Category Archives: Schools

Wyoming Book Awards Nominees Announced for 2022-23

The Wyoming Library Association’s three book awards committees have announced the nominees for 2022-23. Three book awards are given: the Soaring Eagle (grades 7-12), Indian Paintbrush (grades 4-6), and Buckaroo (grades K-3). These provide an opportunity for the youth of Wyoming to read and select favorite books and to honor the authors of those books.

Learn more and find links to materials for participation on the Wyoming Book Awards page.

The Soaring Eagle Committee is pleased to announce the nominated titles for 2022-2023. Stay tuned for additional resources, but here is the list.

Soaring Eagle logoSoaring Eagle Nominees

  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
  • Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen
  • I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
  • Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller
  • Paul, Big and Small by David Glen Robb
  • Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury
  • You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen McManus
  • Me (Moth) by Amber McBride
  • Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
  • The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

Indian Paintbrush logoIndian Paintbrush Nominees

  • Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
  • The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo
  • Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
  • History Smashers: Mayflower by Kate Messner
  • Linked by Gordon Korman
  • My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker
  • Starfish by Lisa Fipps
  • Switched by Bruce Hale
  • When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson/Omar Mohamed

Buckaroo logoBuckaroo Award Nominees

  • Dear Librarian by Lydia Sigwarth
  • Dragonboy by Fabio Napoleoni
  • Encounter by Brittany Luby
  • Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex
  • King of the Birds by Elisa Gravel
  • A Little Bit Brave by Nicola Kinnear
  • The Sequoia Lives On by Joanna Cooke
  • Snail Crossing by Corey Tabor
  • Sorry (Really Sorry) by Joanna Colter
  • This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis

Wyoming Humanities Names 2022 Letters About Literature Winners

The Wyoming Center for the Book, now operating under the Wyoming Humanities umbrella, announced this year’s winners of the annual Letters About Literature contest for the state’s youth.

In this program, students in grades 4-12 are invited to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) of a book that changed their lives. More than 260 students from across Wyoming participated in this year’s event.

This year’s winners and their chosen books are:

Grades 4-6

  • 1st Place: Caroline Childers, Lander – “Out of My Mind” by Sharon Draper
  • 2nd Place: Arya Ghormley, Lander – “Keeper of the Lost Cities” by Shannon Messenger
  • 3rd Place: Charlotte Osborne, Lander – “Helpers” by Nate Long
  • Honorable Mention: Kimberly Weber, Lander – “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Grades 7-8

  • 1st Place: Kailee Grimes, Pinedale – “The Histories” by Herodotus
  • 2nd Place: Royce Hancock, Riverton – “All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome” by Kathy Hoopmann
  • 3rd Place: Evie Mushlock, Shell – “Refugee by Alan Gratz
  • Honorable Mention: Elsie Bott, Riverton – “Fablehaven” by Brandon Mull

Grades 9-12

  • 1st Place: Malorie Bender, Lander – “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” by Emily Danforth
  • 2nd Place: Parker Zoe Jackson, Laramie – “Throne of Glass” Series by Sarah Maas
  • 3rd Place: Ethan Cearlock, Powell – “The Stranger” by Albert Camus
  • Honorable Mention: Alexandra Tibbets, Green River – “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Winners received Amazon gift cards worth $150 for first place, $100 for second, and $50 for third.

For more information about Wyoming Humanities and its programs, visit Information about the Wyoming Center for the Book can be directed to Lucas Fralick at or 307.660.0729.

Wyoming Historical Society Seeks Nominations for Youth Awards

Teen girl working on homework with large stack of books on deskDo you know a young historian? A student in grades 3-12 who has done something in their school or community to add to Wyoming’s historical legacy?

The Wyoming State Historical Society and its federation of statewide chapters seeks nominations of students and teachers who have done outstanding work in preserving and interpreting Wyoming history during the last year.

Nomination postmark deadline is June 1. See the Awards Manual for details.

The Young Historian Category recognizes original projects by students in elementary, junior high and high school. Projects produced will be judged on new or previously unpublished information obtained through interviews or research or can be a creative presentation of previously known facts or information. Junior Activities Awards might include a student or group of students who have researched and explored an historic site in their county which may have led to the marking of a site. Students may have promoted educational activities that promote a better understanding of local and/or state history.

For specific information categories that honor students and/or educators, review the Awards Manual or contact Linda Fabian at to receive an electronic copy.

WLA Youth Services Interest Group Gathers in Buffalo

Group of people gathered on library steps
The YSIG meeting at the Johnson County Library drew a crowd eager to see each other’s faces after virtual meetings the last two years.

After two years of no face-to-face meetings, the Wyoming Library Association Youth Services Interest Group (YSIG) was finally able to get together in person. The YSIG Annual Spring Meeting was held in Buffalo, at the Johnson County Public Library on May 5-6, 2022. On Thursday evening, several youth services librarians met for dinner, catching up, and more than a few hugs.

Group of people standing in library
Johnson County Library Director Steve Rzasa giving the group a tour.

On May 6, 31 librarians from around Wyoming gathered for the Intellectual Freedom and Book Challenges roundtable. Sitting on the panel were Darcy Acord, Campbell County Public Library Youth Services Manager; Jennisen Lucas, District Librarian for Park County School District #6 and AASL President; and Conrrado Saldivar, Wyoming State Library Outreach and Development Librarian and WLA President. These three spoke of their experiences with recent book challenges and the organizations behind the challenges. It was an illuminating discussion and culminated with librarians sharing strategies for handling such challenges.

People at tables watching presenter with image of website on wall screen
Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian Chris Van Burgh did training on resources.

There was also an update on the WLA partnership with EveryLibrary to work with Wyoming libraries on these issues. Following the roundtable was the interest group meeting. After lunch Chris Van Burgh, Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian, provided training, then Janet Tharp (retired) did a session on storytelling. It was a fruitful meeting with everyone coming away not only with a better sense of the threats facing libraries but also with a better sense of the strength and resolve of our Wyoming librarians.

Two women performing clapping game with palms of both hands together
(Left to right) Becky Prelle, Youth Services Coordinator for Campbell County Public Library System, and Janet Tharp, a retired librarian, during Janet’s session on storytelling.
Group walking down a small town, downtown street with restaurants and shops
The group checking out Buffalo’s historic downtown.

UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium Launches K-12 Initiative

Volunteer Madison Dale, of Laramie, shows the 1 millionth plant specimen — a Wyoming Indian paintbrush — mounted at UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium in 2020. Phenomenon-based lessons that use the resources of the world-class herbarium are now available to K-12 educators and students in Wyoming. (UW Photo)

From UW News

The Rocky Mountain Herbarium at the University of Wyoming has long welcomed students of all ages. Now, the herbarium’s leaders are working to make it accessible to teachers and students in classrooms across the state who cannot travel to UW’s main campus.

Matt Bisk, a graduate student from Mount Laurel, N.J., in UW’s Science and Math Teaching Center and graduate assistant to the UW Biodiversity Institute, created phenomenon-based lessons that use the resources of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium. Phenomenon-based learning requires students to explore and explain an observable phenomenon.

Explicit connections to Wyoming science standards are provided for all grade levels; however, most of the lessons may be most appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students.

Resources and lesson suggestions are provided so that students can continue their explorations in multiple directions, including the information and supplies for students and teachers to begin exploring and documenting the diversity of plants in their communities by building their own herbarium.

In addition to the online resources, educators can request the loan of a kit that includes supplies to support student activities, such as full-size prints of the specimens, books, native grass seeds and even a plant press.

Find the online resources and request a kit.

The Rocky Mountain Herbarium has long been a leader in specimen digitization, and its database and images are used daily by researchers around the world. However, those resources have not, until now, been readily accessible to K-12 students and educators.

Learn more on UW News.

Free, Online Forum to Address Post-COVID School Libraries

Libraries Today logo

An upcoming Libraries.Today national forum will address the challenges and opportunities for post-COVID school libraries. The event will be held virtually May 16, 18, and 21 with daily keynotes, panel discussions, and pre-recorded videos.

The forum is free to join and registration is open now. The event was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.


  • May 16 – Roger Rosen – Daily Topic: Information Under Attack
  • May 18 – Amy Hermon – Daily Topic: COVID Changes/Challenges Debrief
  • May 21 – Mark Ray – Daily Topic: Looking Ahead for Solutions


Jennisen Lucas will be among the speakers and will address self censorship. Jennisen is the District Librarian for Park County School District #6 in Cody, Wyoming, and currently serves as the President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). She has been a school librarian for 20 years, has achieved National Board Certification, and been an active member of the Wyoming Library Association and AASL by serving on a variety of committees.

While the target audience is school librarians, there is an interesting mix of speakers addressing a variety of topics. Panelists will include KC Boyd, Diana Rendina, Carolyn Foote, Leslie Preddy, Keith Curry Lance, John Silva, and many more. Pre-recorded videos for discussion will be available from Dr. Stephen Krashen, Dr. Debbie Reese, Steve Potash, and other notables.

More information

This will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous sessions with full recordings and replay for everything so librarians can join as they are able and tune in later to catch up on what they missed.

Learn more and register.

Questions? Contact Erin Qiilu Hollingsworth at

Educator Resources About Misinformation and Disinformation

Boy with down syndrome reading a newspaper The North Dakota State Library has compiled this useful list of educator resources on misinformation and disinformation that we’re reposting from their blog.

News Literacy Project

The News Literary Project ( offers educators a variety of resources, both to use with students and as personal references. These resources include:

  1. Checkology – An e-learning platform for students in grades six through twelve; teaches lessons using real-world examples, news clips, and stories.
  2. Resource Library – This resource contains classroom activities, as well as infographics and posters; lessons are broken down by age group: fourth to sixth grade, seventh to ninth, and tenth and beyond.
  3. Newsroom to Classroom – This program brings journalists, either virtually or in-person, to middle and high school classrooms.
  4. The Sift – A weekly newsletter that highlights media news, recent examples of misinformation, as well as prompts and tips for classroom discussions and activities.
  5. Is that a Fact? Podcast – Podcast episodes pertaining to news stories and major events; available from numerous platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, and Amazon Music.
  6. Virtual Rumor Rundown – Review of examples of mis-and-disinformation with news literacy lessons and insights.
  7. Informable App – An app that tests literacy know-how in a game-like format; can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.

News Literacy Project resources may be accessed at -> For Educator (under the hamburger icon) -> Educator Tools for the Classroom.


Newseum ( offers lesson plans, artifacts, videos, and historical events analysis for students in third grade through adulthood. Items can be sorted by “Type of Tool,” Topic,” and “Grade.” Some of the materials are copyrighted and require a (free) account signup.

News Guard

News Guard ( rates online content, with humans being the primary judges, using nine criteria of trustworthiness. News stories must show the following to be deemed reliable:

  1. Does not repeatedly publish false content
  2. Gathers and presents information responsibly
  3. Regularly corrects or clarifies errors
  4. Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly
  5. Avoids deceptive headlines
  6. Website discloses ownership and financing
  7. Clearly labels advertising
  8. Reveals who is in charge, including possible conflicts of interest
  9. The site provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information

Each online resource is given a numerical value between 0-100. The closer to 100, the higher the likelihood that a source provides credible information. Badges of green (credible), red (not credible), satire (not considered news, meant strictly for entertainment), and platform (unable to rate due to too many different creators) are also given. Nutrition labels occupy these ratings to better explain their reasoning.

Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)

Society of Professional Journalists ( outlines the code of ethical journalism. Such qualities include seeking the truth and reporting it, minimizing harm, acting independently, and being accountable and transparent. This resource offers various infographics and discussion questions for evaluating reliability in reported news.

Voting Now Open for Wyoming Book Awards

Boy reading book sitting on floor in school libraryAttention Wyoming school and youth services librarians! Voting is now open for all Wyoming Book Awards.

Please collect and cast votes for the Buckaroo, Indian Paintbrush, and Soaring Eagle awards until March 15. The forms are also posted online:

Nominations for next year’s awards are also needed and encouraged! These are due by March 1:

Questions? Contact Melissa Snider, Wyoming Book Awards Advisor, at

Wyoming Letters About Literature Deadline Extended

How did an author’s work change your view of the world? Or even of yourself?

Wyoming students in grades 4-12 are invited to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) of a book that changed their lives. Sponsored by Wyoming Humanities, the 2022 Wyoming Letters About Literature Contest is accepting submissions.

The submission deadline has been extended until March 4.

Complete information including the submission form can be found at and searching “Letters About Literature.”

The program promotes the excitement and value of reading and writing. Entries will be judged at the state level in three age categories: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12. Winners will receive an Amazon gift card worth $150 for first place, $100 for second, or $50 for third.

This contest is presented as part of the Wyoming Center for the Book, now housed with Wyoming Humanities.

Guidelines and entry forms may also be found by contacting Lucas Fralick at or (307) 721-9243.

Short Bytes for the K-12 Library Community

Portrait of smiling African American elementary school age girl carrying stack of books in school library.From the Colorado Virtual Library blog

Announcing the first installment of the Short Bytes mini-newsletter from the Colorado State Library! This twice-a-month short-bytes newsletter (posted on the Colorado Virtual Library blog) will feature short articles and information they’ve culled on promising K-12 librarian/library staff practice, timely issues, and more. Resources from this issue focus on recent upticks in challenges to library materials and programs.

Censorship, Challenges, and Intellectual Freedom – Some Basics

Censorship, challenges, and intellectual freedom are important aspects of any librarian’s job. We have a responsibility to select materials appropriate to our student’s age level, while simultaneously protecting our young learners’ intellectual freedom as well as their right to read.

Due to the recent uptick in challenges, we encourage you to:

  • Read ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and ALA’s Challenge Support. Reflect on what things you learned from this.
  • Check your district or school’s policies around challenged books. Do you have a reconsideration form and process for what to do in the event of challenged materials? Do you have a district selection policy and/or one that has been recently updated?

Protecting a Student’s Right to Read

Listen to a recent webinar from ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom entitled “Protecting a Student’s Right to Read in a Hyperpartisan Environment.”Reflect on how you could get your younger learners and adult learners (staff and parents) as fellow advocates if/when you are challenged.

Compelling Read

We encourage you to read this recent article entitled “Librarians Fight Back Against Efforts to Ban Books in Schools” from Education Weekly. The article offers some insights into challenges, including how to tap into our younger learners to become our materials/program challenge advocates.

Finding Help from the WSL

Do you have questions about issues in your school library? Contact Paige Bredenkamp, Wyoming State Library School Library Consultant, at or (307) 777-6331.