Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

A Cowhand’s Christmas Carol at the Lander Library

The melodrama cast, L to R: Lonnie Bull, John P. Shade, Dr. Jeremy Norton, Anna Smedts, Tasha Reeves, Anita Marple

On Saturday, December 16, the Fremont County Library System–Lander and local business sponsor Edward Jones presented a melodrama to the public. “The Cowhand’s Christmas Carol…or, ’Twas Tired of Plum Pudding” consisted of three of the library staff (Manager Anita Marple, and Anna Smedts and Tasha Reeves of Adult Circulation) as well as Edward Jones’ own Lonnie Bull and John P. Shade. Dr. Jeremy Norton was also in the cast.

The community members who came to watch the melodrama filled the library’s Carnegie Room to capacity. One spectator commented that the performance was “fun, pure joy!” Another stated, “I haven’t laughed this much all year.” Edward Jones bought the majority of the costumes for the event and then donated them to the library in hopes that they could use them again for future productions. Library patron David Santana donated his time, sound, lighting and recording equipment in order to make the production even more appealing to the public.

Tasha Reeves, who directed the play, said, “We have noticed a need for this type of entertainment in the community. People want theater here. Our library has the beautiful Carnegie to perform in and people willing to make sure it happens.”

One spectator commented that the performance was “fun, pure joy!”

Anna, Anita, and Tasha are all smiles.

Top Ten Picks of 2017 From Albany County Public Library Staff

Inspired by the LibraryReads #libfaves17 Twitter campaign, Albany County Public Library Staff did a countdown of their favorites from 2017. Anything released in 2017 that the library circulates was eligible, regardless of format. All staff received an email asking them to contribute to a library-wide countdown.

“This was a fun way to allow all staff to share their favorites with the community,” said Megan Richardson, ACPL Adult Services Librarian, “and it also advertises that everyone on staff cares about providing quality materials for them to checkout and enjoy.”

The top ten selections are in the image at right, and you can see all the staff picks here.

The staff who weighed in were:

  • Nathan Bender, Technical Services Librarian
  • Tyler Brown, Adult Services Specialist
  • Bernie Burr-Wilkin, Interlibrary Loan Specialist
  • Cassandra Hunter, Adult Services Specialist
  • Seth Leininger, Facility Maintenance Specialist
  • Jared Mohr-Leva, Circulation Assistant
  • Monica Owens, Youth Services Librarian
  • Elizabeth Palmer, Circulation Assistant
  • Kennedy Penn-O’Toole, Young Adult Specialist
  • Megan Richardson, Adult Services Librarian
  • Allison Schultz, Circulation Assistant
  • Deb Shogren, Youth Services Specialist/Centennial Branch Librarian
  • Ashley Shoefelt, Circulation Assistant
  • Ruth Troyanek, Library Director
  • Kathi Wilhelm, Circulation Assistant

Star Valley Branch Library Gets Future Ready

Abbie Lancaster

Abbie Lancaster, Young Adult Services Librarian at Star Valley Branch Library, part of Lincoln County Library System, has been selected as a participant in the second cohort of Future Ready with the Library. The project, funded by IMLS, develops college and career readiness services for middle school students.

“What I’m most excited about,” Abbie said, “is that we get to broaden kids’ horizons at such a young age. Those middle grades can be weird and confusing for a lot of them. We’re hoping to get them excited for the future and all its possibilities.”

She added, “We want them to dream BIG.”

Star Valley is one of 24 libraries selected to participate in the second cohort of Future Ready. As LCLS’s leader on this project, Abbie will participate in a two-day orientation at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver in February and take part in a virtual community of practice through the rest of the year. The project requires participating library staff to commit approximately 2-3 hours per week throughout 2018.

In the Future Ready program, local libraries work with a community partner, although the Star Valley branch has not chosen one yet. Abbie’s first planned step is to gain feedback through an easy-to-complete and thought-provoking survey for teachers, special-needs aides, church leaders, and interested community members who spend time with young teens.

“My hope is to find out what parents and teachers and community members and the youth themselves think is needed for ‘adulting,'” Abbie said. “Not just one option, not just one skill set, but really opening up the doors for them. And we want the community to know the library has an intense focus on the well-being of our new adolescents.”

In addition to support for Abbie’s attendance at the orientation at ALA Midwinter, the Star Valley Branch Library will receive funds to put toward college and career readiness activities such as programming, and will receive YALSA materials.

Quilts Benefit Johnson County Library Children’s Department

The Johnson County library is auctioning a beautiful quilt collection to raise supplemental funds for its children’s department.

Charlie Ellis was a long-time library friend and supporter of reading who passed away in 2014. A US Navy veteran, Mr. Ellis taught special education in Wyoming for 24 years before his retirement brought him to Buffalo. He continued to work with children by volunteering with numerous organizations around town. After his death, his estate went to the local Masonic chapter in Buffalo. They offered the quilts for a silent auction and specified the money be used for children, a perfect way to honor a man who loved serving and educating children.

His estate continues to support Johnson County with the collection of 22 quilts donated by his estate to the library. Many were created in the 1920s and 1930s, with at least one dating back to the 1880s. The proceeds from this auction will benefit a yet-to-be determined project in the children’s area. The auction ends in mid-December.

More are pictured below, but the full gallery is accessible on Johnson County Library’s Facebook page.

UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium Part of Major Digital Archive Project

Students and volunteers working on the grant are able to digitize and database plant specimens in the Rocky Mountain Herbarium’s new imaging laboratory.

From UW News

The University of Wyoming’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium is a leading partner in a $2.9 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a comprehensive digital archive of more than 1.7 million plant specimens native to the southern Rocky Mountain region.

The University of Colorado-Boulder is the principal lead for the award, which includes 38 universities, botanical gardens, national parks and Native American nations.

The Rocky Mountain Herbarium, as the largest herbarium in the region, will contribute a significant number of specimens and will assist smaller institutions in their digitizing and imaging efforts.

Once it is completed, researchers and the public will be able to access the database for information about the region’s more than 4,000 plant species, from specimens collected from the 1800s to the present. The map-based application will allow visualization of species’ distributions and make available high-resolution images of plant specimens.

“Herbarium specimens are used more and more to document natural resources, elucidate evolutionary relationships and processes, describe the effects of climate change, and to identify organisms and landscapes of conservation concern,” says Rocky Mountain Herbarium curator Burrell “Ernie” Nelson. “Consolidating specimen data from these institutions will lead to more and better understanding of these topics in the southern Rocky Mountains, and may bring to light patterns that have been previously invisible.”

The Rocky Mountain Herbarium is already a leader in the region and among herbaria, in collection size, activity and its online database of digitized specimens. NSF support will make it possible to increase the rate of specimen digitization and imaging, and integrate an estimated 670,000 southern Rocky Mountain specimens into the new “Southern Rockies” portal.

As curator, Nelson will oversee specimen selection and imaging at the herbarium. Larry Schmidt, of the UW Libraries, is project manager for the digital processing and workflow. UW Libraries also is involved in the data management, file processing and preservation aspects of the project.

The southern Rocky Mountain region, as defined for this project, includes the mountains, basins and high plains of southern Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico; the continuous high plains to the east of those states; and the Colorado Plateau in eastern Utah and northern Arizona.

Laramie County Library Plans for Certified Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, has announced that Laramie County Library System has successfully created a Certified Wildlife Habitat through NWF’s Garden for Wildlife Program. In addition, Laramie County Library’s habitat has been co-certified with NWF’s state affiliate, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

The plan is to convert an existing detention pond on the southwest corner of the property into a habitat area using a variety of trees, shrubs, and other plants that are accustomed to periods of drought and standing water. LCLS is providing the land while the rest of the project, spearheaded by volunteer Nancy Loomis, will be supported by grants.

As a Certified Wildlife Habitat, Laramie County Library’s specified land will improve habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs, and other wildlife by providing essential elements needed – natural food sources, clean water, cover, and places to raise young. This Certified Wildlife Habitat garden is now also part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to create a million gardens that provide habitat for declining pollinator insects, like butterflies and bees.


Literacy Begins at Teton County’s Family Place

Submitted by Valerie Maginnis
Teton County Library Director

Literacy begins at birth in Teton County, Wyoming.  Thanks to generous funding from the Teton County Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library, Teton County Library is the first Family Place Library in Wyoming. The Family Place Library provides an opportunity to expand the library’s traditional role of providing youth library services beyond storytime and summer reading programs by building on the knowledge that early learning, good health, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in a young child’s growth and development. The free Family Place program at Teton County Library will provide all-encompassing, community-based education and family support for children, from birth to 3 years old, living in northwestern Wyoming.

Mary Flamino, Youth Services Manager, and Eva Dahlgren, Alta Branch Manager, attended the Family Place Training Institute at the Middle County Public Library in the spring of 2017. Both Mary and Eva returned to Teton County, eager to launch the program in Jackson and Alta, beginning with weekly Baby Time activities in the fall of 2017.

The Family Place Library network of libraries includes more than 500 sites nationwide, in 32 states. The Family Place Libraries concept originated at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, NY, in 1979. Family Place creates a partnership between libraries and communities to connect parents and caregivers to the resources and services they need during the first years of their child’s development. The hallmark of Family Place is a five-week series of workshops to bring together children, age 0-3, and their parents in an informal early childhood setting filled with toys, art, activities and books.The workshops encourage parents to play with their children while meeting other parents and caregivers. Professionals from health and social service agencies, as well as, child nutritionists, speech therapists and family therapists informally chat with participants and answer child-rearing questions.

Teton County Library will begin offering the Parent-Child Workshop series in the spring of 2018. Another key component of the Family Place program is reimagining the library’s youth area to offer more welcoming spaces for families of young children. Added features include: toy collections, real-play items, books, and a parenting collection.

For information about Teton County Library’s Family Place program, contact Valerie Maginnis, Library Director, at

‘Once Upon a Murder’ at the Lander Library

A fairy tale crew

“Servant girls” Audie Cunningham (L), Young Adult Librarian, and Anita Marple (R), Lander Branch Manager.

Fremont County Library – Lander held its 3rd Annual Murder Mystery night. “Once Upon a Murder,” on Friday, October 27 in the library’s Carnegie Room. It was a timeless tale of treachery and treason in a kingdom far, far away. Library staff report that it proved to be a hoot!

“We already have people asking about next year’s event,” said Tasha Reeves, Librarian Assistant. “The first year we did ‘Murder at the Deadwood Saloon,’ and last year was ‘Murder Among the Mateys.’ Each year gets wilder and crazier than the last!”

The event has been successful for the library. This year’s murder mystery drew 45 participants and 11 guests. “We’ve had more than 50 signups every year,” Tasha said. “It brings folks to the library that don’t normally come our way. One of the most recurring comments that I’ve heard is that participants met others from the community that they never knew and have remained friends.”

The Beast, Grandma, Hamlet, and Red Riding Hood

The Beast

Prince Charming

Hansel and Rapunzel


CFAC Hosts Exhibit of Edward S. Curtis Photos

This portrait of Chief Joseph by Edward S. Curtis is one of 30 images that can be seen in the current exhibit at the Community Fine Arts Center.

The Community Fine Arts Center, a branch of the Sweetwater County Library System, will host a traveling photography exhibit showcasing the work of Edward S. Curtis. The exhibit opens November 8 with a book discussion at 7 p.m. on Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher. The public is invited to the opening reception on November 9 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The exhibit features pieces from Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian, a grand work that provides a permanent record of 80 North American tribes through ethnographic notes and over 1500 photographs included in 20 volumes. Accompanying the volumes were 20 portfolios containing 36 photogravure prints each. A selection of these images in digital format will be on display.

This exhibit will be available to see November 8 through December 22. CFAC hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.

“Edward Curtis’s The North American Indian: A Traveling Exhibit to Wyoming Libraries” is supported in part by funding from the Wyoming Arts Council, as well as the Wyoming Community Foundation’s Carol McMurry Donor Advised Fund in partnership with the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which holds a rare complete set of The North American Indian.

This exhibit is part of a community celebration, “Eye of a Nation: a Celebration of Heritage,” highlighting both the visual and performing arts to recognize the significance of Edward Curtis’s work and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s 100th anniversary. These events have the support of local organizations including the CFAC, Western Wyoming Community College Hay Library and Cultural Affairs Committee, Downtown Rock Springs, Rock Springs Historical Museum, Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, and the Sweetwater County Library System.

Take a Tour of the Toppan Rare Books Collection With C-SPAN

When C-SPAN did its 2014 Local Content Vehicles Tour, it stopped in Wyoming. Anne Marie Lane, Curator of the Toppan Rare Books Collection at the UW American Heritage Center, was interviewed about the collection and the rare books history course she teaches each fall at the University of Wyoming. Rare books, she said, are an opportunity to teach about the history of print making and to discuss modern topics such as gender, politics, and race. Enjoy this quick tour with her of some of the collection.