Category Archives: WLA

Another Successful WLA Conference

Attendance was up at this year’s Wyoming Library Association conference that was held August 7-9 with 141 attendees and 24 vendors. In addition to the pre-conference sessions, fabulous keynote with P.C. Sweeney, and Ron Franscell’s author luncheon, there were 35 breakout sessions conducted by 59 presenters.

Jacob Mickelsen, Carbon County Library System Executive Director, was elected Vice President of WLA. Outgoing President Kate Mutch, Natrona County Library Assistant Director, passed the gavel to Abby Beaver, who will lead the organization as President for the 2019-20 term. Abby is the Information Services Manager at the Wyoming State Library

Many were in attendance Thursday night for the Awards Reception honoring Dolleen Grobe as WLA’s Outstanding Heroine, Crest Hill Elementary Librarian Devin Hodgins as Outstanding Librarian, and the Laramie County Community College Ludden Library & Learning Commons as this year’s Outstanding Library. Grobe was honored locally at a reception at the Ten Sleep Library last month. Plans are in the works to visit LCCC and Crest Hill Elementary to make local presentations there.

Generous WLA members donated 20 gift baskets to the annual Wyoming Library Leadership Institute raffle – everything from pet toys to Wyoming Whiskey. The raffle raised $1,742 for WLLI.

See more conference photos and news on WLA’s Facebook page. Also, keep in touch with WLA throughout the year by signing up for its email lists. Encourage your friends and co-workers to join the lists, too – you don’t have to be a member to subscribe. Learn more about WLA at

Hodgins is WLA’s ‘2019 Outstanding Librarian’

Devin Hodgins

Devin Hodgins has been honored by the Wyoming Library Association as its “2019 Outstanding Librarian.” Devin is a Library Media Tech at Crest Hill Elementary in Natrona County School District 1. The award, presented to him on Thursday, August 8, at the WLA conference in Cheyenne, recognizes the significant and outstanding accomplishments of a library employee in the past year, including service to the public and/or library community. It is also meant to reflect the goals of WLA and the library profession as a whole.

Devin is clearly passionate about incorporating reading into the lives of his students and about building support for the school library his students so need. He was honored for finding an innovative way to bring his community together in support of his school library — so important in these days when school library programs are often threatened.

Inspired by what he learned when he attended the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute in 2018, Devin had his fifth graders create two Little Free Libraries — a robot and a dragon — that they auctioned and raffled to raise more than $400 for their Parent-Teacher Organization. As part of the project, the students investigated libraries and their impact on their communities. Each class had to work as a team to design and complete their libraries, through the school library’s makerspace.

He obtained a Carol McMurry Library Endowment grant through the Wyoming Community Foundation to purchase tools, paint, and supplies, as well as a handful of computers for students to use in the library for research. He rounded up additional supplies from local businesses including paint, shop supplies, and the old newspaper racks that would be filled with books once the Little Free Libraries were completed and out in the community.

What stood out about Devin was the way he fostered community involvement, bringing together the entire school, its stakeholders, and the wider community. For these reasons, the Wyoming Library Association named him this year’s Outstanding Librarian.

WLA a ‘Friend of Community Development’

(Left to right) Abby Beaver, 2019-2020 Wyoming Library Association President, and Kate Mutch, WLA Past President, receiving theWyoming Association of Community Development Extension Professionals “Friend of Community Development Award” from Juliet Daniels, Community Development Educator, University of Wyoming Extension.

Last week at the Wyoming Library Association conference, the Wyoming Association of Community Development Extension Professionals presented WLA with its “Friend of Community Development” award. The award was presented by Juliet Daniels, Community Development Educator, University of Wyoming Extension

Daniels and Kimberly Chapman wrote in their nomination letter:

“We are nominating the Wyoming Library Association, on behalf of their members throughout the state, in recognition of the work that their members do in the area of community development. The Wyoming Library Association provides leadership and serves as a collective voice and advocate for the advancement of Wyoming libraries.

“Wyoming libraries play a key role in our communities and provide a number of valuable services that enhance community development. At the most basic level, we appreciate Wyoming libraries for providing the community development team and the rest of our Extension colleagues a space where we can teach our programs. We also appreciate their commitment to lifelong learning and recognize how the educational programs they provide contributes to our collective quality of life.

“Our libraries serve as a vital community hub; a welcoming place for community members to gather and engage with one another, which supports democratic practices. Oftentimes during election season, libraries provide space and/or host candidate forums and contribute to citizen’s ability to learn about the issues and better engage in the election process.

“Additionally, community libraries provide a variety of services that are otherwise not available for vulnerable populations in our community. Libraries typically provide free computer, internet, and other technology-related services to all patrons; some of the biggest beneficiaries of this service are economically-disadvantaged members of our communities. They serve home-bound audiences through book delivery, bookmobiles, and e-book lending. Libraries also support literacy and school-readiness programs for pre-kindergarten youth.

“These are some of the many reasons that we value our libraries and the work that the Wyoming Library Association does to support its membership. Libraries are an integral part of a healthy community and deserve to be recognized as such.”

WLLI Graduate Institute Held

Participants at this year’s WLLI grad institute.

Wyoming Library Leadership Institute graduates attended the first-ever Graduate Institute on July 19-20 in Gillette, Wyoming. It was a time for them to reignite and increase their passion for leadership and collaborate with other grads to create the WLLI Future Plan. Jep Enck, Enck Resources, led the group through the planning process.

We had an amazing time in Gillette and a lot was accomplished! -Thomas ivie

The first day was about the individual and the second day about the institute. Jep Enck led the group in a discussion about individual leadership skills. He offered several resources for further exploration on a variety of leadership topics. On Saturday, the graduates compiled the information from their Strategic Implementation Plans and broke into four groups based on the priorities they see for WLLI’s future: Mission, Communication, Regional Awareness, and Finance. Each priority now has a committee with a point person and a plan for the near future.

It’s exciting to see the growth of the institute, the collaboration and the creation of community.

This year’s participants were:

  • Devin Hodgins – Crest Hill Elementary, Library Media Tech in Casper (2018)
  • Chris Van Burgh – Wyoming State Library, Database Instruction Librarian (2001-2019)
  • Thomas Ivie – Wyoming State Library, Research & Statistics Librarian (2018)
  • Rachael Svoboda – Laramie County Library System, Business Services Coordinator (2018)
  • Karen Kitchens – Wyoming State Library, State Publications Librarian (2005)
  • Tekla Slider – Wyoming State Library, Federal Documents Librarian (2015)
  • Elaine Hayes – Laramie County Library System, Assistant Manager, Reference Services/Special Collections Librarian (2004)
  • Cindy Moore – Converse County Library, Director (2006)
  • Jennifer Kofoed – Converse County Library, Circulation/ILL Manager (2018)
  • Mary Borthwick – Campbell County School District 1, Library Media Specialist (2008)
  • Becky Prelle – Campbell County Public Library System, Youth Services Coordinator (2018)
  • Sara Kuhbacher-Rosier – Campbell County Public Library System, Tech Services Specialist (2013)
  • Genevieve Schlekeway – Campbell County Public Library System, Public Information Specialist (2004)
  • Megan Dingman – Campbell County School District 1, Coordinator of Library Professional Development (2013)
  • Kyouhee Choi Berger – Campbell County Public Library System, Reference Services Specialist (2018)
  • Dana Urman – Campbell County Public Library System, Outreach Specialist (2018)
  • Anna Street – Campbell County Public Library System, Circulation Services Manager (2013)
  • Johanna Tuttle – Campbell County Public Library System, Circulation Services Specialist (2015)
  • Darcy Acord – Campbell County Public Library System, Youth Services Librarian (2011)
  • Betsy Moore – Friends of the Albany County Public Library, Volunteer Coordinator (2006 & 2007)
  • Jacque Strike – Sublette County Library, ILL and Periodicals (2015)
  • Maggie Sullivan – Powell Branch Library, ILL and Public Services Manager (2008)
  • Sharon Porter – Library Substitute and Volunteer (2008)
  • Kimberly Heaster – Crook County Library, Sundance Branch Librarian 2018)
  • Tracey Kinnaman – Hot Springs County Library, Director (2004)

Get Your Baskets Ready for WLA

Kathy Bjornestad with some of the baskets from the 2018 raffle.

It’s time to show your creative side and support the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute by building a basket (or multiple baskets) to raffle at the Wyoming Library Association annual conference in Cheyenne. Money from this annual fundraiser will benefit future leaders in Wyoming libraries.

Step One: Choose an amazing theme (beautiful, fun, practical, etc.) and fill a container with items related to that theme.

Step Two: Make a list of the items you include in the basket and take pictures of the final product. Send your pictures to Susan Mark at

Step Three: Bring your basket to WLA and watch as people clamor for an opportunity to win it.

They’re looking for a variety of baskets appropriate for men, women, children, and pets of all ages.

Questions? Contact Chris Van Burgh at or (307) 777-3642.

‘What the Tech?’ Call for Presenters

What the Tech is a very popular WLA Conference program comprised of lots of quick 90-second presentations. It’s a lot of fun, but it can’t happen without YOU. Please volunteer to share with us a few of your favorite apps, websites, and technology related items, each in 90 seconds or less — try to beat the bell! Contact Thomas Ivie at for details and to sign up.

Not sure you want to? Check out this video we made just for you!

Check out WLA Conference Programs

Heading to the Wyoming Library Association conference in Cheyenne August 7-9, 2019? Then check out the great lineup of sessions in the conference program. You’re sure to find something of interest.

The annual conference offers numerous opportunities to learn and to network with library colleagues from across the state.

Deadline to register is July 29. There will be no late or on-site registrations, so sign up now for the 2019 WLA Conference.

Author Ron Franscell to Speak at WLA

Ron Franscell

Ron Franscell

USA Today bestselling crime writer, novelist, and journalist Ron Franscell will be the featured luncheon speaker at the 2019 Wyoming Library Association conference on Friday, August 9.

Ron is a Wyoming native, author of 17 fiction and nonfiction books, and long-time journalist. His chilling true crime story of rape and murder in Casper — released in hardcover as Fall and in paperback as The Darkest Night — is still in print after more than 12 years. In 2001, Ron was awarded the SIRS/WLA Intellectual Freedom Freedom Award.

He returns to Wyoming in his new book, Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story which covers (and uncovers) the disturbing secrets of two murderers who evaded justice for almost 40 years.

Ron’s books will be available for purchase at the conference through Casper’s Wind City Books. Plan on getting your copies signed after the luncheon and during the Friday vendor break.

The full conference runs August 8-9, with pre-conference sessions taking place August 7. Learn more and register.

Science and Health at WLA Pre-Conferences

The full Wyoming Library Association conference runs August 8-9, but it’s worth coming a day early for the pre-conference sessions. In addition to the School Library Summit, there are two valuable workshops on August 7, one on science and one on health. Register for either or both on the WLA Conference registration form. Pre-conference sessions are $20 each.

In the morning, Leap into Science is a program designed to build interest and skills in literacy and science for children ages 3-10 and their families, in community settings like libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs. It was developed by The Franklin Institute and the National Girls Collaborative Project. The program consists of three types of workshops (preschool, elementary, and family), and includes a broad range of science concepts. This training will be held from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Wednesday, August 7. Learn more about Leap into Science at

For the afternoon, Beyond an Apple a Day with George Strawley from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine will cover the health information seeking behavior of consumers and the role of the librarian in the provision of health information for the public. Come learn about the evolution of consumer health, health literacy and the e-patient. Participants will be equipped with knowledge of top consumer health sites, e-patient resources and collection development core lists. Participants will discuss creative ideas for health information outreach. The class will wrap up with an opportunity to explore effective marketing approaches and develop an elevator speech. This course, scheduled for 1-5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 7, qualifies for up to four contact hours toward a Consumer Health Information Specialization from the Medical Library Association. George will also present a breakout session during the full conference on “Citizen Science: Putting Your Patrons in Touch with Discover.”

PC Sweeney is WLA Keynote Speaker

PC Sweeney, Political Director of EveryLibrary and keynote speaker for the 2019 Wyoming Library Association conference

If you need yet another reason to attend the 2019 Wyoming Library Association conference from August 7-9 this year, you don’t want to miss keynote speaker PC Sweeney.

Sweeney is the political director of EveryLibrary, a national political action committee (PAC) for libraries. He’s the co-author of Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding from ALA Editions and a lecturer for San Jose State University iSchool. He’s worked in both public and school libraries, and was a Library Journal 2015 Mover and Shaker.

His keynote will be the fun and inspirational session, “Make It Happen/Party Hard,” intended to motivate library staff to balance the stressful work of librarianship with celebrating successes in their communities. He’ll highlight the need for enthusiasm from staff at all levels to promote the work that libraries do and discuss how that enthusiasm can build positive professional networks and relationships with communities for real tangible outcomes. Finally, he’ll explore the way that emotional attractors affect library work and the level of success within communities.

Sweeney will also be leading a breakout session, “From Advocate to Activist.” In this session, he’ll challenge the traditional model of advocacy for libraries and instead look at how to create activists to build the public support libraries need to survive. He’ll look at how the current advocacy model is failing libraries and causing massive defunding and closures and will explore many of the strategies and tactics used by some of the best community organizers, political action committees, and politicians to build real actionable support. He’ll emphasize the resources and skills that librarians and library staff need to develop if they want to have the political and community support that they need in order to increase support and funding.

Learn more and register for the conference.