Category Archives: WSL News

Spooky Patents for Halloween

Once again, Halloween is just around the corner. What scares you on All Hallows’ Eve? Patents were likely not your first answer. But wait! Here are at the Wyoming State Library, we crept into the files of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and dug up a few for your Halloween fun.

(U.S. Patent No. D332,761 and D332,420). These were patented in 1992 and 1993 to Neal N. Mankey from Charlotte, North Carolina.

(U.S. Patent No.5,662,328). Patented in 1997 by Cyrilla Dianne Pecoy from Oswego, New York. Here is a fun board game for all — including neighborhood Trick or Treating, a walk through a cemetery, and a visit to a haunted house.

(U.S. Patent No.737,371). Patented in 1903 by John J. Du Ket from Toledo, Ohio. Now this mask might be a bit tricky, as it is designed for the wearer to walk with a candle on their head. Hmmm… not a very safe or easy way to go Trick or Treating!

(U.S. Patent No.885,802). Patented in 1908 by Harrison D. Sterrick of Pittsburg, Peensylvania. This patent allows the face mask to be changed by the wearer to “produce a grotesque and amusing effect. The mask provides features which are capable of being protruded or withdrawn at will.” Creepy!

(U.S. Patent No.4,683,588). Looking to disguise your face and your voice this Halloween? This is the patent for you! Issued to Mel Goldberg in 1987, this face mask will also camouflage your voice, using a microphone secured to the face mask. A voice modifier can amplify or muffle your voice. Not only will you look creepy, but you will also sound creepy.

For more information on patents, contact the Patent and Trademark Resource Center, Wyoming State Library at 777-6333. Happy Trick or Treating!

Intellectual Property Basics at the WSL

The Wyoming State Library is hosting a free series on intellectual property from the Rocky Mountain U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These four interactive sessions during October and November will be broadcast to the State Library at 2800 Central Ave. in Cheyenne.

“There’s no better source for this information than the USPTO,” said Karen Kitchens, WSL State Publications Librarian. “These sessions will be useful for small business owners, entrepreneurs, inventors — anyone interested in patents and other intellectual property.”

The series will cover not just the basics, but also delve deeper into intellectual property topics. Each session can stand alone so participants may sign up for the full series or only the ones that match their interests. All will be held in the State Library’s meeting room:

  • Friday, October 19, 10-11 a.m.: IP Basics, Session I: Overview of Utility Patents, Design Patents, Trade Secrets, Copyrights, and Trademarks
  • Friday, November 2, 10-11 a.m.::IP Basics, Session II: Design Patents
  • Friday, November 16, 10-11 a.m.: IP Basics, Session III: Tips and Tricks for Patent Searching – the 7 Step Process
  • Friday, November 30, 10-11 a.m.: IP Basics, Session IV: How to File: Patent Electronic Systems

“IP Basics is valuable if you want a better understanding of intellectual property and how to protect it,” Kitchens said. “It’s going to be a legal process to patent, but this will give you more information and understanding before you take that step of contacting an attorney.”

More information is available at Pre-registration is requested, but not required. Contact Kitchens at or (307) 777-7281 with any questions.

The Wyoming State Library is a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) designated Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). Learn more at

Get Ready for Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature opens soon. The 2018-19 official rules and details are now available, and entries will be accepted online starting on November 1, 2018.

Letters About Literature is a Library of Congress national reading/writing promotion program for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. You can learn more and read winning letters on the Library of Congress website.

Students compete in three age categories: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8), and Level 3 (grades 9-12). Wyoming winners in each level will receive Amazon gift cards.

Teachers, librarians, and homeschool parents should know there are resources available to them to guide their student participants.

  • A video series has guidance for students on participating in Letters About Literature and writing their letters. Watch here
  • The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide provides activities teachers can use to guide their students through the book discussion and letter-writing process. The guide addresses the LAL teaching strategies and ways in which the program can dovetail with curriculum for teaching reading and writing. Also included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists.
  • An archived webinar for educators (Recording password: Letters123!) explores 25 years of best practices.
  • Honor your students’ participation with personalized participation certificates that are easy to download and print.

Questions? Contact Susan Mark, Wyoming State Library publications specialist, at or (307) 777-5915.

Visiting the Honor Farm Library

The Wyoming State Library’s Thomas Ivie, Paige Bredenkamp, and Brian Greene recently visited the Wyoming Honor Farm to tour the library, learn about their facilities, and to meet and visit with staff.

The Honor Farm is a minimum security correctional facility in north Riverton that houses just under 300 inmates. With a goal of reducing recidivism through cognitive and behavioral intervention, the Wyoming Honor Farm provides offenders opportunities to become law-abiding citizens, and successfully return to society as our neighbors.

Wyoming is home to 13 state institution libraries that serve the elderly, troubled youth, incarcerated adults, and special populations that are deaf, hard of hearing, have one or more mental illnesses, or have a mental or physical handicap.

Most of the state institution Libraries have limited collection funds. The WSL offers support to these libraries with a yearly $2,000 stipend for materials from Library Services and Technology Act federal funds.


The Way We’ll Work: Blockchain

Have you heard about blockchain? Learn all about it at “The Way We’ll Work: Blockchain.”

See the event on Facebook.

On Thursday, October 4, from 6:30-8pm in the Cottonwood Room, the Laramie County Library in conjunction with the Wyoming State Library will host international and state experts for a panel on blockchain technology in Wyoming. The panelists will present on how blockchain technology is currently enhancing agriculture, on how it could be applied to the energy industry, and how the impacts of recent blockchain legislation could affect Wyoming businesses. The event is a launch-pad for future educational programs on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. It will be recorded and made available online within a month of the event for future use by Wyoming libraries, educational groups, and the general public.

The expert panelists will explain how Wyoming is leading the way in applying blockchain technology to the state’s natural resources and economy. The panelists will be moderated by Dennis Ellis of Microsoft, and will include, Phil Schlump of, David Pope from the 2018 Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, Dave Murry an international blockchain advisor, Representative Jared Olsen from House District 11, Dr. James Caldwell of UW College of Engineering & Applied Science and department head of UW Computer Science, and Philip Treick of UW College of Business’s Energy Finance and Portfolio Management. The panelists will participate in a discussion about issues surrounding blockchain technology followed by a Q&A session.

The purpose of the event is to allow leading experts in the field to educate the Wyoming community at large on blockchain technology: what it really is, how it can be applied, and what it will bring to Wyoming.

The Way We’ll Work: Blockchain event is part of the traveling exhibit The Way We Worked, which is currently on display at the Laramie County Library. The exhibit engages viewers with a history of work, an aspect of American society that has had an impact on all of us — past, present, and future. The exhibition will appear throughout the main library and includes complementary local exhibits and programs at all branches.

For a calendar of related programs at the Cheyenne, Pine Bluffs and Burns branches, visit

The event is free to the public.  The Way We Worked has been made possible in Laramie County by Wyoming Humanities. The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Contact Kasey Storey at (307) 773-7225 or for more information.

September 2018 Outrider Now Available

Find a wrap-up of the latest in Wyoming library news in the September 2018 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 publications specialist, at or (307) 777-5915. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Snapshot Day Less than One Month Away

Tongue River Middle School, Snapshot Day 2017

Wyoming Snapshot Day will be held October 9, 2018, and if your library isn’t already signed up, we’d love to have you join us. Contact Susan Mark at or (307) 777-5915 to add your name to the list. We’d particularly like to see more school, academic, and special libraries participate.

On Snapshot Day, we ask you to collect photos and/or comments (and/or videos, if feasible) that tell the story of your library’s value each and every day of the year. Here at the WSL, we use these materials for advocacy, and we encourage you to do the same. We understand you may have questions:

What do I need to do to participate?
We have instructions for librarians on the website.

October 9 doesn’t work for me. May I do another day?
Yes! Please do. Just pick a day somewhere near the 9th and let us know. Same deal if you have a special event on a different day that you’d like included.

How do I promote Snapshot Day in my library?
Check out the forms, logos, and flyers we have available to you, including a tip sheet on how to make your Snapshot Day a success.

What if we don’t have a lot of staff time?
Even if you snap only a handful of photos, it adds to the overall results. You may do as little or as much as you’d like. We like to see as many libraries as possible represented.

What if I’m in a school or other library that has restrictions on taking photos of our patrons/students?
You are welcome to take photos of staff, stacks, displays, backs of heads, or “bookface” pics. You can also collect anonymous comments.

How do I send in my photos, comments, or videos?
You will email them to Susan Mark and she will add them to the Snapshot Day website and to social media.

What’s the deadline for signing up?
None. If you decide the morning of October 9 to join in, we’ll happily take your comments, photos, and videos.

What if I have another question?
Contact Susan at or (307) 777-5915 and she’ll be glad to help you.

WSL Closed for Labor Day

Planned Labor Day events for 1922 in Rock Springs, via the August 18, 1922, ROCK SPRINGS ROCKET in Wyoming Newspapers

The Wyoming State Library will be closed Monday, September 3 for Labor Day. We will re-open Tuesday, September 4. If you’re curious about the origins of the holiday, the U.S. Department of Labor offers a brief history.

While the first Labor Day celebration was held in 1882, the first mention of the holiday in Wyoming legislation was in 1921 when House Bill 106 proposed to designate November 11 as “American Day” and to replace Arbor Day in the list of legal holidays with Labor Day. The bill passed the house, but failed in the Senate. In 1923, Chapter 6 of the Session Laws added “the day that may be appointed by the Governor as Labor Day” as a holiday in State Statute. Read more on the legislative history of Labor Day in Wyoming Legislation, one of the Wyoming State Library’s six digital collections.

Bring Paw Patrol to Your Library

Want a little more “pawsitivity” at your library? The Wyoming State Library has the Paw Patrol available to you. Enjoy this Animoto video to see these good dogs in action. The Paw Patrol know a few tricks that can help you with programming, parties, community engagement, advocacy, fundraising, making new friends, and more!

To borrow the Paw Patrol costumes, contact Robyn Hinds at the WSL at or (307) 777-7282. If Robyn is unavailable, you may always call our main desk at (307) 777-6333.

Trademark Tuesday at the WSL

The Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in collaboration with other partners located across the region, including the Wyoming State Library, will host an interactive session with experts from the USPTO’s Trademark Assistance Center (TAC), which is based at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, VA. During this virtual program, TAC experts will provide an overview of various aspects of the trademark registration process and answer any questions that program participants may have.

Join us at the Wyoming State Library, 2800 Central Ave. in Cheyenne, for this free and informative session on Tuesday, August 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT.

To get the most out of this event, we recommend participants view informational videos regarding trademark registration before the session and prepare questions to ask the trademark experts.

This event is free and open to the public. Please bring your own lunch to enjoy during the session. Space is limited. The program will be hosted across the Rocky Mountain region with USPTO partners at 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time.

Register here.

The WSL offers many resources for intellectual property questions. Visit our Patent and Trademark Resource Center to learn more.