Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

Celebrating Wyoming Connections

From the Laramie County Library System

A few years ago, the Laramie County Library System staff started a discussion on how we could draw attention to books, movies and CD’s in the collection that had a Wyoming connection. We wanted to denote materials that were written or produced by Wyoming authors or artists as well as those that had a Wyoming setting.

It turned out to be an involved and time-consuming project. In fact, it took a while to even come up with a logo. The classic bucking bronc image is trademarked, and printing in traditional brown and gold would be expensive, so we went with the simple “WYO” in black ink on a beige background. We had to keep the cost down because we knew we would need a lot of stickers. For all our small population, Wyoming residents are a creative bunch. Right now there are over fifty authors on the master Wyoming author list, with more being added all the time. There are also a number of Wyoming musicians whose recordings the library owns.

The list of Wyoming authors ranges from Owen Wister, whose classic western, The Virginian, was published in 1902, to current bestselling mystery authors C.J. Box and Craig Johnson. In between are such notable Wyoming writers as Kathleen and W. Michael Gear, whose long-running Native American historical fiction series has received international attention. And then there’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Annie Proulx, whose novella Brokeback Mountain was the basis for the acclaimed film of the same title.

Other Wyoming authors who are less well-known but who have still built strong followings include mystery writer Curt Wendelboe, inspirational romance author Amanda Cabot, cowboy romance author Joanne Kennedy and rising literary star Alison Hagy, of which her book Boleto, the New York Times Book Review wrote: “…her settings glimmer with well-chosen metaphors.” Wendelboe, Cabot and Kennedy live in or near Cheyenne and Hagy is a Laramie resident.

If keeping track of Wyoming authors is difficult, tracking books with a Wyoming settings is even harder. Because of our scenic beauty, challenging environment and reputation for rugged individualism, Wyoming seems to have a great appeal for fiction writers. Well-known writers who have set novels in Wyoming include thriller writer Lee Child, prolific women’s fiction and suspense author Nora Roberts, and acclaimed mystery writer William Kent Krueger.

The library owns multiple copies of many of these authors’ works and since every copy of every title needs a sticker, it really adds up. And we’re doing this for not only print versions, but audio copies as well. Some of these authors have two or more books out every year, and we also have to purchase replacement copies. And I haven’t even mentioned all the non-fiction and children’s titles included in the project. For example, western Wyoming author Cat Urbigkit has written several children’s books, many of which feature Wyoming settings.

Wyoming has a rich literary history, staggeringly so for such a thinly populated state. Something about this place seems to draw and inspire creative individuals, and it has for decades. Ernest Hemingway was a frequent visitor to the state and wrote much of his acclaimed World War I novel A Farewell to Arms in a cabin near Sheridan. He was once quoted as saying, “There are two places I love: Africa and Wyoming.”

So keep an eye out for the WYO stickers when browsing the stacks and join us in celebrating Wyoming’s rich artistic tradition.

~Mary G.

WSL Closed for MLK/Equality Day

The Wyoming State Library will be closed Monday, January 21, for Martin Luther King Jr., Wyoming Equality Day. We will resume our regular hours on Tuesday, January 22.

In 1973, Wyoming State Representatives Rodger McDaniel, Chuck Morrison, and Elizabeth Phelan introduced a House Bill 373 proposing a “Holiday honoring Martin Luther King.” The bill died in committee that year. It wasn’t until 1990 that the third Monday in January was designated as a state holiday (1990 Session Laws, Chapter 21).

Learn more about the history of MLK/Equality Day in the Wyoming Legislation database.

A Fun Sort of Job

The new sort machine at Laramie County Library in Cheyenne.

From the Laramie County Library System
By Kasey Storey, Communications Coordinator

As you may have noticed, the Laramie County Library System has a brand new sort machine. All operations are running smoothly, and the new system has already started clocking some serious hours! We were curious about sort machines and the people who install them, so we asked Jonathan Michael of Lyngsoe Systems (the company who produced and installed our new sort system) all about it!

Jonathan Michael is a Field Service Technician for Lyngsoe Systems, a job that usually requires a degree in electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. While the company has different branches that install sort systems for airports, hospitals, and postal operations, Jonathan only installs library sort machines. He usually works as a one-man team, installing hardware, finagling with the software, and running final tests on all of the equipment. He has worked for Lyngsoe Systems for almost two years, and in that time he says he has visited over 100 libraries! He has been from Maine to Alaska and nearly every state in between to install sort systems of all different shapes and sizes.

Each sort system looks and works differently based on a library’s needs. Here at the Laramie County Library, our item returns, named Library Mates™, feed directly into our sort machine, but in other libraries the books need to travel great distances to reach the sort system. In some libraries, books travel to basements, while in others books travel along ceilings into different rooms.

Jonathan told us one of the coolest libraries he has visited is a public library in Anchorage Alaska, where he installed over 100 feet of conveyor belt (for reference our sort machine has about 15 feet of conveyor belt) behind earthquake-proof glass that withstands seismic activity. The system can be seen behind the glass, and carries books up along the ceiling by pinching them between the tracks.

Jonathan says he loves installing library sort machines, and has visited Wyoming to work on the Laramie County Library’s sort machine three or four times. According to Jonathan, one of the best parts of his job is that, “everyone is always happy when they see me. Whether I’m arriving to fix or install a sort machine or I’m leaving because I’ve completed the work, everyone is always glad to see me come and go.”

We were certainly happy to see Jonathan arrive to install the new system and happy to see him depart with a new and improved machine in place, and while we were intrigued to hear about all the libraries he has visited and all the machines he has worked on, we have to say that we are partial to our sort system here at the Laramie County Library.

The Library: An Essential Service

At Natrona County Library on Wyoming Snapshot Day

By Jenn Beckstead
Reposted from Natrona County Library

Even in 2018, resources aren’t equitably available to everyone. The library levels the playing field. We offer resources and personal connection to everyone, every age, every demographic. You don’t even have to be a Natrona County or Wyoming resident to use the Library. In fact, our economy and tourism industry benefit from the services we provide visitors. People passing through Casper may stop in to browse, read the newspaper, check their email, print travel passes, get out of the elements, or a number of other reasons.

Here a just a few highlights you may not know are available to you.

The bookmobile is available for everyone to use. If you see it stopped in neighborhood or at a community event, feel free to hop aboard.

Books by Mail
You don’t have to be able to walk through the Library doors to access materials. The books by mail service is designed specifically for Natrona County residents who are homebound, temporarily or long term. Request the items you need, and the library mails them to you. Simply mail them back, with the paid postage, when you finish.

Interlibrary Loan
We’ve all been there. The last user didn’t bring it back. It didn’t survive past the 100th checkout and is no longer available for purchase. It’s specific and difficult to find. Well, the good news is you aren’t limited to the items available in this facility. Our interlibrary loan specialist can borrow items from other libraries in Wyoming and across the United States to fill your need.

Personalized Book Selections 
Are you finding yourself not knowing what to read next? Maybe the book you’re after isn’t currently available for checkout? Library staff are skilled at guiding you to find that next perfect book. Just ask! Love at first read may not happen on the initial suggestion, but keep coming back and we’ll keep recommending.

It’s Your Library
The Library belongs to the residents of Natrona County. In order for the library to feel like yours, it needs to include the materials you want to read, watch, play, or listen to. If you’ve searched the shelves and the catalog and it doesn’t appear the library has your item, make sure you place a request. The library will do our best to find that perfect item as quickly as possible and you’ll be contacted when it arrives.

Library staff may not be experts in everything, but we can help you find or become the expert you need.

Jenn Beckstead is the Teen Librarian at the Natrona County Library. Check with your local library to learn about the full breadth of services offered in your community.

Library for All Gets a Christmas Twist

Lego build

LCLS’s Library for All is tailored specifically for adult patrons with disabilities. Activities usually include a LEGO® build.

On December 11, the Laramie County Library will run a special Library for All event with a Christmas-themed puppet show put on by award-winning ventriloquist Meghan Casey of Rocky Mountain Puppets.

Library for All is a program that is catered specifically to adults with disabilities. Laramie County began offering it as a regular program in December 2017. Held the second Tuesday of each month from September through May, Library for All usually includes a craft, science demo, and LEGO® build. During previous programs, participants have created candle holders, periscopes, tie-dyed pillowcases, and more all while enjoying science demonstrations from Kurt Hinaman that explore everything from what brand of soda reacts best with Mentos to how paper airplanes fly in a wind tunnel.

This program is designed to ensure that every member of the Laramie County community has the opportunity to enjoy library events, making it a library that truly is for all.

The December 11 event will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the Cheyenne library’s Cottonwood Room with popcorn and sugar-free hot chocolate for attendees to enjoy.

Goshen County Using ‘Crowdgranting’ for Community Garden

The raised beds will go outside the activity center.

Goshen County Library is using “crowdgranting” through SeedMoney to create a community vegetable garden. If they meet their $600 goal in 30 days, they’ll be eligible for a $400 challenge grant.

“We want to feed our patrons’ souls, whether through knowledge, art, a peaceful setting, or new opportunities,” library director Joan Brinkley said. “Our goal is to build raised gardens in all of our open areas and invite our patrons, young and old, to grow vegetables, get their hands dirty, meet their neighbors, and to share in the bounty.”

Many have heard of and contributed to crowdfunding through sites like GoFundMe. Crowdgranting represents a new way for nonprofit causes to access funds for their work, combining crowdfunding with challenge grants. SeedMoney offers both traditional grants and crowdgranting to start and sustain food garden projects.

Goshen County’s main source of income is agricultural, and Joan said it’s home to many experienced gardeners who are excited to share their knowledge. “We hope to start small and grow over time. We’d like to help our gardeners to feel a sense of belonging in the community.”

Also, “We want to help fight food insecurities by doing what Goshen County does best: Growing food.”

The mantra with crowdfunding—or crowdgranting— is “every little bit counts.” Learn more about Goshen County Library’s effort on SeedMoney.

Laramie County’s Blockchain Video Now Online

Watch this video to learn how Wyoming is leading the way in applying blockchain to our resources and the way we work. State and international experts discuss how blockchain technology is currently enhancing agriculture, 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.

This event was held at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne on October 4, presented through partnerships with the Wyoming State Library, Wyoming Humanities, and Museum on Main Street.

Libraries and Voting

From Laramie County Library System
By Kasey Storey, Communications Coordinator

Voting and public libraries go hand-in-hand. Think macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or rock and roll: that’s how well libraries and elections go together.

I know, it’s a big claim to put elections and libraries up there with such iconic duos, but just think about it. Public libraries are proponents of free and accessible information, information about proposals, ballot measures, candidates, voter registration, locations of polling places, and more. Libraries provide all sorts of information that will help individuals become well-informed voters.

Libraries are also invested in and dedicated to civic engagement and communal betterment. Public libraries host forums, events, and panels that allow people to gather and share ideas while becoming more involved in their community. Libraries aim to foster intellectual thought and communal conversation in hopes of creating a stronger community. Most everyone who goes to the polls, regardless of party affiliation or beliefs, has the similar goals in mind when they cast their vote: to be engaged, to make the community stronger, and to help improve the lives of their fellow community members.

We read books, listen to music, watch movies, surf the web, and analyze articles while in the library. The media we consume informs the way we engage with our community and helps us shape the ideas we have for its betterment. These ideas turn into votes when we go the polls, and we elect those we believe will help those ideas come to fruition.

The Laramie County Library System is especially dedicated to helping Laramie County voters, and we have resources to help you make informed decisions on Tuesday, November 6. On the third floor at the Ask Here Desk, we have an Election Binder full of pertinent information for Laramie County voters. The binder has a list of key election dates, a map where you can find your voting district for the state senate race, voter registration information, restoration of voting rights information, sample ballots, the League of Women Voter’s Voter Guide, and a list and map of voting centers. We also have brochures with some key information that you can take home with you.

(WSL note: Not in Laramie County? Check with your local library for their voting resources.)

As you can see, libraries and voting are an excellent duo. They go hand-in-hand like mac and cheese, rock and roll, and peanut butter and jelly, and, iconic as those duos are, none of them have made quite the same impact on the world as libraries and voting have.

Casper College Readies for 5th Book Drive

Click image for full-size PDF

The Casper College Goodstein Foundation library is getting ready for its 5th Annual K-12 New Book Drive to benefit Wyoming Food for Thought.

The library sponsors its book drive to support the College’s mission of community building, literacy, and lifelong learning. They also use this event to draw attention to the problem of food-insecure families in Natrona County, by partnering with the Wyoming Food For Thought Project.

Wyoming Food for Thought distributes weekly bags of food to K-12 students who are in food-insecure situations to get them through the weekend. Donations to the library book drive add a new book (ages K-12, all genres) to the winter food bag over the holiday break for the child or teen to keep, read, and treasure. Nonperishable food items are also appreciated.

The K-12 New Book Drive helps raise community awareness of food-insecure families within Natrona County and also gives those families the gift of reading. Last year Casper College Library collected approximately 800 books — enough to give one to each food-insecure child served by Wyoming Food for Thought. The need for food bags (and books) is expected to be at the same level this year.

The Tate Museum Gift shop, Verda James Elementary, Dean Morgan Middle School, and Fort Caspar Academy partner with the library as drop off points for book donations. Collection spots are also found around the college, and library staff can pick up donations from anyone on campus who can’t make it to a collection spot.

Not in Casper? (Or just don’t want to leave the house?) The library has an Amazon wish list of titles you can donate online.

Questions may be directed to the Casper College Goodstein Library at or (307) 268-2269

Teens Create at Charcoal & Quill Guild

Helen Pugsley with some of the teens in Charcoal and Quill Guild.

From Goshen County Library

Helen Pugsley said that when she interviewed for her job with with Goshen County Library Director Joan Brinkley, “Joan mentioned that there weren’t many resources for teens available at that time. During my job interview is when we started laying plans for Charcoal and Quill Guild.”

Charcoal and Quill Guild is a group for creative teenagers. Once a week youths between the ages of 13-18 meet in the back room of the library, have tea, homemade cookies provided by the guild goers that enjoy baking, show each other the art work they made for that week, and do a small art project. “A lot of people can’t believe that kids write and draw outside of English class and art class! When I was younger it was practically a compulsion. The type of kids my friends and I were are the ones I know how to reach. These kids are passionate about being creative and I think everyone needs an adult to fuel that at their age,” Pugsley said.

Camaraderie along with the art

Up to once a month, Charcoal and Quill Guild invites guest creators — artists, writers, poets, film makers, sculptors that have made a career out of their artistic abilities. “I feel that it’s important to show these youths that you can make a career out of art.” Pugsley explained. “And I don’t want to be the only example of that.” (Pugsley is a published author as well as a recreational artist.)

What keeps teens coming back to Charcoal and Quill Guild? In their own words:

“Friends, tea, and most importantly I get to express myself in ways I usually can’t.”

“Yes,” one continued, “We’re all different and here we get to show it.”

“Here I can just be… Me! I feel so safe.”

Family Night

The Charcoal and Quill Guild displays their work in the library’s young adult section on top of the book shelf — both the crafts the teens made during the guild’s hour and things they’ve written and drawn at home.

“We’ve had people who write poetry, draw, fashion design, wood burn, sculpt, edit videos, paint — you name it. Sometimes the hard part is figuring out how best to show the public Goshen County’s teenagers’ works.” Pugsley said. “We have a whole Facebook album.”

Part of the idea is to get the youths used to exhibition. “The more you do it the easier it gets.” This past April Charcoal and Quill Guild even held an open house in the library. The teens had to prepare their art to display, dress nicely, and act like professional artists. “The kids were phenomenal. Their parents and I were so proud of them! Everyone worked so hard to make it a wonderful experience. Especially the parents.”

Goshen County library staff and Charcoal & Quill Guild members all dressed up.

Charcoal and Quill Guild meets once a week on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. Anyone between the ages of 13-18 who has yet to graduate high school is welcome.