the end of May. Jo joined the Wyoming Department of Education in 1989 at the Wyoming School for the Deaf, working with students and managing library resources for students, teachers, and interpreters. After the school closed in 2000, she interpreted and tutored deaf students for Natrona County School District #1 until June 2004, when she rejoined the Dept. of ed to manage Outreach Library Services for the Deaf. In retirement, she looks forward to spending time with her husband, family, and friends as well as fishing-boating, camping and exploring Wyoming. She plans to continue serving on various organizations serving deaf children in Wyoming.
Garrett Randolph left Park County Library in late June. Garrett began as a Children’s Assistant in February 2018, coming to the library with no formal training, but with a winning personality and real love for kids. He was responsible for storytimes, and worked at the circulation desk. Garrett is pursuing a full-time music career in eastern Oregon as part of “R&M”, an acoustic guitar duo. Their latest album is “American Spirits.” His coworkers wish him all the very best – he will be missed in Cody!
Brenda Ariosto is the new Resource Specialist at the Wyoming Services for the Deaf Library. She’s a graduate of Kelly Walsh High School, born and raised in Wyoming. Brenda has worked for the State of Wyoming for six years, and she and her husband own Action Glass in Casper. She’s a competitive shooter and avid rockhound, and loves the outdoor lifestyle — camping, fishing, four-wheeling and just out for drives any chance she gets. Her husband, two children, eight (soon to be nine) grandchildren, and one great-grandchild are the center of her life. “My family comes first in anything and everything I do,” Brenda said. “I’m blessed beyond measure to have all of them right here in Wyoming.”
Anne Stowe retired from Sublette County Library in June after spending 19 years at the Pinedale Library. Ann was the overseer of the audiovisual collection and could recommend the perfect movie or audiobook without hesitation. She patiently taught many a patron how to download and enjoy the digital resources. Ann is looking forward to enjoying her grandson Solomon and traveling in her retirement.
Travis Pollok, Legislative Librarian at the Wyoming State Library, has received the Southern New Hampshire University 2020 Distinguished Scholar Award. The award is given to students with the highest final GPA in their program and recognizes the achievements of graduating Global Campus students. Travis received a Masters of History in Military History from SNHU last year.
David Brown has joined the University of Wyoming Libraries as the Regional Medical Library Membership Coordinator for the MidContinental Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM). David holds a doctorate of education with a specialization in health education from Teachers College, Columbia University and he holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. In addition he holds two Masters of Arts Degrees from Columbia University — one in computers and education and another in health education. He is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) and has been involved in training public heath professionals for the last 15 years, teaching and supervising research in health education and public health at a number of universities in both the United States and abroad.
Jennifer Strayer will join the University of Wyoming Libraries as a Collection Development Librarian in late May. She is coming to Wyoming from Indiana University Libraries in Bloomington, Indiana where she served as an assistant in the Collection Management Department. During her three years at IU Libraries, Jennifer developed an appreciation for data-driven collection management and aided in the replacement, withdrawal, and transfer of print materials. Jennifer holds an MLS from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Musicology and History from Hastings College (Hastings, Nebraska).
Conrrado Saldivar, an Adult Services Specialist at Natrona County Library, who also moonlights as a graduate student, was recently selected for the University of Washington’s 2020 “Husky 100,” an honor awarded to graduate and undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence inside the classroom and beyond. The Husky 100 celebrates students who show a commitment to leadership, engagement, and community impact. With over 1,700 nominations by peers, faculty, and staff, Conrrado was one of only ten students selected from the UW iSchool.
Susan Wynne is rejoining the University of Wyoming Libraries as the new Discovery & Metadata Librarian. She was previously a Catalog Librarian at UW from 2006-2012. Other prior positions include five years as the Cataloging & Metadata Librarian at Georgia State University, and most recently, Catalog Management Librarian at the University of Iowa Libraries. In her 20+ year library career, Susan has published and presented on topics such as RDA (Resource Description and Access), next-generation catalogs, oral histories, and batch processes in library catalog systems.
Dr. Judy Pasek, a STEM Liaison Librarian at the University of Wyoming since 2014, won the Best Professional Written Paper Award from the 2020 Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium (RMBS) Board. Although this year’s symposium was canceled, her paper on “Publication Trends in Bioengineering, 1963 – 2019” will be published in the journal Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation. Judy provides library instruction and research services primarily to UW’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Psychology Department within the College of Arts and Sciences. She earned a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Wayne State University. Prior to becoming a librarian, she developed expertise in the sciences by holding entomology positions of increasing responsibility with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Pasek has a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Nebraska, a M.S. in entomology from the University of Missouri, and a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan.
Mary Cushing retired from Laramie County Library System on April 7. Mary worked as a Branch Specialist in the Pine Bluffs library for 22 years, running everything from adult book clubs to weekly storytimes where she created a model for working with local daycares and elementary schools. She acted as a mentor to other staff members and played a pivotal role in connecting the Pine Bluffs community to the library’s programs and resources, including the annual Summer Reading Celebration. Mary’s dedication to every patron who walked through the library’s doors was incredible and made an impact on the community. She will be deeply missed by the Laramie County Library System as she sets out on what is sure to be another fulfilling chapter of her life.
Chad Hutchens, an Associate Librarian and Head of Digital Collections at the University of Wyoming Libraries, is the recipient of UW’s 2020 Agnes Milstead Distinguished Librarianship Award. The award recognizes Hutchens for his leadership, collaboration, innovation and commitment to service to UW Libraries’ mission. He oversees the implementation and sharing of digital collections along with the management of multiple repositories. A librarian at UW since 2008, Hutchens has achieved several professional accomplishments, including adapting existing practices to incorporate innovative and unique ways of thinking; developing open source materials; improving metadata practices; and expanding the roles within Digital Collections to build a robust department.
Frances Clymer is retiring April 30 after 15 years as Director of the Park County Library System.
Before she came to the library system, Frances was a librarian for the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (formerly the Buffalo Bill Historical Center). She came to the Center part-time in 1983. In 1993, she moved from working as a curatorial assistant into the Center’s McCracken Research Library, where she served as its Librarian from 1997-2005.
Frances has a master’s degree in medieval studies from the University of Poitiers in France and also did graduate work on a double major in French and art history at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Still, she said, “From the time I was in college, I always seemed to gravitate toward libraries.”
She was a bibliographic researcher in the Watson Library when she attended the University of Kansas, which gave her the freedom to explore what were then closed stacks. After she married and moved to Arizona, she became a clerk for the Arizona State University Hayden Library and worked for the university’s art history department, organizing the images in their slide library.
“I was always organizing information and interacting with interesting people and learning new things,” she said of these experiences. “It was just wonderful.”
After she joined the McCracken Library, she decided to pursue an MLIS from Emporia State University through their distance program. Much of the work was done online — to the scream of a 9600 KB modem back in those days. Peter Hassrick, director of the BBHC at the time, gave her professional leave to attend her in-person Emporia classes in Denver.
One of her proudest accomplishments as director was when the library moved in October 2008 from an antiquated building into its current location at 1500 Heart Mountain Street. The new library occupies the entire lower level of what used to be an oil company building that Park County purchased during a downturn. The County put forward money and obtained a matching grant from the State Loan and Investment Board. The Library Foundation raised more than $100,000 to contribute, which was the largest single private donation the county ever received.
As significant as that was, it doesn’t top her list. “What I’m most proud of is the staff,” she said. We have wonderful, competent people who are welcoming and informed in all three of our libraries — Cody, Powell, and Meeteetse. What I’m most pleased with is how wonderfully supportive and welcoming we are, and how essential we’ve become to our communities.”
The library’s support of its community has been evident during the current pandemic crisis. “Even right now, when we’re closed to public traffic, all three libraries are providing circulation through curbside pickup. That was the staff’s idea — they stepped up and they did it.” In fact, Cody Library Manager Nicholle Gerharter ran the statistics and discovered that from March 16-31 they circulated or renewed more than 9,000 items, even though they were closed.
The public health crisis is complicating the search for a new director, but Frances said, “My hope is that the board will find a candidate for a new director who has newer skills and different areas of knowledge to drive the library system forward in the next decade. Someone who is a good fit for the community. When you’re moving into a small town whether from across the state or another state, you need to have the skill set to be able to integrate yourself into a community gracefully.”
Her retirement plans include family, of course. She has a four-year-old grandson in Laramie and another grandchild on the way, so once restrictions are lifted, she’ll be able to spend more time with children and grandchildren.
She’ll also keep a hand in libraries with some planned research projects. Years ago she began gathering information on those who contributed to the Powell Library Club Cookbook in 1909 to raise money for a library in that community. It took some time — it was the 1920s before Powell got a physical library — “But they were undaunted, and they kept raising money.” She also wants to do histories of all the Park County libraries.
Margret “Maggie” Sullivan passed away on Friday, March 13. Maggie was the longtime Public Services Manager at the Powell Library in the Park County Library system and a graduate of the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute.
“She was hilarious, so intelligent and incredibly thoughtful,” said Faith Johnson, Branch Manager. “Her passing is such a loss to our community.” Faith added that Maggie found out that her cancer had returned last October. She started treatment in January and fought hard until the end.
In late February, she wrote her last article for the Powell Tribune, “I am Thankful for Your Stories.” Read it here.