Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

Celebrate Cheyenne Day with Wyoming History



It’s Cheyenne Day today and while the Wyoming State Library offices are closed this afternoon, you can access our digital collections online anytime, anywhere! Our staff has gathered some Cheyenne Frontier Days and rodeo-related content for you to peruse, but you can find much more Wyoming history with each database linked below.

A historic newspaper page with photos of Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1944.
Page 4 of the Fort Warren Sentinel from July 28, 1944.

Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection
Historic newspapers are full of information, including photographs, illustrations, weather reports, and social columns. Our earliest archive dates back to 1849 but many of these papers survived for only a brief time and disappeared like the boom-and-bust ghost towns of Wyoming and the west. This collection contains 142,270 issues comprising 1,171,758 pages. Here are some of our Cheyenne Frontier Days favorites:
Wyoming Publicity Edition (August 1, 1913)
Wyoming State Ledger (June 27, 1922)
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle (July 27, 1943)
Fort Warren Sentinel (July 28, 1944)

Wyoming Places
This fun digital collection provides information about locations, histories, and name origins of places in the great state of Wyoming. There are twelve search results for the keyword “cowboy,” including Beatty Gulch, named for cowboy James Beatty, who was thrown from his horse at that location. The town of Frontier in Lincoln County is now long-gone, but was once a successful mining town that was “pleasantly located, with good schools and churches, electric light and excellent water system.”

Wyoming Publications
This database contains Wyoming government agency documents and federal publications concerning the State of Wyoming. You’ll find budget requests, agency reports, and even historic brand books:
Official Brand Book of the State of Wyoming (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
Scoping Statement: Checkerboard Wild Horse Removal (2016)

Patent schematics
System for Practicing Roping (Patent 4498676)

Wyoming Inventors
System for Practicing Roping (Patent 4498676 by Robert R. Runner of Pavillion, WY)
Animal Roping System (Patent 8579293 by Casey Sellers and Colter Sellers of Buffalo, WY)
Training Apparatus for Calf Roping (Patent 8297980 by William Clark Reynolds of Wright, WY)

Wyoming Trademarks
Did you know you can check the status of Wyoming trademarks with our digital collection? Our database catalogs Wyoming trademarks, both current and archived, issued since 1881.
Cheyenne Frontier Days (active)
100th Annual 1996 Cheyenne Frontier Days (inactive)
Return to the West (inactive)

Hands-On Cooking Classes at the Natrona County Library



Young boy and slightly older girl mixing ingredients in bowl

From the Natrona County Library

Who doesn’t love delicious food? And if you can prepare those delicious foods yourself, even better! Cooking skills benefit us our entire lives and can lead to healthier lifestyles. This is why the Natrona County Library’s new Kitchen a la Cart by Edible Education is so exciting.

The Kitchen a la Cart is a portable cooking school that empowers students to learn essential culinary skills through hands on, teacher-led experiences. Children can learn so much beyond just cooking skills when they are in the kitchen. The benefits include math skills, science skills, cultural literacy, financial literacy, art and creativity, improved reading and vocabulary skills, and development of greater self-confidence. Cooking together as a group can strengthen communication and interpersonal skills, as well. Plus, experience has proven that kids who help prepare meals are more willing to try a variety of foods and generally eat a healthier diet.

Natrona County Library debuted their Kitchen a la Cart at the May 17 Tween Cooking Club, where students in grades 4-6 were taught all about the different qualities, health benefits, and taste profiles of eggs. (Science!) They were then guided through basic cooking techniques and knife skills before they chopped vegetables, whisked eggs, and made their own omelets with the ingredients they chose.

The Kitchen a la Cart comes equipped with a working sink, convection oven, cooktop burner, professional grill, pasta maker, blender, hand mixer, and enough kitchen utensils to teach a small class. In the past, the library hosted Tween Cooking Club programs in which kids would make recipes that generally did not include actual cooking, as they did not have a stove or oven. This new portable kitchen has made real cooking not only possible, but fun and safe, as well.

One of NCL’s youth services librarians, Angel Capone Evans, applied for and received a grant that allowed her to travel to Lawrenceville, Georgia, in early May to attend a hands-on Edible Education training for the Kitchen a la Cart along with other educators. By learning about the cart in a group setting, she was given an amazing example of how to lead future classes to groups of all sizes, while also getting a thorough rundown of everything the library’s new cooking cart can safely do.

The library’s Kitchen a la Carte was purchased through grants from The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Opportunities Fund: Hunger Is program and The Margaret H. and James E. Kelley Foundation by way of the Natrona County Library Foundation.

Natrona County Library looks forward to lots of educational cooking courses in their future, and can’t wait to share everything they’ve learned with both food enthusiasts and cooking newbies alike.

Svoboda Named Libraries Build Business Coach



Portrait of Rachael Svoboda
Rachael Svoboda

Laramie County Library System’s Business Services Coordinator Rachael Svoboda was selected by the American Library Association’s Libraries Build Business initiative as one of six coaches who will support library professionals around the country who want to start or grow their organizations’ small business development programs.

Since the summer of 2020, Svoboda has overseen the implementation of the Libraries Build Business grant awarded to Laramie County Library System. Libraries Build Business is a national program supported by Google.org that seeks to build capacity and expand library programs and services for the small business community and local entrepreneurs. Svoboda has used the funding to spearhead the Wyoming Library to Business initiative.

As part of the initiative, Svoboda has partnered with the Wyoming State Library, Wyoming Women’s Business Center, Wyoming SBDC Network, Steve Boss (UW Coe Librarian), and Wyoming SBA to curate Wyoming’s small business resources. The partnerships and funding also work in tandem to provide technology for public libraries to empower their local small businesses and entrepreneurs.

As a coach with the Libraries Build Business initiative, Svoboda will provide feedback, peer review, technical assistance, and one-on-one coaching sessions to assist other libraries around the country in creating successful and sustainable business programs of their own. Svoboda will assist with creating resources and networks to expand the capabilities of several other organizations. The award comes with additional grant money for the Wyoming Library to Business initiative, and the title of an American Library Association Fellow throughout Svoboda’s six-month term.

Learn more about the Libraries Build Business grant, Library to Business (L2B) program, and resources available for business owners and entrepreneurs in the community, visit lclsonline.org/services/l2b. For more information on the Wyoming Library to Business initiative visit library.wyo.gov/business.

UW’s George W. Hopper Law Library Honored



Tawnya standing in green shirt and dark suit by law library sign
Tawnya Plumb

From UW News

The George W. Hopper Law Library in the University of Wyoming’s College of Law has been recognized with the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) Excellence in Community Engagement Award for a program to provide legal research training to librarians around the state.

The initiative, “Access to Justice: Legal Research on the Road,” was developed and administered by Tawnya Plumb, a law librarian and head of collections at the George W. Hopper Law Library.

The Excellence in Community Engagement Award honors outstanding achievement in public relations activities by AALL members, chapters and libraries focusing on law library outreach to their communities.

The goal of the project was to visit each county in Wyoming to work with public librarians, community college librarians, tribal librarians and community groups for the purpose of providing legal research training. Training librarians then allows them to assist the members of their communities who may need to research legal problems.

An important aspect of this program is the resulting networking between UW’s law library and the various libraries in the state as they encounter issues with access to legal resources and information. Plumb says many individuals find legal research intimidating, and librarians often field requests from low-income Wyoming citizens with legal issues.

Plumb received support from UW’s Office of Engagement and Outreach and Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research as a recipient of a 2019 Faculty Engagement Fellowship award.

New Website Showcases Wyoming COVID-19 Memories



Dinosaur statue is wearing a face mask and standing in front of pine trees and within a fence.
This photo of the Tyrannosaurus rex statue in front of UW’s Geological Museum was taken in 2020. (Richard Travsky Photo)

From UW News

Wonder what happened in Wyoming last year? Visit the new “COVID-19 in Wyoming” website to catch a glimpse of the past.

This new website shows some of the many fascinating donations shared with the Wyoming State Archives, Wyoming State Museum and the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC) that help tell the history of the pandemic in Wyoming.

Over the past year, people throughout Wyoming sent in their stories and shared their experiences about what living through COVID-19 has been like. Included on the “COVID-19 in Wyoming” website are photos of homemade masks; COVID monologues from a performing arts studio; website messages from state officials; interviews of college students; protest photos; and television ads. These examples show the many ways the pandemic had an impact on life and illustrate how people are coping and thriving.

Bringing together these stories at the Wyoming State Archives, Wyoming State Museum and the AHC will paint a picture for what future generations see, hear and understand about this unique time. With the new online platform, the Wyoming community can easily see the not-too-distant past and get some perspective on how far we’ve come since early 2020.

If you want to add your own story, or for more information, email State Archivist Kathy Marquis at kathy.marquis@wyo.gov; Jennifer Alexander, Wyoming State Museum, at jennifer.alexander@wyo.gov; or AHC Archivist Sara Davis at sarad@uwyo.edu.

The Joy of Books at Wyoming Reads



Five women stand outside behind a sign that says "Happy Wyoming Reads Day" with library building in the background
Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon and Natrona County Library staff with a welcoming message to students on Wyoming Reads day, May 18. From left to right: Chelsie Troutman, Teen/Youth Services Specialist; Jennifer Beckstead, Youth Services Manager; Jennie Gordon; Lisa Scroggins, Executive Director; and Kate Mutch, Assistant Director.

Wyoming Reads, held in all 23 counties, gives a hardback picture book to keep to every Wyoming first-grade student. More than 6,800 students received a book to cherish that they picked from this year’s six selections.

Last year, the event had to be postponed until the fall with children out of school due to the pandemic. This year, it’s back on schedule, although with accommodations for current COVID restrictions and concerns in different communities.

Wyoming Reads is a program of the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. It began in 1999 as “Casper Cares, Casper Reads” and expanded statewide in 2006. John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation and the annual celebration to honor his late wife’s commitment to literacy and books. Wyoming Reads uses the State Library’s Central Acquisitions program to purchase books at steep discounts to stretch donated dollars.

We hope you enjoy these pictures of the happenings around the state.

Woman reading to group of first grade students in front of library shelves. Students are wearing tie-dye t-shirts.
Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon was a guest reader at Natrona County Library.
Ten first grade students, four kneeling and six standing, holding up picture books. Some students are in plaid school uniforms.
Students at John Paul II Catholic School in Gillette with their books. They celebrated Wyoming Reads last week.
Brown-haired woman with eyeglasses and blue shirt in wooden chair holding young boy who is standing in front of her and holding a Wyoming Reads bag.
Kate Mutch with her grandson Theodore, who is a first grader in Sheridan at Sagebrush Elementary, which celebrated Wyoming Reads last week. Kate, the Assistant Director at Natrona County Library, was able to join Theodore’s classroom as a special guest reader.
Five first grade students holding up Wyoming Reads bags
Students in Lovell with their Wyoming Reads bags. Middle school students volunteered as guest readers. Students from Lovell and Cowley attended the event at the HYART Theater.

Elder Law Resources for Wyoming Residents



Gavel with elder law plate and books.The George W. Hopper Law Library at the University of Wyoming has a collection of elder law materials available for the use of Wyoming residents. Thanks to a grant from the Wyoming Center on Aging, the library was able to add more books to the collection that address important issues in elder law, such as elder abuse, health care decision-making, and financial planning. There are resources that would be helpful to attorneys, social workers, individuals, and others — anyone making decisions for themselves or others.

The library has created an elder law resource guide that includes not only these books, but also freely available resources, such as web sites, blogs, and podcasts. Find the guide at uwyo.libguides.com/elderlaw.

The George W. Hopper Law Library lends to Wyoming residents — directly to attorneys and through interlibrary loan for other patrons. To borrow one of the books listed in the guide, contact your local public or community college library, or contact the law library at lawref@uwyo.edu.

For more information about the law library’s collections and services, contact them at lawref@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-2210.

Children’s Discovery Center at the Rock Springs Library



Children playing at the wind tunnel in the new Children’s Discovery Center.

The Children’s Discovery Center at the Rock Springs Library opened in March. The idea began in the spring of 2019 when longtime Rock Springs resident Jana Pastor approached the library system about establishing a children’s museum type of space in Rock Springs. Both libraries in Rock Springs were considered. The downtown library was eventually selected because of the value this type of space will bring the downtown area.

Funds were raised in a matter of months thanks to several donations by local nonprofits, businesses and private citizens. Construction began in January of 2020 after the entire Children’s Department was relocated from the bottom floor of the library to the top floor. This required other areas of the library to be modified. An unused teen section was eliminated, the adult non fiction collection was condensed, the audiobooks were relocated. Many items were moved across town to the White Mountain Library. Countless hours were spent by staff, volunteers, and Jana and her family to prepare the space.

Now open, the space includes a mini grocery store, ice cream truck, dress up stage, animal hospital, flight simulator, wind tunnel, building area with numerous blocks and much more. This space is a new way for children to learn and discover and represents how libraries are changing to meet the different needs in their community.

Jana Pastor and students from the YWCA cut the ribbon for the Children’s Discovery Center.
Jana and her grandchild in the new Discovery Center space.

Wyoming Bookmobile Parade!



National Library Outreach Day (formerly National Bookmobile Day) is today, April 7. The event celebrates library outreach and the dedicated library professionals who are meeting their patrons where they are. Whether it’s a bookmobile stop at the local elementary school, services provided to community homes, or library pop-ups at community gatherings, these services are essential to the community. Each year, National Library Outreach Day is celebrated on the Wednesday of National Library Week.

The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services is marking the day with a parade! See bookmobiles from libraries everywhere on their Twitter feed and Facebook page.

In the meanwhile, we’d like to share some our favorite Wyoming bookmobile pictures here.

Woman speaking in front of bookmobile that has image of an outdoor scene on its side.
Natrona County Library Director Lisa Scroggins with the library’s newest bookmobile, launched early in 2021.
Laramie County Library System’s bookmobile.
Natrona County Library’s former bookmobile, which has found a new home at the Albany County Public Library. We’ll keep you posted when WCPL launches bookmobile services!

Board Games: Then and Now



By Tyler Brown on the Albany County Public Library blog

Risk board game closeupWhen you hear “board games” what comes to mind? Many people think of the games they enjoyed when they were younger like Monopoly, Clue, and Risk — some of my own favorite gaming memories are playing these games with my family and friends when I was younger. But board games have been around for about 7000 years and the games many think of as classics come from a long history — a history that is still being written.

Early Board Games

Hands of Black African People playing Mancala gameAs soon as humans began to have spare time from the pursuit of survival, we started creating games. The history of board games starts with a few holes in the ground and a handful of rocks. One such game, mancala, first appeared across Africa and Asia in around 5000 B.C. Not much has changed with mancala, you’ve probably even played a similar version to that of your prehistoric ancestors. However, simple games like mancala have been updated as modern board games. In Five Tribes by Italian board game designer Bruno Cathala instead of picking up seeds or stones, you are moving various tribes of Arabia throughout a desert, interacting with djinn, trading resources, and consulting elders.

Dice Through the Ages

Dice have also played an important role in games throughout human history. From pagans in the West Fjords of Iceland telling fortunes to modern-day friends sitting around a table with a handful of dice playing Dungeons and Dragons. From Roman Centurions hoping gods would give them an advantage on the battlefield to VA hospitals and therapists using role-playing games to treat PTSD. The evolution of throwing dice is varied and exciting.

One example of the long history of dice is the phrase “roll the bones”, referring to game dice. The “bones” in question actually refer back to real bones. Astragalomancy was a popular form of divination used throughout Europe, with many archeological findings dating back to 500 B.C. The name, astragalomancy, comes from the astragalus bone—a small ankle bone. This bone, generally from sheep or goats, was originally used to find answers to yes or no questions. As time went by more results were added, different materials were used, shapes changed, and now in modern times there exist hundreds of different dice.

20th Century

Monopoly Board Game CloseupPost-WWII board games fell into two distinct camps: those published in the USA and those published in Europe, mainly Germany. The games released in the US were games focused on head-to-head competition.

For example, Monopoly, originally called The Landlord’s Game, was designed in 1903 by Lizzie Magie to show the evils of capitalism. However, it was re-released by Parker Brothers—through some very questionable and apt legal battles in 1935—and focused on bankrupting your opponents. Monopoly is a zero-sum game, which means that everything you gain is essentially a loss for your opponents. As I am sure you’ve experienced, this creates a somewhat volatile play experience that generally ends with one player having enjoyed their evening and leaving everyone else a little bitter.

Many games released in the US follow this equation. Many other games released in the latter half of the 20th century such as Risk, Axis and Allies, and Battleship, etc. recreated war in such a way that didn’t quite resonate as well with Germany as they did in the US. This specific way of gaming led to a board game revolution of sorts.

The European Renaissance

The Settlers of Catan board game

The games coming from Germany in the late 20th century shifted away from direct conflict, destructive, zero-sum experiences, and toward creating nuanced approaches focused on metaphor, building, and community. These games generally became known as “Eurogames.”

One of the most famous of these games is Settlers of Catan, designed by Klaus Teuber, in which players have arrived on an island and begin to settle it by trading resources, building roads, settlements, and cities. The game creates an experience where players are not at odds with one another, they each try to do their own personal best without direct conflict with everyone else at the table. This isn’t to say the game contains no conflict—finding yourself low on sheep and your friend refusing to trade is just as infuriating as anything experienced in Monopoly. The point of Settlers of Catan is that you do the best you can without explicitly harming another player’s ability to do well, and in the end, you don’t have tears — at least not usually.

Board Games Today

German board games stormed across the Atlantic Ocean and changed the way we play. Europe’s board game renaissance did more than just create a different way to play—it influenced the way games were being made in America. The space between the conflict-driven post-WWII games in the US and Eurogames was quickly filled by an amalgamation of the two. Modern board games have evolved from and directly responded to earlier games in different ways.

For example, Catan is far from a perfect game. One rough spot, in particular, is how problematic the theme of “settling” land can be. Colonialism isn’t a bright point in history. In 2017, after countless games like Catan—based on colonizing new lands—were designed, an anti-Catan type game was released named Spirit Island. In Spirit Island players work together cooperatively as elemental entities protecting the natives of their island from incoming settlers. Spirit Island is just one example among thousands and thousands of modern games, but it’s a prime example of the depth and consideration in modern board games.

This is where we are today. Each year over 5,000 new games are released. Over the past 20 years, the board game industry has outpaced nearly every other industry — many even claim that its sudden rise was statistically greater than Google’s. Games are an intrinsic part of being alive in the world, they always have been. They allow us to learn, be imaginative, have fun, and heal.

The ultimate lesson games give is not about gratification and reward, nor about media and technology, nor about art and design. It is a lesson about modesty, attention, and care. Play cultivates humility, for it requires us to treat things as they are rather than as we wish them to be. If we let it, play can be the secret to contentment. Not because it provides happiness or pleasure — although it certainly can — but because it helps us pursue a greater respect for the things, people, and situations around us.

-Ian Bogost, Play Anything 2016

Board Game Suggestions

That’s just a quick history of where board games have been. Here are a few newer board game recommendations based on the “classics” you know.

Do you like Monopoly?
Try: Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride
Both of these are pretty popular and well known in modern gaming circles. Both have plenty of situations that will allow your family to have some good old conflict, but they are simple enough to learn in 10 minutes, won’t last all night, and won’t end in tears.

Do you like Clue?
Try: Cryptid
Clue is all about deduction, but Cryptid is Clue on Steroids. It’s quite a bit more advanced but easy to learn and quick to play, and who doesn’t like trying to find supernatural and creepy monsters?

Do you like Jenga?
Try: Rhino Hero: Super Battle
Do you like the intensity of knocking down large structures? Well, let’s take it up a notch. In Rhino Hero: Super Battle you build the structure and climb as you act like the superheroes you are, but be careful of the evil monkeys.

Do you like Risk?
Try: Inis
Tired of your friends hiding out in Australia and then crushing you after 6 hours? Take on the role as a Celtic chieftain and discover multiple ways to victory. It won’t take you longer than a couple hours and will scratch all the same itches as Risk, with the added bonus of strategy and incredible interactions you won’t forget.

Do you like Yahtzee?
Try: That’s Pretty Clever
You like rolling bones and fighting against yourself to make the best decisions? This German dice game is incredible and takes little effort to learn. I promise you’ll forget that Yahtzee exists once you’ve played this.