Category Archives: Uncategorized

Social Distance, Civic Duty, and the Census

People all across the country are social distancing and have time on their hands right now. It’s important to remember; it has never been easier to respond to the census on your own — online, by phone, or by mail — without ever having to meet a census taker face-to-face.

The 2020 Census is now open for response! Remember, you don’t need to leave your house or need an invitation to complete your questionnaire — you can submit your information online, by mail, and by phone right now.

What can we do when our libraries are closed? Here, we address serving patrons during a pandemic (i.e. via social media, email blasters, newsletters, and phone calls). If you have further questions, please contact Jessica Dawkins at (307) 777-6337 or

What’s new?

Self-response is open and has been extended to receive submissions until July 14, 2020 (subject to change at the U.S. Census Bureau’s discretion). April 1st is still Census Day. Your library can plan a social media campaign to spread the word on April 1st — use the graphics below (click each image to view full size and download), or make your own. Use #Census2020, #CountOnLibraries, and #WyomingCounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more. You can also use these graphics in emails and newsletters to your patrons. We can still make an impact in our communities, and in the Wyoming count, even if we aren’t seeing each other face-to-face right now.

From the American Library Association: “Even if their buildings are closed to the public, libraries can inform their communities about the 2020 Census by sharing information by social media, email, or newsletter. For resources, see the Census Bureau’s outreach materials, or materials from partners like Sesame Workshop, Seussville, and Nickelodeon. Use the hashtag #CountOnLibraries on social media to join the conversation.”

Patrons and coworkers may be feeling helpless right now. The census is one rway to help yourself, your family, and your community. It takes less time to complete than it takes to drink a cup of coffee. It¦s easy, important, and safe — these are the things your patrons want to feel right now.

How are you promoting the 2020 Census during these closures? We want to know! Email or, or tweet us @WyoLibraries.

What’s next?

Here are some ideas to move your library’s crucial Census 2020 journey forward during these current events:

  • Add a message to your email signature saying your organization supports the 2020 Census and a complete count in Wyoming
  • Send an e-blast to patrons and colleagues that self-response is now open and easier than ever
  • Add a link to the website on your library’s home page
  • Pin a post to the top your social media pages
  • Take a pledge to complete your census questionnaire and challenge your friends and family to do the same (here)
  • Put a 2020 Census frame on your library’s Facebook profile picture, add 2020 Census stickers to your Instagram stories
  • Issue a challenge to another library or organization in your community using the Response Rate Challenge Toolkit

Watch the response as it happens — the U.S. Census Bureau launched a new online map as part of its 2020 Census Response Rate Challenge. This will be updated every day in the afternoon.

Recap from last week: There is a COVID-19 task force established within the Bureau to track news, rumors, and to communicate with federal, state, and local health authorities. Regardless of this situation, the U.S. Census Bureau must fulfill the constitutional obligation and their core task of counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place, and have taken great measures to prioritize the safety and well-being of U.S. residents and census workers even before this event. The more questionnaires completed, the fewer houses census representatives will need to visit.

To help promote real information about the 2020 Census and to stay up to date with official census news, follow the U.S. Census Bureau on their official social media accounts, where you can share Census 2020 content with your patrons directly from the source:

More resources:

WSL Closed to Public

The Wyoming State Library is closed to the public until further notice.

Although our doors are closed to walk-in patrons, all services and staff are operating. We are here for you by phone or email — please don’t hesitate to contact us. You may reach our main desk at or (307) 777-6333, or you can find contact information for specific people on our Staff & Department Directory.

Disaster Planning for Libraries

The current pandemic may have you thinking of emergency preparedness in general, not just for this crisis. Right now it’s Coronavirus (and you can find resources on that here), but there are many types of disasters that can affect your library and community — floods, fires, weather disasters, shootings, and more. Do you and your staff know what to do in the event the worst happens? Your library needs to have a solid plan for disasters and emergencies of all types. Fortunately, you have resources available.

The Idaho Commission for Libraries has put out a good article on “Disaster Planning for Libraries and Library Users: Making a Difference During Difficult Times” that offers some basics.

The New Jersey State Library has put together a great set of resources on their Disaster Preparedness & Recovery page. It includes their Librarian’s Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency Guidebook and Workbook, presentations, webinars, links, and more.

The Colorado State Library is offering a free CSL in session webinar, “Disaster Planning and Assistance for Libraries,” on Thursday, March 26 from 12-1 p.m. In this interactive webinar, the Colorado Cultural and Historic Resources Task Force  members will offer guidance on how to create and use a disaster plan, partner with first responders, and protect your collections from damage. The assistance part of it may be more Colorado-centric, but know that in Wyoming, you can always contact the Wyoming State Library’s Library Development Office for help in a crisis.

The Wyoming State Library has a collection of professional library science materials available to you. Here is our recommended reading list from the WSL shelves:

And in the meantime, if you want good information on how to handle the current health crisis, remember that we will be continually updating our Guide to COVID-19 for Libraries to ensure that you have the resources you need to keep your staff and patrons safe and informed.

Online Conference: ‘Wholehearted Libraries’

Library 2.0 is holding its first Library 2.020 mini-conference, “Wholehearted Libraries,” which will be held online (and for free) on Tuesday, March 10, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm MDT.

Register to attend here.

This mini-conference will explore the human side of 21st-Century information work. The presenters will define what soft skills are, how and when to use various soft skills, types of training that can improve soft skills, and how to share emotionally engaging stories. Learn what libraries are doing now to extend services, create welcoming spaces, and engage users with soft skills such as compassion, empathy, creativity, curiosity, and finding balance.

This event is being organized in partnership with iSchool Associate Professor Michael Stephens.

Wyoming Libraries Prepare for a Complete Count

With a new decade fresh on the horizon, Wyoming libraries should be gearing up for Census 2020. This is the first time the census will be available for online completion, in addition to the usual over-the-phone and mail-in submissions, which patrons across the state may struggle with accessing due to lack of or weak personal internet access. Libraries across Wyoming can be prepared for the count by learning about the 2020 Census, reaching out to their community leaders, and advocating for a Complete Count.

There is a lot of information out there regarding the U.S. Census, which is overwhelming to both staff and patrons — and that’s okay! The Wyoming State Library is here to guide your library staff through the most crucial information on the census. In early January, we’ll send each library in Wyoming a Census 2020 packet containing a Wyoming Library Census 2020 Toolkit with streamlined information, examples of our Wyoming-specific printable promotional materials, and posters and bookmarks provided by the Wyoming Community Foundation.

The Wyoming State Library has created a webpage dedicated to the Census 2020 and Wyoming libraries where you’ll find helpful videos, the WSL Library Census 2020 Toolkit, marketing resources, and more information for patrons as well as resources for trustees, library staff, and resources specifically collected for school and children’s librarians addressing the hard-to-count population of children in Wyoming.

Also starting in January, the Wyoming State Library will send weekly training emails on various census topics, possible situations to prepare for, and further resources. Contact Jessica Dawkins at with any census questions you may have so we can personalize our training to include issues and concerns faced by Wyoming librarians, and to assure that your library and its staff is included in this opportunity.

Learn more at

RBDigital a Hit With Wyomingites

Fun fact! In the last nine months, the RBDigital service through has circulated 27,000 of its 36,000 available unlimited and single use downloadable audiobook titles. With 70% of these coming from titles with less than five total circulations, it goes to show they’re reading more than just the best-sellers out there.

There’s never a wait for most of the State Library’s audiobook offerings, thanks to the launch of RBDigital Unlimited earlier this year. With this service, more than 34,000 of those audiobook titles have unlimited, simultaneous use access, so there’s never a hold list — no matter how many other people are listening to the same book. It adds up to reading choices galore, with no need for your patrons to wait.

In addition, thanks to the contributions of many libraries, the Wyoming State Library still purchases single user titles from publishers like Blackstone, Simon & Schuster Audio, Macmillan, Books on Tape, and Recorded Books within the embargo period of one year.

Want to spread the word among the avid audio readers who frequent your library? RBDigital has marketing materials available that include bookmarks, posters, web images and more. The Wyoming State Library has a LibGuide with more information for librarians on RBDigital, including detailed circulation information.

Webinar CANCELLED: Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming

From the December 11, 1869, Wyoming Weekly Leader.

This webinar has been cancelled. We are working to reschedule it and will announce a new time and date when it becomes available.

Join Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian Chris Van Burgh from 2:15-3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, for a free webinar, “Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming.” Explore resources available to you on this topic from the Wyoming State Library

Register for this free webinar to attend. We’ll also add it to our webinars index page afterward.

New Location in the Works for Washakie County Library

L-R, Terry Livingston, Library Board President; Arron Anderson, County Commissioner; Mary Grace Strauch, County Clerk; Fred Frandson, County Commissioner; Lee and Gerry Kennedy, sellers of the Kennedy Ave Hardware Building; Karen Jean Funk, Washakie County Library Director; and Terry Wolf, County Commissioner.

A new home for the Washakie County Library is in the works. In September, Washakie County Commissioners signed a $525,000 purchase agreement with Lee and Gerry Kennedy for the Ace Hardware building in downtown Worland.

Library Director Karen Funk said the idea of a new space for the library has been on their minds for years, and this opportunity presented itself in March. The library is currently housed in a former hospital with many small spaces and rooms and poor flow throughout.

“We’ve just ‘made do’ with what we had for an incredibly long time,” Karen said. “We’ve struggled with finding enough room for books, programming, and seating — including comfortable seating for families in the children’s room.” Meeting room space and electrical capacity has also been a concern, she said.

Accessibility will be key in the new location. The building has off-street parking on the main street through town. Karen said they hope the greater visibility will increase library use, as well as help with economic growth with a new and dynamic focus to the downtown area.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Karen said. “Our community will have better access to the materials in the library, and the staff will be able to help patrons more efficiently. We’ll also be able to host after-hours meetings for our community in the new space when the main part of the library is closed.”

Closing on the building is set for November 5, and money has been set aside from one-cent sales tax funds for the purchase. In addition to county funding, the library will search for matching grants to help with the renovation and interior needs for the new building.

At this time there’s no timeline in place for the renovation, although the library has a conceptual design in hand. The current owners have up to one year to move, at which time the work of meeting code, adding fire suppression, and installing a new water line the length of the building will begin. New LED lighting, security, and a new front entrance directly accessible from the parking area will all be addressed as those involve engineer a design. Karen estimates the project may take up to two years.

Karen’s excited for the future of the library and what it will mean to local residents. “Washakie County may not be the richest county in the state, but it’s rich in community,” she said. “We plan on giving the people we serve a public library built for the 21st Century — the most valuable, unique resource we can offer that’s free for everyone to use.”

July 2019 Outrider Now Available

Find a wrap-up of the latest in Wyoming library news in the July 2019 Outrider newsletter from the Wyoming State Library. Subscribe today, and we’ll send the Outrider straight to your email inbox each month. You can also see past issues.

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

Grobe Named WLA’s 2019 ‘Outstanding Heroine’

Dolleen Grobe

Washakie County Library volunteer Dolleen Grobe has been named the Wyoming Library Association’s “Outstanding Heroine” for 2019. The award recognizes an outstanding person or group whose hard work has made a difference to a Wyoming library within the last two years.

The public is invited to a reception in her honor at the Ten Sleep Library on Monday, July 15, at 4 p.m. The library is located at 200 North Fir Street in Ten Sleep.

Grobe served two terms on the Washakie County Library Board and then moved to the library’s Foundation Board, working diligently to achieve the Wyoming Library Endowment Challenge goals. Her support of the library, though, goes well above and beyond her service on the two boards.

“She says she’ll do anything for the library that isn’t illegal,” said Karen Funk, Washakie County Library director. Funk nominated Grobe for the award. “When Dolleen makes a commitment to join any organization, she dedicates her time, talents and energy. If she missed a meeting, it would be a shock! She volunteers with purpose and dedication.”

Grobe has been instrumental in the continued transformation of the Ten Sleep Branch Library renovation through her work with the Friends of the Library, and she reviews the Friends scholarships. She’s filled needs for the library’s After the Bell after-school program and provided special items for displays. Her rescue dog Gus visits every day with her, and has become known as “the library dog” to the children who are excited to see him.

“When someone sees Dolleen on the street in our community they see a friendly face that speaks a LIBRARY to them,” Funk said. “Although recognition is not something she desires, we feel the need to honor her. She has our back and we want to recognize her as a person who makes a difference through dedication and volunteerism.”

The Wyoming Library Association is a statewide association that provides leadership to the Wyoming library community and serves as a collective voice and advocate for advancement of Wyoming libraries.