Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

Worland Friends Celebrate Women’s Suffrage

Members of the Friends of the Worland Library dressed as suffragists.

December 10, 2019, marked the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Wyoming, and 2020 will bring the centennial of the women’s vote nationwide. The Friends of the Worland Library recently celebrated with a luncheon event in honor of the 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in our Nation.

Guest speaker at the event was Christy Cormier Vickers, an English/social studies teacher at Worland High School.

The guest speaker was Christy Cormier Vickers, an English/social studies teacher at Worland High School. “She gave an excellent presentation and all of us learned more about this event in history!” said Vicki Overcast, of the Friends group.

Vickie said the event drew 45 attendees and raised more than $1,000 to support the library’s summer reading program, Read Across America Day,  movie/soup events at the library, the yearly gingerbread contest prizes, and more. Community members donated silent auction items and door prizes to make the event a success.

The Governor’s Council for the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Celebration wants to encourage organizations and communities to participate in statewide celebrations through September 6, 2020.

Are there upcoming events in your library or community? Contact Chris Van Burgh, Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian, at or (307) 777-3642. She’ll help you share your event on Wyoming Tourism’s calendar and within the Wyoming Library Community as well as answer any questions you may have about how to get involved.

Participants at the luncheon.

Wits and Wisdom at Park County Library

Reposted from Park County Library

Park County Library recently held the grand opening of  its Wits and Wisdom room (aka the Teen Room), an expanded space for older patrons. Weekdays, during the school year from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., the Wits and Wisdom room will be available to senior citizens for a variety of activities.

Shelly Waidelich, the Young Adult Librarian for the Cody library, will offer computer access, TV, Blue Ray/DVD players and assistance with technological issues. She plans to organize games like bridge, euchre and dominos. “I’m making a place for my seniors to hang their hats,” she said.

Shelly found that she had excess capacity in the teen room, especially from September through May. So, she taught computer classes and tutored patrons in the mornings. Then, one day in 2015, she noticed Olive Yates at the public computers. Olive looked a little puzzled. Shelly offered to help her set up her email account. Olive became a regular for morning sessions on the teen room computers. She researched her family history on and went on to refresh her Spanish language skills online.

The library promotes equitable access for all. Lack of technological skills can hinder people and Shelly sought to address that deficit. She held Tech Rodeos, encouraged teen tech tutors and formalized Senior Computer Days. She manifested the library vision, “Inspiring, Enriching and Empowering” and made it fun.

Given new tools to pursue their passions, lifelong learners are unstoppable. People may need help with smart phones, tablets and laptop computers, but, a little encouragement goes a long way at any age.

Casper College Holds 6th Annual Book Drive

For the sixth year, Casper College Goodstein Foundation is partnering with Wyoming Food for Thought for its Annual K-12 New Book Drive.

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 library’s goal is 800 books. In addition to drop-off points around the Casper College campus, they have an Amazon wish list for those who might want to contribute from a distance. Every title on the wish list is a Wyoming book award nominee.

The Goodstein Library sponsors its book drive to support Casper 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.

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

Building a Better Book

7th & 8th grade students from UW’s Lab School Tactile Design Elective course building better books.

From UW News
By Shannon Smith, former University of Wyoming Library Specialist

Shannon Smith and Teresa Strube attending the Build a Better Book Workshop in Boulder, CO in March.

In January, University of Wyoming Libraries, in collaboration with the UW Lab School, was selected as a partner site for the Build a Better Book (BBB) project at the University of Colorado Boulder. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation, and partner sites range from school libraries to public libraries to academic libraries. The BBB project seeks to help empower school and library makerspaces to “engage youth in the design and fabrication of inclusive media, including picture books, games, and graphics.” This process focuses on the iterative nature of fabrication, testing, and refining designs.

Teresa Strube, UW Lab School Math & Science Teacher, and Shannon Smith, Library Specialist at the Learning Resource Center, joined other members from the 2019 cohort of partner sites to participate in an immersive training experience. Over the course of the training participants were asked to challenge their assumptions of accessibility, step outside of their comfort zones, and engage in conversations to enhance the work of Universal Design within their various maker communities.

The BBB 2019 cohort explored low to no-tech approaches for building tactile and immersive stories and games. Participants discussed in-depth how popular makerspace tools such as Makey Makeys, 3D pens and printers, laser printers, and conductive boards can enhance the goals of student designs as a way to add additional texture and sound to projects. The two-day workshop included tours of Sphero robotics, SparkFun Electronics, and the Boulder Public Library Makerspace (BLDG 61). The librarians and teachers shared their experiences from their maker-centered spaces, heard from researchers on their lessons learned with youth, and even spoke to youth in Boulder who had designed their own multi-lingual (braille, Spanish, and English) board game.

The power of these conversations centered on the possibilities for this work to help youth learn to think from a different point of view. This focus of the project seeks to build empathy among sight-abled youth to support the needs of other youth in their communities both near and far. BBB wants these youth to ask themselves who they are as makers and how they can support the needs of others through the implementation of tactile and audio features into hands-on projects. We are excited to begin our work as BBB partners with middle school students at the UW Lab School, especially as a way to increase conversations of diversity and inclusion. They particularly want to help students explore how design and making can help them become change-makers in the world.

An Unexpected Little Library

By Karen Jean Funk
Washakie County Library Director

From time to time a librarian needs to take a day off from work. The need is there to use some vacation time, take personal time and just to attend to “stuff” that overwhelms us all at times. Sometimes the need is just to decompress from the duties and decisions we have to make day after day.

Today was the day, the ranch where I live is getting ready to brace for the first winter storm of the season. Some of the herds are still on the mountain and gates need to be opened. We had no idea what the conditions were, but I went along into the unknown, seeking adventure and a change of pace.

High in the Big Horn Mountains, close to 7800 ft,  the  “Slip” Road from Kaycee and the “Hazelton” Road meet. We get to our Bear Trap pasture and the cows are encrusted with snow and the wind is icy on our cheeks as we push into the wind. The herd looks thankfully at us as we get the gate open to let them migrate farther down the mountain. It’s time for them to go home and to lower ground where the feed is good and the water isn’t frozen. As we head back down the road I see what looks like a mailbox. Knowing there is no postal route in Johnson County up here, I curiously walk up to the mailbox.

I smile as I see it. And think, I can never get away from this! Written on the side of this mailbox, it says LIBRARY. I opened the door, instructions fell to me in black lettering inside the door. “Take a Book,” it said! A healthy selection of books, magazines, and even a CD awaited me. How wonderful,  I thought I as I looked at the titles! Holding tight to each one as the mountain wind and snow were revving up, I made a selection. What am I doing, I thought! I reminded myself that I was trying to disengage from the Library…and looked what happened?!

This re-affirms what people ask me every day. Are libraries going away? Are they dead? NO! The libraries will never die. This of all things must prove that!  There is a need to educate, entertain, and to share our passion with books. If you’re in the Big Horn Mountains sometime, just beyond the Slip, look for the mailbox. It is on the Hazelton Road, a dirt road, a stock drive. Take a book or two, and if you have a spare, share one.

It was a great day off!

New Location in the Works for Washakie County Library

L-R, Terry Livingston, Library Board President; Arron Anderson, County Commissioner; Mary Grace Strauch, County Clerk; Fred Frandson, County Commissioner; Lee and Gerry Kennedy, sellers of the Kennedy Ave Hardware Building; Karen Jean Funk, Washakie County Library Director; and Terry Wolf, County Commissioner.

A new home for the Washakie County Library is in the works. In September, Washakie County Commissioners signed a $525,000 purchase agreement with Lee and Gerry Kennedy for the Ace Hardware building in downtown Worland.

Library Director Karen Funk said the idea of a new space for the library has been on their minds for years, and this opportunity presented itself in March. The library is currently housed in a former hospital with many small spaces and rooms and poor flow throughout.

“We’ve just ‘made do’ with what we had for an incredibly long time,” Karen said. “We’ve struggled with finding enough room for books, programming, and seating — including comfortable seating for families in the children’s room.” Meeting room space and electrical capacity has also been a concern, she said.

Accessibility will be key in the new location. The building has off-street parking on the main street through town. Karen said they hope the greater visibility will increase library use, as well as help with economic growth with a new and dynamic focus to the downtown area.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Karen said. “Our community will have better access to the materials in the library, and the staff will be able to help patrons more efficiently. We’ll also be able to host after-hours meetings for our community in the new space when the main part of the library is closed.”

Closing on the building is set for November 5, and money has been set aside from one-cent sales tax funds for the purchase. In addition to county funding, the library will search for matching grants to help with the renovation and interior needs for the new building.

At this time there’s no timeline in place for the renovation, although the library has a conceptual design in hand. The current owners have up to one year to move, at which time the work of meeting code, adding fire suppression, and installing a new water line the length of the building will begin. New LED lighting, security, and a new front entrance directly accessible from the parking area will all be addressed as those involve engineer a design. Karen estimates the project may take up to two years.

Karen’s excited for the future of the library and what it will mean to local residents. “Washakie County may not be the richest county in the state, but it’s rich in community,” she said. “We plan on giving the people we serve a public library built for the 21st Century — the most valuable, unique resource we can offer that’s free for everyone to use.”

Wyoming Reads 2020 Books Selected

From Wyoming Reads

It’s officially official: the six books for next year’s Wyoming Reads have been selected, and they are better (and funnier and cuter and cleverer and sweeter) than ever before! Wyoming’s first graders are going to have a hard time picking just one of these fabulous books:
  • The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
  • Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich
  • Cake! by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnett
  • El Chupacabras by Adam Rubin
  • Once Upon a Goat by Dan Richards
  • High Five by Adam Rubin

Wyoming Reads is a statewide celebration focusing on the joy of reading. The highlight is that every first grade student in Wyoming receiving a hardback book with their name printed inside the cover, donated by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. John Jorgensen established the foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads festival to honor his late wife’s commitment to children and reading. The celebration was expanded statewide as Wyoming Reads in 2006.

Events are held in all 23 counties. During the 2019 celebrations in May, more than 7,500 students received a book they picked out to cherish and keep.

October is American Archives Month

The Wyoming State Archives will celebrate American Archives Month in October with a special public lecture and participation in two national campaigns to promote awareness about archives.

On Tuesday, October 15, at 6:30 p.m., Rick Ewig, former Associate Director of the American Heritage Center, will present “Ira Hanna: Cheyenne’s Around-the-Clock Mayor.” Ewig’s talk will explore bribery, corruption, and gambling by the mayor of Cheyenne and its chief of police, culminating in a 1944 trial and prison sentence for all involved.

Ask an Archivist Day is October 2. Archivists at the State Archives (@WyoArchives) will be responding to questions from around the country via Twitter. Use the hashtag #AskanArchivist and challenge them! This is part of a campaign sponsored by the Society of American Archivists.

Electronic Records Day is on October 10. Sponsored by the Council of State Archivists, the purpose of Electronic Records Day is to raise community awareness of digital records and the need to manage and preserve them.

The public is invited to visit the Wyoming State Archives at 2301 Central Ave. in Cheyenne to discover the many resources available for family and local history, academic research, or just personal curiosity about Wyoming history. Visit their website at and explore the online resources listed under the Find It in the Archives tab.

American Archives Month is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of records of enduring value. Archivists are professionals who assess, collect, organize, preserve, maintain control of, and provide access to information that has lasting value, and they help people find and understand the information they need in those records.

For more information, contact Kathy Marquis, Interim State Archivist at the Wyoming State Archives at or (307) 777-8691.

The Wyoming State Archives is accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. If you require special assistance, please contact the Wyoming State Archives at (307) 777-7826.

Rock Springs Library Creating a Children’s Discovery Center

Rock Springs Library’s youngest patrons will soon be able to explore a planned Children’s Discovery Center. (Photo from Wyoming Snapshot Day 2018.)

The Rock Springs Library on C Street, part of the Sweetwater County Library System, is embarking on an exciting transformation that will provide new fun and educational experiences its youngest patrons.

The library has joined forces with the City of Rock Springs, private businesses, and volunteers to launch a Children’s Discovery Center in the lower of level of the building. The Discovery Center will include exhibits with hands-on exploration and an environment rich in materials that inspire imagination. Younger children will be able to play in stores and offices in a miniature town. Older children will be fully immersed in science, technology, and building activities. Libraries across the nation are rethinking library space looking to provide new and different learning opportunities for children. They are now and will continue to be more than just a place for books; they’re a place to learn, to play, and to grow.

“The library system has been trying to come up with something for a while,” said Library Director Jason Grubb. “The recently remodeled Louse Wesswick Learn and Play Room at the Rock Springs Library was a small attempt. This room is regularly open for free play. When longtime resident Jana Pastor approached us about setting up a children’s museum at the library we knew there was an opportunity — and it’s a great opportunity — not to lose a library or replace a library, but to follow a national trend and offer additional services. The Children’s Discovery Center is the perfect concept. It weds traditional library services with new and interesting ways of learning. We’re very excited.”

In addition to the generous donations made by local businesses, the library also received grants from the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation and the Wyoming Community Foundation that will be used to purchase a modular exhibit framework and wind exhibit.

The addition of the Children’s Discovery Center will take some time to complete, but the library staff is currently working to rearrange the space, so patrons will see immediate movement. The hope is to open the Discovery Center in the summer of 2020. For updates of the progress of this project, follow the Sweetwater County Library System on Facebook.

UW’s ‘Archives on the Air’ Honored

From UW News

The University of Wyoming American Heritage Center (AHC) and Wyoming Public Media (WPM) recently received a first-place award from the Wyoming State Historical Society (WSHS) in the audiovisual category for their collaborative “Archives on the Air” radio segment.

The award is presented to people and programs that have made an outstanding contribution to Wyoming’s history by developing documentary material in the audiovisual field.

“The American Heritage Center is proud to be home to extensive collections that are available to the public,” said Molly Marcusse, instruction and reference archivist at the AHC. “Our collaboration with Wyoming Public Media on ‘Archives on the Air’ allows us to share stories from those collections across Wyoming so that state residents and passers-through can experience the archives without needing to come to the UW campus.”

The program was nominated for the award by Albany County Historical Society President Jane Nelson. The WSHS Awards Committee judges this category by examining the nomination’s adherence to historical accuracy, quality of writing, usefulness in promoting history, and whether there is an appealing new look at historical information.

“This program is a wonderful part of Wyoming history,” said Jane Gebhart, chair of the WSHS Awards Committee. “Listening to these programs takes you back in time. They are thought-provoking for all ages. The program often sparks your curiosity to learn more.”

“‘Archives on the Air’ is a great example of interdepartmental collaboration at the University of Wyoming,” said Micah Schweizer, Wyoming Public Media’s cultural affairs and production director. “We’re thrilled to be able to share a myriad of remarkable stories from the American Heritage Center’s archives.”

“Archives on the Air” is a minute-long module that airs on Wyoming Public Radio twice a day. The program launched in June 2018 after faculty and staff from the AHC approached Schweizer about providing research support for “Wyoming Minute,” a former WPM production. The discussion led to creating a new program in which both units collaborate and contribute expertise. It’s one of only two known partnerships like this in the country.

Past programs are available for streaming on WPM’s website at