Photo of Linn (seated) with (L to R, standing) Brenda McGinnis and Chris Van Burgh in the September/October 2002 Outrider. Click for larger image.
We are saddened to hear of the death of Linnea “Linn” Rounds. She passed away at the age of 75 on June 19, 2019.
Linn worked many years at the Wyoming State Library and managed the Publications, Public Programs, and Marketing Office. She retired in 2003 after 26 years with the WSL. You can read her words on her retirement and the words of Jerry Krois, who was Deputy State Librarian at the time, in this clip from the May-June 2003 Outrider.
At her retirement party, the State Library staff congratulated her by joining in a rousing chant of “Linn! Linn! Wonderful Linn!” (That’s an “i” not a “y” when you spell it, my friend!) She was well-loved by her co-workers and the many people in the Wyoming library community who worked with her over the years.
A funeral for Linn will be held at St. Mary’s Cathedral on June 24 at 11 a.m. Memorials may be made to the Davis Hospice Center and Community Action of Laramie County. Condolences may be offered at www.bohlenderfuneralchapel.com.
Rusty and the River: A Rusty the Ranch Horse Tale by Wyoming’s Mary Fichtner and illustrated by her daughter Roz Fichtner has been selected for the “Discover Great Places Through Reading” list for the National Book Festival. The festival will be held Saturday, August 31, in Washington, D.C.
“Discover Great Places Through Reading” is an annual list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The list is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival.
Rusty and the River was selected by the Wyoming State Library as part of its Center for the Book program. Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library, and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.
Mary and Roz Fichtner, now in Casper, lived in Cheyenne many years. Mary is a graduate of the University of Wyoming, and rodeo was her sport from 10 years old through college. She is certified in equine assisted learning to help veterans and families. Her daughter Roz attends college at the University of Wyoming where she has competed on the rodeo team and is pursuing a degree in Art Education.
(L to R) Roz and Mary Fichtner with the real-life Rusty the Ranch Horse.
Their books include, Rusty Under the Western Skies (Reader’s Favorite Five Star Award), Rusty Goes to Frontier Days, Rusty and His Saddle, Rusty and the Pot of Gold and the first of a new series called The Big Battle of Thunder the Smallest WarHorse. Rusty and Thunder live in a beautiful place in the west by the Platte River where they enjoy grazing and gentle breezes. Rusty is a retired ranch horse and his small companion Thunder never leaves his side.
The Wyoming State Library will be closed Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day. We will resume our normal hours on Tuesday, May 28.
The town of Veteran, Wyoming, was given that name at the behest of ex-service men who had settled in Goshen County. On October 6, 1921, the Goshen County Journal, printed this article on the town name (click for larger image). The Veteran post office was established on August 2, 1922.
The Letters About Literature contest invites each student in grades 4-12 to write to an author — living or dead — whose work influenced the student’s life. It’s not a formal report where someone picks a book the child or teen “should” read. Instead, the students themselves pick the books that touched their hearts. If a fourth grader found inspiration in War and Peace, so be it. If a high school senior turned his or her life around after reading Captain Underpants, we welcome their letter. What matters most is that a connection was made.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun this year to compile a reading list of all the titles our Wyoming Letters About Literature participants chose. Some are newer, some are classics, some might be surprises, but all touched the lives of at least one young reader. Enjoy.
Solo, by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess
The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson
The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Tyrell (series), by Coe Booth
Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown
Gold Buckle Dreams, by David G. Brown
The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown
70×7 and Beyond, by Monty Christensen
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
Out Of My Mind, by Sharon M. Drapor
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
Rumble Fish, by S.E. Hinton
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins
The Wheels of Time (series), by Robert Jordan
Cracker, by Cynthia Kadohata
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
Under the Dome, by Stephen King
“I Have a Dream” (speech), by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
American Sniper, by Chris Kyle
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, by Gucci Mane
Dear Nobody, by Gillian McCain
Renegades (series), by Marissa Meyer
Parakeets, by Nikki Moustaki
Black Friday (Cherub), by Robert Muchamore
Fablehaven (series), by Brandon Mull
Ashfall (series), by Mike Mullin
The Greatest, by Walter Dean Myers
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Brian’s Winter, by Gary Paulsen
A Child Called “It” (series), by Dave Pelzer
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn
By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead, by Julie Anne Peters
The Dogs of Winter, by Bobbie Pyron
Where The Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
Nyxia, by Scott Reintgen
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series), by Rick Riordan
Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The Beginning of Everything, by Robyn Schneider
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
Admonitions to a Special Person, by Anne Sexton
The Book of Basketball, by Bill Simmons
The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks
The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
I Cry, by Tupac
“Why Am I Not Good Enough?” (poem), by Olivia Vella
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat, by Bill Watterson
Adult Children of Alcoholics, by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D.
“DPLA lets us reach a wider national audience of students, teachers, researchers, and history buffs,” said Wyoming State Librarian Jamie Markus. “We’re excited for yet another opportunity to share Wyoming’s government and cultural information with the world.”
The Digital Public Library of America is a free portal that allows visitors to discover more than 34 million unique items from across the United States and go directly to the digital collections held at the home institution. The Wyoming State Library is part of the Plains to Peaks Collective DPLA hub, in partnership with the Colorado State Library.
The thousands of Wyoming state publications that were recently added provide insight into the history and governance of the Equality State dating back to Territorial days. Wyoming residents can easily search state agency documents including annual reports, newsletters, and even historic highway maps.
Address upon Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming by Governor John W. Hoyt, April 3, 1882
With the recent addition from the State Library, more than 47,000 items from Wyoming institutions are available in DPLA. Other collections currently in DPLA include the Park County Archives, University of Wyoming, and UW’s American Heritage Center and Art Museum. The WSL supports Wyoming’s involvement in Plains to Peaks using federal Library Services & Technology Act funds through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Government documents are also freely available online in the Wyoming State Publications database. It’s one of six Wyoming-centric digital collections created and maintained by the WSL in the Digital Collection Suite.
For help finding government information, check with your local library or contact the Wyoming State Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or (307) 777-6333.
Top honors have gone to three Wyoming students in state-level competition the 2018-19 Letters About Literature Contest. Letters About Literature encourages students to read, be inspired, and write back to their favorite authors. The Wyoming State Library awarded Arundathi Nair of Laramie first place in Level III (grades 9-12). Saimaa Widi, Cheyenne, placed first in Level II (grades 7-8). Padmalakshmi Ramesh, Laramie, placed first in Level I (grades 4-6). All three first place winners advanced to national competition.
Letters About Literature asks students to respond to a book, rather than simply report on it. What matters most is the connection the student makes with the author’s words and the impact it has on that student’s life and how they see the world.
Nair wrote to Paulo Coelho about his book, The Alchemist, a book that helped her think about her path in life. “It was not only comforting,” she wrote, “but liberating to realize that, ‘…when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’” She posted these words from the author on her corkboard. “These are the words that I wake up to every day and go to bed to every night. They reassure, comfort, and encourage me.”
Widi was inspired by the poem, “Why Am I Not Good Enough,” by Olivia Vella. “I saw myself in the words you were speaking, realizing how many times I had felt the way you said you felt,” Widi wrote. “I watched that video over and over and over again, holding on to everything you were saying. That’s the day I became a whole lot happier.”
After reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Ramesh “…changed the way I look at people. Now, I am able to better understand others’ emotions and empathize with them, which shows the value of kindness.” Ramesh went on to write, “Wonder conveys many morals about kindness, friendship, support, and more…Now, I have sewn these values into my daily life as much as I can.”
Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. For more information about Letters About Literature, contact Susan Mark at email@example.com or (307) 777-5915.
For years, Wyoming Humanities partnered with libraries and communities throughout the state for “Reading Wyoming,” which provided reading groups with thematically-linked books and a trained discussion leader to help lead discussions. Today, Wyoming Humanities still supports some of those same Reading Wyoming groups through our Spark Grants.
It is in this same spirit of celebration of conversation and community that Wyoming Humanities has partnered with the Wyoming State Library to renew the One Book Wyoming program with Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time. One Book Wyoming is a state-wide community reading program in which the same book is read and discussed throughout the state. In Our Time is Ernest Hemingway’s first collection of short stories and the first introduction of his famous character Nick Adams. The stories’ themes range from meditations on fatherhood and family to war’s impact on soldiers to the challenges of romantic relationships to the relationship between humans and nature. With that many diverse themes, not only will there be a story of interest to virtually everyone but opportunities to discuss and think more thoroughly about subjects you may not have thought much about in the past.
In Our Time should also inspire you to check out other Hemingway in Wyoming activities, funded by a multi-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant “Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway.” These include the “Hemingway Highways Tours,” created using the TravelStoryGPS app, and featuring sites where Hemingway lived and worked throughout the state; traveling exhibits on Hemingway’s WWI service and artistic interpretations of Hemingway’s work; and, in 2020, the Hemingway Society Conference in Sheridan.
“There are two places I love,” Hemingway wrote: “Africa and Wyoming.” It’s our goal for people throughout Wyoming to learn a bit more about Hemingway, his life, and his works, while engaging in lively, thoughtful conversations with their communities.
Books, posters, and bookmarks, as well as additional information will be sent to Wyoming public and college libraries in May.
Wyoming is no stranger to literary and artistic celebration. The artists who praise our state are incredibly fascinating, from the fame of Ernest Hemingway to the seldom-heard-of voices of the past. In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re taking a closer look at May Preston Slosson.
May Preston Slosson (1858 – 1943) was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States, likely the first “lady prison chaplain” in the world, and a poet with roots in Wyoming history. Born in New York and raised in Kansas, Slosson lived all over the country before moving with her husband to the city of Laramie towards the end of the 19th Century. There, she organized educational Sunday afternoon lectures for inmates at the Wyoming Territorial Prison, and promoted the institution of prison reform. Slosson became prison chaplain in 1899 at the fervent request of the inmates. This one-of-a-kind feat was featured in Wide World Magazine shortly upon her promotion:
“The Rev. Mrs. May Preston Slosson, of Laramie Penitentiary, Wyoming, is the only lady prison chaplain in the world, and possesses an extraordinary influence over her convict flock. She has already averted one dangerous mutiny, and has done much to ameliorate the lot of the prisoners.”
She served as chaplain and prisoner advocate until Slosson and her family moved to New York in 1903. Mrs. Slosson considered herself spoiled by the rich rights available to women in Wyoming, and she and her husband became leading advocates in the fight for nationwide women’s suffrage.
In 1920, Slosson published a book of poems titled A Quiet Garden, in which much of the content was inspired by or was directly about Wyoming.
See the accompanying images to read more about May Preston Slosson and to read a glimpse of her work. We found these tidbits in Wyoming Newspapers.