Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

Library a Resource for Community in Crisis



The day after the mines closed, Campbell County Public Library saw a steep increase in the use of its Technology Center.

Campbell County Public Library System (CCPLS) and its employees joined the ranks of the shocked on July 1 as Blackjewel Holdings, LLC, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and abruptly shuttered the operation of Campbell County’s Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines, immediately putting 580 people out of work. As members of the community, and by their very nature as librarians, CCPL staff began to make plans to reach out to local miners.

The first step when they heard the stunning, unexpected news, was to communicate support through social media: “Our hearts go out to all employees of Blackjewel Mines and others affected by mine closures. We stand ready, willing and able to assist with any and all with resume writing, computer services interned access, job search assistance, etc.”

As soon as July 2, CCPL saw a steep increase in patron use of the Technology Center and reference services. Displaced workers came to the library to work on new job prospects, to file for and seek out relief, and to use the library as a hub for information on what to do next. Compared with Reference Department statistics from July 2018, average use increased 64% over two weeks, with a bulk of those statistics coming from job search related questions.

Since the mine closure, CCPL Reference Department staff worked to coordinate with the local Wyoming Workforce Services branch and attended informational sessions for displaced workers to be able to provide patrons with the most up to date and accurate information. Two Saturday resume writing open sessions were held July 6 and 13, and community-sponsored free Technology Center services (printing, copies, faxing, etc.) are being provided to library patrons affected by the mine closures.

CCPL Youth Services continues to provide regular programs and services for children and teens, including free summer reading programs and access to computers within the Children’s Department for parents who need computer access but have children with them.

Through the recent turbulent times for their friends at the coal mines, Campbell County Public Library has been, and continues to be, a community meeting space and resource for access to technology, assistance with online forms, technology skills training, and more.

Park County Archives Joins DPLA



Yellowstone Lake, Park County Archives

Yellowstone Falls, Park County Archives

From the Colorado Virtual Library

The Park County Archives has added almost 15,000 items from their historic photograph collection to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) through the Plains to Peaks Collective, a partnership between the state libraries of Wyoming and Colorado. Their vast collection includes over 20,000 images relating to the town of Cody, Park County, and the region. Park County was organized in 1911 and its boundaries include most of the Shoshone National Forest, one of the first nationally protected land areas, and part of Yellowstone National Park. Researchers exploring this collection can discover beautiful scenic views and learn about early visitor experiences within these two regions.

The collection also holds images of notable Park County ghost towns such as Marquette, which is now found under the Buffalo Bill Reservoir; Kirwin, a turn-of-the-century mining camp which at its peak was home to 200 people — miners and their families; Wiley, the center of a failed 3 million dollar irrigation project that went bankrupt in 1909; and the Elk Basin oil field camp built by the oil company to house employees and their families.

Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Park County Archives

The Heart Mountain Relocation Center, a War Relocation Authority (WRA) facility, that confined Japanese Americans from August 1942 and until November 1945 is also represented in this rich collection. Nearly eleven thousand evacuees were interned there making it the 3rd largest city in Wyoming.

The Park County Archives joins their fellow Wyoming institutions in DPLA: the Wyoming State Library, University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, and University of Wyoming Art Museum.

The WSL supports Wyoming’s involvement in Plains to Peaks using federal Library Services & Technology Act funds through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. If you would like to become a PPC partner or if you have questions about sharing your collections with the DPLA contact Leigh Jeremias, at ljeremias@coloradovirtuallibrary.org.

 

Happy Faces at Wyoming Reads



Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon and State Librarian Jamie Markus reading to students at Laramie County Library in Cheyenne.

Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon and State Librarian Jamie Markus reading to students at Laramie County Library in Cheyenne.

Mark down 2019 for another successful Wyoming Reads celebration. This event, held at locations in all 23 counties, gave a hardback book to keep to every Wyoming first-grade student. More than 7,500 students received a book to cherish that they picked from this year’s selections.

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 day’s happenings. (Click photos to see full size.) You can find more on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Students eating pizza at the Rawlins Library.

Enjoying a bite to eat at the Rawlins Library, Carbon County Library System, during Wyoming Reads.

Students holding up their books during Wyoming Reads at Park County Library in Cody.

Students holding up their books during Wyoming Reads at Park County Library in Cody. Each child chose a book of their choice from a list of six titles.

Wyoming Reads at Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library

Wyoming Reads at Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library

Guernsey-Sunrise School students at Platte County Public Library

Guernsey-Sunrise School students at Platte County Public Library

Jerry Jones reading to students at Natrona County Library. Jerry is NCL's Youth Services Coordinator.

Jerry Jones reading to students at Natrona County Library. Jerry is NCL’s Youth Services Coordinator.

Students enjoying some sunshine during Wyoming Reads at Natrona County Library.

Students enjoying some sunshine during Wyoming Reads at Natrona County Library.

Green River High School students acted out stories for the first grades at Wyoming Reads at Sweetwater County Library.

Green River High School students acted out stories for the first grades at Wyoming Reads at Sweetwater County Library.

Crook County first graders gathered at Devils Tower for Wyoming Reads.

Crook County first graders gathered at Devils Tower for Wyoming Reads.

First grade students with their new books at Niobrara County Library.

First grade students with their new books at Niobrara County Library.

A rapt crowd of students at Laramie County Library in Cheyenne.

A rapt crowd of students at Laramie County Library in Cheyenne.

Crowd of students at Fremont County Library - Lander.

What a crowd at Fremont County Library – Lander!

The first graders from Pinedale Elementary came to the Sublette County Library in Pinedale and had a great time.

The first graders from Pinedale Elementary came to the Sublette County Library in Pinedale and had a great time. They had six guest readers from the community.

Wyoming Reads in Lovell at the Hyart Theatre.

Wyoming Reads in Lovell at the Hyart Theatre. Middle school students read to the different groups of first graders and also dressed up as Mickey and Donald. Students watched the movie Finding Nemo and then they came on stage as their librarians read their names and their principals handed them their new books and library cards.

Students showing off their new books during Wyoming Reads at Greybull Public Library.

Students showing off their new books during Wyoming Reads at Greybull Public Library.

 

Rawlins Library Renovation in the Works



Architect's rendering of the new entrance to the Rawlins Library.

Architect’s rendering of the new entrance to the Rawlins Library.

The Rawlins Library is looking forward to some renovations, thanks to the recent passage of a 6th penny specific purpose tax.

The Rawlins Library is the central library for Carbon County Library System (CCLS). Since 1981, the library has occupied the second floor of the Carbon Building, a county administrative building. The 6th penny tax will generate funds for projects all over Carbon County, and the library’s share will come out of the $27.5 million designated for remodeling the Carbon Building and the Courthouse.

The library will be moved from its current home on the second story down to the ground floor of the building. “The steep staircase that’s now our main entrance will no longer be necessary,” said Jacob Mickelsen, Executive Director of CCLS, “nor will the world’s slowest elevator.”

Instead, patrons will enter through an outdoor plaza area directly into their new, much more accessible library.  New floor plans include designated, organically separated spaces for children, teens, and adults. Major technology infrastructure improvements should future-proof the facility for decades to come. Other planned improvements include a Wyoming history room, a dedicated computer lab, all new spaces for children and teens, and a creation station/makerspace.

“In short, patrons can expect all the same services they currently enjoy — and some new ones —in a space that’s accessible, modern, and welcoming,” Jacob said.  He added that the Carbon Building is a historic structure, “and this project allows the county to protect and respect the past while embracing the future.”

Jacob and the library board and employees are looking forward to working with the project architects in the coming months to flesh out the remodel plans, and they hope to have a construction timeline soon. The library is phase three of a twelve phase plan, “so we ought to have our project commence sooner rather than later.”

The Carbon County Library System has been a part of daily life in Rawlins since 1925, and has changed immensely since its start as one small room at the local school. The library quickly grew to occupy half the ground floor of the courthouse, and moved to its current location 38 years ago.

“A library must change and grow with its community,” Jacob said. “We’re excited to help usher the CCLS into its next iteration and keep serving the public for another century.”

Wyoming Reads Promotes Literacy



Wyoming public library patrons might see some big crowds of little readers tomorrow. On Tuesday, May 14, more than 7,500 books will be distributed to first-graders at Wyoming Reads literacy celebrations held in each of the state’s 23 counties. Many of the celebrations will include a picnic lunch and a special fairytale about “The Good Queen Sue,” a tribute to Sue Jorgensen, in whose memory this event was established.

The Wyoming State Library’s Central Acquisitions Program acquires these books at discounts up to 40 percent, stretching precious dollars so more books can be delivered to grateful young readers.

Earlier this year, children had the opportunity to choose which book they would like to receive from the following options:

  • Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings
  • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates! by Ryan T. Higgins
  • The Princess and the Pit Stop by Tom Angleberger
  • Twig by Aura Parker
  • Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson
  • Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap

Wyoming Reads celebrations focus on the joy of reading, highlighted by each child receiving a hardback book with their name printed inside the cover, donated by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. Each of the six titles had its share of eager readers who wanted their own copy to take home, but Can I Be Your Dog? was this year’s favorite.

John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library 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.

“Sue was always very dedicated to children and to literacy,” says John. “She believed that literacy was the foundation for everything in life.” That vision continues to fuel this community literacy initiative.

Partners in this year’s Wyoming Reads celebration include the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, Tonkin Foundation, McMurry Foundation, Casper Rotary Club, Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board, Friends of the Natrona County Library, and a number of generous individuals.

For more information on Wyoming Reads, visit wyomingreads.org.

Library History: Albany County, Wyoming



In honor of National Library Week, here’s a story from Wyoming’s own library history!

In 1903 the Laramie Boomerang reported on the events of a mass meeting of Laramie citizens who gathered the evening prior. The topic of the hour? Whether or not to accept Andrew Carnegie’s generous offer to build a county library.

The following excerpt shows just how favored the donation was by the citizens of Laramie:

“Whereas, Mr. Andrew Carnegie has offered to donate to Albany county the sum of $20,000, for the purpose of building a public library building in Laramie, on condition that the citizens of said county donated a suitable site for such building and contribute each year for the maintenance and support of said library, the sum of $2,000…The Rev. Mr. Hogbin said that he thought there was really no dispute upon the subject. He had talked to a great many people and they all spoke favorable to the acceptance of the offer…Mr. Crumine said that the $2,000 a year asked for would mean an increased tax of about 50 cents upon each $1,000.
The committee thought that the cost of maintening [sic] the library would be about as follows. For librarian and janitor $1,000 a year; lights and fuel, $300 a year; insurance $125 a year; repairs $75 a year, costs of books and papers $500 a year…Pres. Smiley said that the time had come when Laramie should take cognizance of its duty to the University as a University town. The University was looking forward to the library and reading room and possibly a room where games could be played, as a place which would counteract the bad influences on some other places upon the students.”

There was a nearly unanimous decision to accept the $20,000 donation, a sum equivalent to over half a million dollars today, and the Albany County Carnegie Library was given to the people in January of 1906. The current Albany County Public Library opened in 1981.

This Wyoming history has been brought to you by the Wyoming State Library’s Wyoming Newspapers Project.

Celebrating National Bookmobile Day



Today, April 10, is National Bookmobile Day, and we’d like to give some kudos to Wyoming’s two bookmobiles serving residents of Natrona County and Laramie County. Nationally, more than 650 bookmobiles bring library services to their wider communities.

Natrona County Library Bookmobile

The Natrona County Library Bookmobile travels thousands of miles a year making over 100 stops each month to rural schools, towns, subdivisions, daycares, retirement homes, and other locations in the county. Thanks to the Bookmobile, patrons have the same opportunities they would have if they came to the Main Library. The Bookmobile includes more than five thousand books, movies, and more, and is one of the most heavily used collections. Its impact extends beyond Casper to Mills, Evansville, Paradise Valley, Bar Nunn, and Alcova.  More than 8,000 patrons visit the Bookmobile every year, checking out over 17,000 items, and more than 6,000 children attend over 600 StoryTimes. Being able to provide library services and reading to the children of our county is not only needed but a rewarding service that the Natrona County Library is proud to provide.

The Natrona County Library Bookmobile follows a two-week schedule.  The public is welcome at all Bookmobile stops.  Patrons can apply for library cards, check out items, request items from any Wyoming library for delivery at a Bookmobile stop, or return items from other libraries to the Bookmobile. View the weekly schedule on NCL’s website.

Laramie County Library System Bookmobile

Laramie County Library System has been offering a bookmobile service to the residents of Laramie County for at least 35 years. The bookmobile is a mobile libraries that brings library services to those who may not be able to access a traditional library building. There are community stops, school and daycare visits, and rural stops in Albin and Carpenter. It is also the library liaison at many community events. Find out where the LCLS bookmobile will be next!

Laramie County Hosting its First Library Con



On Friday, April 5 from 1-4 p.m., the Laramie County Library is hosting its very first Library Con! This year’s theme is Anime, and to celebrate the inaugural event the library is hosting renowned young adult fantasy author, F.C. Yee. Yee will participate in a Q&A session where he will discuss his book, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and tease his upcoming novel, The Rise of Kyoshi. Yee will sign copies of his novel which will be available to purchase during the event.

F.C. Yee’s appearance is just one of Library Con’s many Anime-inspired activities. There will be crafts, panels, cosplays, fandom meetups, workshops, and more! Attendees can craft with Washi Tape, build their own Pokémon terrarium, and participate in two panels, “The World of Worbla” and “Intro to Japanese: Anime Style.” The interactive “Quirk 101” workshop will give participants the opportunity to create their own special power and discuss how it could be used in battle. In addition to all of the Anime activities, the library will be hosting local vendors whose art, comics, and creations will be available for purchase.

Library Con Anime promises to provide three hours of fun for tweens and teens of all ages.

Newly Renovated LCCC Library Reopens



Students in the Ludden Library on campus of Laramie County Community College in February of 2019. Michael Smith/LCCC

Laramie County Community College’s Ludden Library recently reopened after a $6.2 million expansion. The project was funded with $2.6 million from the LCCC Foundation and $2.5 million from the Wyoming State Legislature, with the balance coming from a mill levy and major maintenance funds.

Students in the Ludden Library on campus of Laramie County Community College in February of 2019. Michael Smith/LCCC

The new library space is already busy with students and members of the local community exploring all the resources. While the Ludden Library is a college library, it is open to all members of the public who have a library card from any public Wyoming library or college or university.

“Traffic has been huge,” said Associate Dean and Library Director Maura Hadaway. “The feedback from our patrons is amazing. The ones who saw it before the renovation were just floored. We tried not to over-engineer it so that we can make room for people and room for people to grow. There’s a feeling that the library is a space for everyone now.”

When demolition began June 1 last year, the library moved its services into two small rooms in the College Community Center. Most staff worked out of interim locations, the bulk of the physical collection was unavailable, and study space was limited. Still, the library was able to offer regular hours and staffing, computers, a small physical collection, reserve materials, seating, and increased interlibrary loan.

Students in the Ludden Library Learning Commons on the campus of Laramie County Community College in February of 2019. Michael Smith/LCCC

Now the library has a redesigned learning commons, two large conference/instructional rooms, an innovation lab and even a family study room, complete with toys and coloring books, so that students with children can work and study on the two desktop computers. Some much-needed weeding freed up space for students.

Student tutor Haley Simpson, right, helps Amani Kibinda, center, and Gabriella Nunez, left, study for Anatomy class in the Ludden Library on the campus of Laramie County Community College in March of 2019. Michael Smith/LCCC

Maura was especially proud of how well the renovated facility is tailor-made to serve its community. “We did a survey of student needs and asked them what barriers kept them from using our resources,” she said. “We really tried to address those in the renovation. The family study room, more quiet space, more group study space, more technology options—all those were things our students asked for and we were able to deliver.”

Student in the Ludden Library Learning Commons on the campus of Laramie County Community College in February of 2019. Michael Smith/LCCC

The library will hold its official Grand Re-Opening at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 25. Library benefactors Randy and Yvonne Ludden are expected to travel from Texas to join the celebration. The entire community is invited to attend to see this beautiful new space.

The library’s hours and additional information can be found on the LCCC website at http://lccc.wy.edu/library.

 

Finding Aids at the American Heritage Center



Reposted from the American Heritage Center blog

Welcome to the American Heritage Center’s finding aids! What is a finding aid you ask? Finding aids are like a table of contents for the boxes of an archival collection. Finding aids help folks find out information about specific collections we have and what materials are contained in the collection. Archivists create these aids so researchers can figure out if the collection is related to their work.

As archivists finish processing the collection, they create the aids. But the AHC collections are ever growing and they’re always adding more ‘tables of contents.’ So the AHC thought they’d showcase what’s getting added so you know what their archivists are working on.

The strengths of the AHC collections include Wyoming and the American West, politics and public policy, ranching and energy, entertainment and popular culture, industry, transportation, and military history. The documents and archives they hold serve as raw data for scholarship and heritage work, and support thriving communities of place, identity, and interest in Wyoming and beyond.


Finding Aid Updates (from collections processed 12/14/18 – 1/31/19):

James Folger papers regarding the Cooksley sisters. The Cooksley sisters ranched and guided hunters near Kaycee, Wyoming.

Dale B. Fritz films about Afghanistan. Fritz was part of a University of Wyoming team that consulted on agriculture in Afghanistan.

Aviator Ernest E. Harmon. Harmon piloted the first airplane to fly around the rim of the continental United States in 1919.

Soil scientist Gerald Nielsen. Nielsen was part of the University of Wyoming team that worked in Afghanistan in the 1950s-1960s.

Agronomist Lee J. Fabricius and Patsy Fabricius. Patsy Fabricius was secretary for the University of Wyoming team that worked in Afghanistan in the 1950s-1960s.

Oil executive A.G. Setter. Setter was president of the New York Oil Company, which operated out of Casper, Wyoming, from 1918.

Petroleum industry executive W. Alton Jones. Jones was president of Cities Service Company.

Petroleum industry executive William H. Isom. Isom was president of Sinclair Refining Company.

Petroleum oil field worker J. Tom Wall. Wall’s nineteen-page narrative describes his experiences in the Salt Creek oilfields.

Oil prospector Leslie D. Welch. Welch was active in Wyoming and Montana in the 1910s and 1920s.

Martin G. Wenger’s Recollections of Robert Livermore. Wenger recalled a time of labor troubles in Telluride, Colorado, mines.

Oil promoter Robert S. Anderson. Anderson attempted to develop oil in Devil’s Basin, Montana, in 1916.

John H. Hull family papers (this collection has also been digitized and is available online). Correspondence, a memoir, and other documents of a soldier in the American Civil War and his Indiana family.


These and other AHC collections can be discovered in the University of Wyoming Libraries catalog. The AHC is open for walk-in research Mondays 10 am – 7 pm and Tuesdays through Fridays 8 am – 5 pm. For distance research assistance please contact our reference department at ahcref@uwyo.edu or 307-766-3756.

The AHC offers travel grants to help defray the costs of travel to Laramie for research. Travel grant applications are due by April 15, 2019.

The American Heritage Center hopes to make their finding aids a regular feature they’ll run on their blog every four to six weeks.