Category Archives: WLA

WLA Open Conversations on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Stack of wooden blocks read, "Equity, Diversity, Inclusion"The Wyoming Library Association’s EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee has restarted its Open Conversation series to discuss issues and topics that affect library workers and the patrons they serve. Each month, short reading prompts are sent out prior to the virtual event to give context for the Conversation.

January’s conversation focused on microaggressions. These resources were shared at the event:

Upcoming events are scheduled for February 15 to discuss Critical Race Theory and March 15 to discuss pronoun use. Contact Conrrado Saldivar at for registration information if you would like to attend.

Wyoming Book Award Nomination Forms Open

Elementary school girl reading book sitting on the floor of a library in bookshelf aisle reading book.The Wyoming Book Awards committees are now accepting nominations for books to include on the 2022-2023 book lists.

Nominations are due by March 1, 2022, and librarians are encouraged to begin submitting titles as soon as possible so that committees can begin reading. Nominees must be published within the past five years (2017 or later).

Visit the Wyoming Library Association’s webpages for each award, or use these links to submit nominations from your students or patrons:

One of the unique aspects of the Wyoming Book Awards is that they are truly kid-driven. The committees hope to solicit as many ideas for next year’s book lists as possible, from all corners of the state.

Tasty Treats Needed for 2022 WLA Legislative Reception

Potluck dinner crock pots ready to be served indoors.The 2022 Wyoming Library Association legislative reception will be held on Thursday, February 17, at the Wyoming State Library, 2800 Central Ave. in Cheyenne, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The event will be preceded by a legislative update at 5 p.m.

Library directors, employees, trustees, and volunteers are encouraged to be there. It’s a great opportunity to thank your Wyoming senators, representatives, and elected officials for their support of libraries and to offer them an evening of home-cooked food.

We need your help to make the potluck feast happen! Appetizers, hot dishes, sides, salads, and desserts are all welcome. If you would like to attend and bring something for the potluck dinner, contact Susan Mark at or (307) 777-5915. Please indicate whether you will need an electrical outlet for hot dishes.

Monetary donations toward the reception are also welcome. Make checks payable to the Wyoming Library Association and indicate in the memo line that it’s for the legislative reception. Mail to WLA at:

Wyoming Library Association
1190 Meramec Station Road, Suite 207
Ballwin MO 63021

Changes to Wyoming Library Association Executive Board

Wyoming Library Association mountains logoFrom the Wyoming Library Association

Jeff Collins, Wyoming Library Association President, and Jacob Mickelson, Past President, have accepted positions out of state and will be resigning from these roles.

Vice President Conrrado Saldivar will step into the role of President. At the January 11, 2022 meeting, the Executive Board will take action to appoint Katrina Brown, Library Director at Casper College and past WLA President, as Past President to complete Jake’s term through September 2022.

The nominating committee is seeking a member to serve as Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer position is a new position from the Bylaws update approved by membership in October 2021.

If you are interested in running or nominating someone for election in January, please contact Jeff Collins by January 10, 2022.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Resources

Stacked wooden blocks read "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion"As part of the Wyoming Library Association EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee’s ongoing efforts, they’ll highlight interesting programs, webinars, workshops, and resources that support the WLA’s EDI Statement. The hope is to share ideas of how to incorporate EDI into programs, see what other libraries are doing regarding EDI in libraries, and learn from each other.

Here are the most recent highlights from the committee:

Inclusive Financial Literacy Programming Kit
Libraries: School, Public
Target Audience: Youth Services, Collection Development
Deadline: January 3, 2022
“Up to 100 public and school libraries will be selected to receive an Inclusive Financial Literacy Programming Kit to help them provide diverse financial literacy titles and programming for children and young people in their communities.”

I’m Your Neighbor Books
Libraries: School, Public
Target Audience: Youth Services
Various projects that welcome New Arrival and New American communities

Diversity and Diversity Audits
Libraries: All
Target Audience: Collection Development
A brief overview on diversity audits, and particularly useful if you weren’t able to attend “Building Diverse Collections” presented by Eva Dahlgren (Teton County Library) and Sarah Mailloux (Casper College Goodstein Foundation Library) at the 2021 WLA Conference

Finding Diverse Books Without a Hashtag
Libraries: All
Target Audience: Collection Development
Tips on how to find diverse books now that We Need Diverse Books has dropped the #OwnVoices hashtag​

Wyoming Library Association Announces Annual Awards

Wyoming Library Association mountains logoThe Wyoming State Library was honored to be selected by the Wyoming Library Association (WLA) as its 2021 Outstanding Library. In addition, the WLA announced three other major awards and a grant award at its recent virtual conference. Congratulations to all who were honored!

Lifetime Achievement

Michelle Havenga, recently retired from the Sheridan Fulmer County Library, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for a 40-year career of community partnership and service to children and families at the Sheridan Fulmer Library. She was nominated by Cameron Duff, Director of the Sheridan County Public Library System.

In his nomination letter, Cameron wrote, “It is amazing to see the lives that Michelle has touched as the children who used to come to her programs are now grown up and bringing their own kids to new programs. It is next to impossible to count the number of children and parents that have been touched by Michelle from story times, research projects, or other questions she has helped to answer.”

Outstanding Hero

Jana Pastor of Rock Springs was named WLA’s Outstanding Hero for designing, raising funds, and recruiting volunteers to create the Children’s Discovery Center at the Rock Springs Library. Jana raised more than $100,000 in cash and donations for the project. She was nominated by Lindsey Travis.

Lindsey wrote of the results to the community, “Jana’s work in creating the Children’s Discovery Center has truly improved the quality of life in Sweetwater County. The Discovery Center gives children and families a place to explore and have fun. Since it is located in the library, the Discovery Center has no admission fees, unlike similar children’s museums in bigger cities. Because Jana was able to find donors to invest in this project and the community, everyone benefits from it!”

Outstanding Librarian

Rachael Svoboda,  Business Services Coordinator for Laramie County Library System, was named Outstanding Librarian for developing the Library 2 Business program throughout the state, her work with Wyoming Library Leadership Institute (WLLI), and everyday work with patrons. She was nominated by: Carey Hartmann, Jeff Collins, Elizabeth Thorson, Steve Rzasa, Tekla Slider, Darcy Acord, Jacque Strike, Johanna Tuttle, and Chris Van Burgh.

“Rachael’s knowledge of working in the business community for many years, her exceptional networking skills, and her new degree in business helped her launch and sustain the amazing Library 2 Business program for Laramie County Library System,” wrote Carey Hartmann, the County Librarian at LCLS. “Yet, that was not enough for Rachael… Her vision when applying for the Google’s Libraries Build Business Grant encompassed more than rural Laramie County or eastern Wyoming. She knew these funds could aid many more libraries and help her achieve part of her vision to get business service expertise in more Wyoming Libraries.”

Nora Van Burgh Grant Award Winner

DeeAnna Waters at Fairview Elementary in Cheyenne received a Nora Van Burgh Grant to have an author visit their school for a writing workshop. The grant is named in honor of Nora Van Burgh, a beloved leader in the Wyoming library community, who passed away in 1991. Nora , a strong believer in lifelong learning, was employed at Casper College for more than 30 years.

Experiencing the Wyoming Library Association Mentoring Program

Portrait of David Brown
David Brown

By David Brown, Wyoming Outreach and Engagement Specialist for NNLM Region 4, University of Wyoming Libraries
Reposted from the Network of the National Library of Medicine

From October 2020 to July 2021, I had the opportunity to participate in the Wyoming Library Association Mentorship Program as a protégé. The purpose of this program is to assist all library staff to succeed in their library careers.  In this program the mentors provide protégés with a personal relationship that allows for acculturating, encouraging new talent, sharing expertise and connections, and promoting professional growth. During the times of COVID this was all done virtually.  

I saw this as an opportunity to further network and engage with libraries and librarians in the State of Wyoming. This opportunity would provide me more information about the state and its library community. One reason I was interested in this program is that I had recently moved to the state to take a position within the Midcontinental Region of the Network of the National Library of Medicine.   

To become a member of the mentorship program you must fill out an application that asks questions about why you want to be a part of the program and to establish some personal goals while involved in the program. This application applies both to mentors and protégées.  I completed the application and waited several weeks to be matched with a mentor.   

I was fortunate that for a mentor I received the Wyoming State Librarian, Jamie Markus. Jamie and I had monthly meetings throughout the program year. During these meetings, Jamie and I talked about the library structures and the policies that govern the library systems within the state. We also talked about the state library and its functions within the state. I also talked with Jamie about the upcoming changes to the Network of the National Library of Medicine as we were in the process of transitioning from the MidContinetal Region to Region 4.

During this program, I learned about the structure of Wyoming’s library systems and the appropriations procedures in the state when it comes to library funding. We completed the CliftonStrengths assessment. CliftonStrengths is a personality assessment that examines your responses to questions to find what areas are considered strengths for you.  Each of these activities was rewarding and provided me with a better understanding about Wyoming’s library community as well as opportunities to engage with Wyoming library professionals in a safe and virtual way during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Overall, I found this mentorship program a rewarding and engaging experience. I hope new professionals and existing professionals new to a region or state would consider joining a mentorship program.  I would also recommend established professionals to sign up as a mentor to help further develop the skills of librarians and help them navigate the profession they are choosing. The time and effort are worth it to further develop your skills in librarianship.  

Learn more about about the Wyoming Library Association Mentorship Program and about CliftonStrengths.

David Brown is the Public Health Engagement Specialist and Outreach Specialist for the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming for the Network of the National Library of Medicine Region 4

He holds a Doctor of Education with a specialization in health education from Teachers College Columbia University. He also holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. Additionally, he has 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.

David has been involved in training public health 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.  He has served on the board of directors for the Society for Public Health Education.  He currently serves on the Divisional Board for the Certification of Health Education Specialists with The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. He has also served on several editorial boards related to health education and promotion.

Registration Open for the WLA Virtual Conference

Conference poster

The Wyoming Library Association 2021 Annual Conference is coming up on October 7-8. This year’s conference will be held online and will feature new member-centered and member-created programs to participate in, the chance to interact with vendors, and two keynote speakers.

The theme is RESILIENCE: The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resilience, ingenuity, and resources of Wyoming libraries. Attend the 2021 conference to learn from your colleagues and share your experiences as we look to the future.

Register now. Registration deadline is October 4, 2021. Contact with any questions.