Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

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.

Diversity at the Lincoln County Library



By Kellie Humphries, Youth Services Librarian, Lincoln County Library

February is Black History Month! With this celebration and all that has happened in the past year, it caused me to contemplate diversity. Webster’s defines diversity as “the condition of having or being composed of different elements.” But what does that mean? What is diversity? I remember learning in biology classes that the more diverse an ecosystem was the healthier it was. It was also more apt to survive drastic changes.

When looking at people and libraries, the same applies. The more we as people are exposed to diverse situations, people, ideas, and places the more we grow. Healthy, positive interactions with people who are different from us create amazingly strong relationships. Libraries are great places to unmask new ideas and experience different diverse peoples.

At the Lincoln County Library System we strive to have a diverse collection of materials. We have materials about, and written by, a variety of people from an array of races, genders, nationalities, sexual orientation, and family situations. We strive to have books that anyone can relate to, where they can see themselves in the books they read and in the illustrations in the books and on the covers.

Some of my favorite diverse books or authors are:

For kids: “Ways to Welcome” by Linda Ashman, “Go Show the World: A celebration of Indigenous Heroes” by Wab Kinew, “The Arabic Quilt: an immigrant story” by Aya Khalil, “Say Something!” by Peter H. Reynolds, and “All are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold

For upper elementary students: Any Rick Riordan book, the Aru Shah series by Roshani Chokshi, the Tristian Strong series by Kwame Mbalia, and “The Dragon Pearl” by Yoon Ha Lee.

For teens: “The Music of What Happens” by Bill Koningsberg, “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes” by Atia Abawi (Wyoming Soaring Eagle Book Award nominee 2019-2020), “Parachutes” by Kelly Yang, “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds, the “Killer of Enemies” series by Joseph Bruchac, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas and “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know” by Samira Ahmed.

For adults: “Boyfriend Material” by Alexis Hall, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” by Emmanuel Acho, “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett, “HUMANS” by Brandon Stanton, “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride, “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins and any books by Jodi Picoult, Ha Jin, and Jamie Ford.

Come check out any of these great books, or other diverse titles, at the Lincoln County Library System or your local library

Albany County Public Library Announces Bill Forgiveness



Albany County Public Library logoAlbany County Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines on any check out items. Overdue fines had been temporarily suspended during the pandemic for all patrons. The ACPL Board of Directors has voted to make this a permanent change.

“We asked staff to do a cost benefit analysis and determined that this was the best move for our community,” said Board Chair, Scott Shoop. “For me this is an equity issue. Overdue fines can block access to members of the community, so this change will help lower barriers and increase access.”

Collecting fees has not been a significant source of revenue for ACPL. Income from overdue fees falls into the library’s operating revenue area of the budget. This area is already a small portion of the overall budget, and overdue fees were the smallest share of operating revenue.

To celebrate ACPL going fine free, the ACPL Board of Directors is doing a one-time fine forgiveness on all past library bills before Feb. 1, 2021. Any bills posted by ACPL prior to that date have now been waived and patron accounts have been reset to $0.

Patron library cards are blocked when fines reach $25 dollars, so this fine forgiveness will unblock all patron cards.

“We are so grateful for our community and the outpouring of support we have received this past year,” said Library Director, Rachel Crocker. “We know that 2020 was a hard and complicated year and that many in our community are struggling. We hope this one-time fine forgiveness will help.”

While the library is eliminating overdue fines, fees for lost or damaged items and shipping costs for inter-library loans will not change. Printing costs will also remain the same.

The change follows national trends and recommendations from the American Library Association.

AHC Primary Sources for Wyoming History Day



Female student in period dress with hat standing at podium.
A past Wyoming History Day student makes her presentation during the 2019 competition. UW’s American Heritage Center, which hosts the annual event, has developed a website with digitized materials to help students with their projects. (UW Photo)

From UW News

A website recently launched by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC), a Wyoming History Day (WHD) participant, now boasts digitized materials on 12 popular topics within the AHC’s collections — with more planned.

The website provides online delivery of historical materials to WHD students to help create their projects and presentations. WHD is an affiliate of National History Day (NHD), with the competition running across the entire school year through district meets and then the state competition. The top projects compete at the national level.

WHD participants, as well as scholars and the public, can find contextualized resources relating to the 2021 NHD theme of “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

Current resources are available on subjects such as UW’s Black 14 football players; Chief Washakie; Heart Mountain Relocation Center; women’s suffrage; the first U.S. female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross; the Rock Springs Massacre; the Pony Express; Project Wagon Wheel; radio, television and film; the Second Red Scare; women photographers and filmmakers; and architecture. All can be accessed at www.wyominghistoryday.org.

UW’s AHC created the website with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries awarded last fall. The IMLS grant will enable the AHC, in coming months, to provide materials for 30 topics held in nearly 90 collections.

In past years, students have visited the AHC in person to use its collections. Wyoming’s weather and winter roads often have made the trips difficult but, with the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are no longer possible. The IMLS grant enables the AHC to digitize holdings for the History Day competition and to build and host the website to make those digital copies available to students across Wyoming and around the nation.

The WHD website will be updated each year to accommodate the new annual History Day theme. It allows the AHC to continue to provide a comprehensive and consistent location for distributing digitized materials. This will alleviate Wyoming’s problem of rural access to primary sources and educational materials, even when COVID-19 finally recedes.

The AHC has coordinated WHD for more than a decade, hosting the state competition in Laramie every April. This year’s competition will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

For more information, call Green at (307) 766-2300 or email wyominghistoryday@gmail.com.

Natrona County Library Launches New Bookmobile



Woman speaking in front of bookmobile that has image of an outdoor scene on its side.
Natrona County Library Director Lisa Scroggins speaking at the library’s bookmobile launch party.

Today, January 29, the Natrona County Library debuted their new bookmobile, complete with a wheelchair lift for expanded access and an exterior design that is an homage to what makes the community so unique: the great outdoors. The new bookmobile will gradually resume mobile outreach services in February, with select stops at local daycares and preschools.

In the fall of 2019, the library secured funding from both Natrona County and the City of Casper through optional 1¢ funds to purchase a new, more reliable bookmobile to serve the community. In February 2020, after an extensive RFP process, the library signed on the dotted line with LDV Custom Specialty Vehicles to build a brand new bookmobile.

LDV crafted a vehicle that provides an enhanced user experience, with a specialty wheelchair lift to empower even more people to access the bus, and snap-out shelving that will also serve as removable book carts. With the lift, the bookmobile drivers can load and unload these carts, creating the ability to customize collections for certain audiences and provide lobby-stop services to better meet the needs of the community.

The new bookmobile was delivered to the library in late December 2020 after 10 months of build-out, and is set to hit the streets in early February. The new bookmobile replaces one that has served the community’s readers for 16 years. COVID-19 meant a temporary suspension in bookmobile services beginning last March, and it is with great excitement that the library slowly resumes their mobile outreach services with their shiny new ride.

In 2004, the Library purchased a bookmobile to replace the beloved Old Blue, a relic of the 80s. In 2013, the Library gave that bookmobile a facelift with a colorful new wrap, and this is the bookmobile that’s been driving around town and parked in front of daycares, nursing homes, and many other local organizations over the past several years. The library’s bookmobile is a vital part of its outreach services, taking materials to people who might not otherwise be able to come into the Library.

The library has been working directly with staff at many of their regular stops to ensure community safety as they resume these services.

“I’m eager to get back on the road and see the patrons on my route,” said Lee Tschetter, Natrona County Library’s bookmobile driver. “Keeping everyone healthy while providing access to materials is our primary goal right now, but I’m looking forward to expanding our bookmobile services even more once it is deemed safe to do so.”

Why is the Library Important to You?



We asked library patrons that question on Wyoming Snapshot Day last month. Here is a selection from their responses. You can read them all on the Snapshot Day website.

Alpine Branch Library

“I would never have survived the virus without our wonderful library. The pick up service was a life-changer for me. A million thanks! I really am nuts about the Alpine Library.”
Nancy Hale

Glenrock Branch Library

“The library is important to me because there are all my friends here and there are so many books to escape into, and there are computers which hold my favorite games.”
Patron under the age of 18

Big Horn County Library

“It’s a great place for my kids to learn. They have any book imaginable and provide Storytime and crafts to them. The information available is priceless and the staff is great.”
Rebecca Burbridge

Lincoln County Library

“I enjoy the library. The librarians are nice, they help me with the internet which I can’t afford at home. It is a nice place to relax and lots of good books to read.”

“Because I know when I come in I will get help.”

Crest Hill Elementary School

4th and 5th grade students

“Libraries are important to me because they are one of the only ways I get to read more books and I get to learn a lot from books.”

“It’s a safe place and it’s a non-judgmental place.”

Star Valley Branch Library

“Libraries help people get smarter and help people get a better imagination.”
Porter, age 10

“I love the way you guys are always up on the newest tech and trends! (and books!)”

Ten Sleep Branch/School Library

“I love my Ten Sleep Library because I always find wonderful and interesting information, and the staff is phenomenal.”
D. G.

Guernsey Branch Library

“In a rural community the library is vital for education and entertainment.”
Wendy Robertson

Meeteetse Branch Library

“I wouldn’t know what to do without all the expert assistance I receive and always with patience and a smile.”

Campbell County Public Library

“It provides a place for me to study and get all the resources I need for writing papers for college. This is very important because my education is being done all online.”

“I would not be able to get library materials if Dana [Outreach Specialist] didn’t bring them for me. As I have very limited mobility, books are an important outlet for me.”

Park County Library

“I love to read and the library always has new books. Also, the library staff is so friendly and informative.”
Jean Collier

AHC Virtual Exhibit of Laramie Maps



Laramie Wyo. Map, 1913, created by Bellamy and Son, Civil Engineers. Image from the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center.

From UW News

The history of Laramie can be told in many ways: It can feature famous people, significant events, the influence of the railroad or the growth of the University of Wyoming.

UW’s American Heritage Center (AHC) created a virtual exhibition, titled “A History of Laramie Through its Maps,” that tells Laramie’s story through 11 maps of the town and the county.

The map exhibition was curated by John Waggener, reference archivist at the AHC, and published by Hanna Fox, head of the center’s digital Photography Lab. The maps in the collection depict the growth of Laramie.

Laramie owes its existence to the Union Pacific (UP) railroad, which platted Laramie in July 1867. This was almost a year before Laramie was incorporated in May 1868, just a few days before the UP tracks arrived. The plat map shows the narrow lots along First, Second and Third streets and then more sizable lots farther away from the tracks.

The fourth map indicates, in 1887, that West Laramie had just been platted to be 12 blocks wide instead of 10, which was larger than Laramie, as well as a prospective northern addition that did not take off as planned.

“Wyoming University,” established in 1887, was originally two blocks wide and four blocks long in an area planned as a city park. By 1913, it was four blocks square, but still on the edge of town. In this collection of maps, the university did not reach 15th Street until 1946.

For many decades, Laramie only had Undine Park as seen first on the 1887 map, next to a new addition called “Park View.” Washington Park does not appear until the 1946 map, when Laramie had finally grown eastward to build a residential area near it.

For more information about other AHC virtual exhibitions, click here.