Category Archives: WLA

Four Receive Van Burgh Grants

Every year, the Wyoming Library Association makes the Nora Van Burgh Professional Development Grant available to Wyoming library employees. The grant gives a helping hand to Wyoming library employees who want to become more effective through additional training and education, but are in need of funding to make that happen.

At the WLA conference earlier this month, four exceptional Wyoming library workers were each awarded $250 to further their educational goals:

  • Melissa Haderlie with the Star Valley Branch Library will use her award to help fund courses toward her Master of Library Science degree,
  • Angela Rader from Campbell County Public Library will also use her award to help fund her MLS,
  • Judi Boyce from Sublette County Library will use her grant for courses toward her Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science, and
  • Melissa Snider, with the Munger Mountain Elementary School will use her funds to attend the American Association of School Librarians conference. ​

Nora Van Burgh was a beloved leader in the Wyoming library community who began her career as a student assistant in the Natrona County High School library and went on to earn her MLS and work at Casper College for more than 30 years. After she passed away in 1991, WLA named their existing professional development grant after Nora Van Burgh to honor her memory.

LCCC is WLA’s ‘Outstanding Library’

Laramie County Community College’s Ludden Library & Learning Commons.

On Thursday, August 8, the Wyoming Library Association honored the Laramie County Community College’s Ludden Library & Learning Commons as its “2019 Outstanding Library,” for its major renovation. The award recognizes a significant special project completed within the last two years. The staff, library board, community, or people served must all have been involved in the work for which recognition is sought. The library was nominated by Maura Hadaway, the former Associate Dean of the Ludden Library.

In 2013, the LCCC Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan to achieve four major goals by 2020. The fourth of these was a physically transformed college — and the Ludden Library has been truly transformed. It’s now not just a library, but a learning commons where all student academic support services are in one beautifully renovated and expanded location. The new Ludden Library & Learning Commons is truly a student-centered entity that meets them where they were and gets them the support they needed to be successful inside, and outside, of the classroom.

Planning and fundraising began that year for the project that would ultimately cost $6.2 million. Over the course of five years, the LCCC Foundation was able to raise $2.7 million from donors including a $500,000 donation from Randy & Yvonne Ludden, $100,000 from John & Esther Clay, and an additional $100,000 via the Ludden Library endowment. The State of Wyoming matched the dollars raised at LCCC with $2.5 million from Abandoned Mine Lands funds, LCCC added $500,000 from Major Maintenance funds, and $500,000 from One Mill funds from the taxpayers of Laramie County.  Together, all of these groups made it possible to make this goal a reality.

Today’s students need spaces that provide research assistance, technology support, extended hours, and presentation rooms to review, practice, and critique each other’s work. Spaces that offer tutoring and availability of learning objects (anatomy models, microscopes, slides, etc.) as well as writing/communication tutorial services to assist with essay composition, test preparation, and class presentations or capstone/seminar papers, peer mentors and tutors, research and library assistance, online tutoring, and ADA-compliant services for students with disabilities.

The final plans includes numerous features to meet identified student and staff needs, including:

  • 7,000 new square feet and an elevated exterior with glass to allow for natural light
  • 8 study rooms, seminar rooms, a conference room and instruction room a with collaboration tables, smart TVs, and natural light
  • Strickland Family Study Room, with 2 student computer workstations, puppet theater, youth seating and workstations, arts & crafts kits, children’s books
  • More student study and work spaces including a less cramped computer workstation space
  • An expanded tutoring center space with offices for staff, increased privacy for tutoring appointments, and more space for the tools needed to deliver tutoring
  • Cultural heritage space with built in display cases, lots of natural light, and room for presentations and exhibits
  • Open study area with expanded hours, 2 computer workstations, 2 collaborative work tables with smart TVs, and booths for group study, this space is open on an expanded schedule so that students can work even when the library is not open
  • Innovation Lab with flexible data, power, and furniture options to allow for flexible work and hands-on experiential learning; Mac computers, CAD computer, 2 interactive monitors

The Grand Re-Opening ceremony, held in April 2019, was packed with community members, staff, faculty, students, and foundation donors alike. Randy Ludden, in his address, was brought to tears with pride in the work that was accomplished by LCCC staff to bring his dreams for LCCC students to fruition.

Maura Hadaway wrote in her nomination, “I burst with pride when I think of all of the work that the Ludden Library & Learning Commons staff put into this renovation project. It was, in time, effort, heart, soul, and mind, the singular most impactful project that the LCCC community has experienced in recent memory. The true compassion and care that our staff has for the students here is something that I find myself unable to put into words. Through their work, they change the lives of our students every day and now their workspace can help them, help others, and continue this legacy of excellence that is embodied in each of them, each day. Teresa Authier, Paula Badgett, Carolyn Cuestas, Candy Ferrall, Linda Herget, Meghan Kelly, Stacy Landon, Dana McCammon, Cindy Munoz, Maggie Swanger, Jennifer Volyes, Richard Walsh, and every retired staff member, every part-time student library worker, every part-time employee, every tutor, every proctor, this nomination is you.  The physical space is nothing without YOU. YOU are the Ludden Library & Learning Commons and YOU are the Outstanding Wyoming Library.”

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.