Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

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.

AHC Launches New Wyoming History Day Website

Young History Day participant in hat holding "Power of the People" sign
A past Wyoming History Day participant presents her project during the competition at UW’s American Heritage Center (AHC). The AHC recently launched a new Wyoming History Day website. (Hanna Fox Photo)

From UW News

A new website to support Wyoming History Day (WHD) was recently launched by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC).

WHD, an affiliate of National History Day, brings together hundreds of Wyoming middle school and high school students in an annual competition to explore key themes of historical events and how they helped create today’s world.

Created by the AHC, the website provides online delivery of historical materials — original primary sources held at the center — to the students as they create their projects and presentations. The competition runs across the entire school year, through district meets and then the state competition. Top Wyoming students and their projects compete at the national level.

The new WHD website can be found at

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 in September. The website will begin operation with six topics and items drawn from 15 collections, but the IMLS grant will enable the AHC, in the coming months, to provide materials for 30 topics held in nearly 90 collections.

Read more about the project.

Sublette County Snapshot Day 2020

Friday Oct 23 was our Annual No Carve Pumpkin and Shredding Truck events. Like everything during Covid, it looked different this year. Five pallets of pumpkins were delivered to the library, craft kits were pre-assembled so patrons could grab a pumpkin and a kit to go. This program is for adults and children! We also have a commercial shredding truck available for patrons and businesses to bring paperwork that needs discarded. It was chilly, but sunny! Those five huge boxes of pumpkins were gone in a little over an hour.

– Jenn Burton

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Laramie County Receives Compassion-in-Action Award

Pictured left to right: Ed Boenisch of Compassionate Cheyenne, Beth Howard of Compassionate Cheyenne, Carey Hartmann Executive Director Laramie County Library System, Linda Franklin of Compassionate Cheyenne
Pictured left to right: Ed Boenisch of Compassionate Cheyenne, Beth Howard of Compassionate Cheyenne, Carey Hartmann Executive Director Laramie County Library System, Linda Franklin of Compassionate Cheyenne

From Laramie County Library System

Laramie County Library System was honored with the Compassion-In-Action Award from Compassionate Cheyenne in a small ceremony at the library earlier this month. The award, which seeks to recognize organizations or individuals who are helping foster compassion throughout the community, acknowledged the library’s efforts to welcome and support every single member of the Laramie County community. The award extends to all library facilities including the libraries in Cheyenne, Burns, Pine Bluffs, and the Bookmobile.

Ed Boenisch nominated the library in January of 2019 and Beth Howard, a member of the Compassionate Cheyenne working group, presented the award. Howard read from Boenisch’s nomination, stating, “The Library, like many others in the country, has consistently opened its doors to the homeless and those in need of support. The Board of Directors and the Executive Director and all employees have committed to this compassionate service and have made it a priority through staff training. Without this long-term commitment, those in our community who find themselves on the margins would not have these comprehensive services, caring and support.”

Boenisch’s nomination cited the library’s modern computer lab, which provides access to the Internet for individuals from all walks of life; its warm, welcoming, and accessible building that provides a safe place during the cold winter and hot summer months; and an abundance of library resources available for free to those in the community. Howard went on to recognize the library’s efforts in serving the community during the COVID-19 crisis by providing contactless pick up of library items and by safely reopening its building.

Executive Director Carey Hartmann accepted the award certificate along with a $100 donation from the Sunrise Rotary Club, with funds provided by RBC Wealth Management. Hartmann said that the award was extremely meaningful for Laramie County Library System and stated, “all employees at the library care deeply about the people that we serve.” She continued that to have the library’s efforts acknowledged during these difficult times provided great meaning for the organization.

5 Things About the State Archives

Front of the Barrett Building where the Wyoming State Archives is located.

From the Wyoming State Archives

In celebration of American Archives Month in October, archival entities throughout the country highlight the importance of records and historical documents. While most people have heard of state archives, many are not aware of what they do. In celebration of American Archives Month, here are “5 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About the Wyoming State Archives!”

  1. You can access the Wyoming State Archives from home.
    Many of the State Archives digital resources are available online. Things like historical photographs, newspapers, maps, oral history interviews, and the Wyoming Blue Books, a one-stop shop for information on the history of Wyoming government, and a variety of other information. Just go to and start browsing!
  2. What do you want to know about your Wyoming? You can research your family, town, school and lots more! Got a question about Wyoming history? We probably have an answer.
    The Wyoming State Archives is THE resource for Wyoming information and history. Information on historical events, the famous and infamous, community history, is available. Plus, reference archivists are available to help you with your informational search. The Archives is an invaluable tool for student research. With decades of combined experience using the materials, if they don’t have an answer to your question, they usually know where to look for it. There’s a reason why many authors visit the archives to research information for their books and articles.
  3. The Archives has a database of historic Wyoming Photographic collections.
    The Wyoming State Archives houses the photographic collections of J.E. Stimson, Frank Meyers, Thomas Carrigen, Miller-Meyers and Fendley. These historical photos are available for framing, use in books, etc for a small fee. Start looking now and you’ll be lost in history before you know it. And, you can come in to see our 250,000 photo collection any time, too!
  4. Archives are digital, too.
    This year the State Archives added the 1,000,000th file to our Digital Archives. You spend your work days on your computer, and so do state employees. The State Archives has a secure way to save and manage all those digital files, so the state’s history will be preserved, no matter what format the records are in.
  5. You can be a part of history.
    The Wyoming State Archives, along with the Wyoming State Museum and American Heritage Center in Laramie, is documenting the COVID-19 pandemic and requests public submissions. Items like diaries, written accounts, videos, vlogs, pictures, and other documents will provide researchers in the future a better picture of life during the current pandemic. Collecting these items now will ensure that the memories survive. The more stories that are added, the more complete a picture scholars of the future will see. We welcome submissions from any and all viewpoints, and communities large and small.
  6. BONUS – The Archives is a darn interesting place to visit.
    Whether you are researching Butch Cassidy, the Tea Pot Dome, Matthew Shepard, or the many and various other stories and people associated with the Cowboy State you will find a variety of resources and information about the topic.

American Archives Month is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the important 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.

The Wyoming State Archives is located in the Barrett Building first floor, 2301 Central Ave, Cheyenne WY 82002. For further information, contact Kathy Marquis, State Archivist at 307-777-8691 or message her at

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

UW Adds Newspapers to Chronicling America

Rachael Laing, a UW library specialist, digitizes newspaper microfilm in Coe Library as part of the Wyoming Digital Newspaper Project. (UW Photo)

From UW News

The Wyoming Digital Newspaper Project, led by University of Wyoming Libraries, has added its first batch of historical newspapers to the Chronicling America database.

The Northern Wyoming Herald and Garland Irrigation Era, published from 1911-1924, as well as a portion of the Cheyenne Daily Leader, widely recognized as Wyoming’s first newspaper, recently became available for anyone to view via the Chronicling America database at

Chronicling America is a free, searchable database of historical American newspapers from 1789-1963. Launched in 2007, Chronicling America is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress to create a national digital resource of historically significant United States newspapers.

Last year, UW Libraries received a nearly $209,000 grant from NEH to support the Wyoming Digital Newspaper Project over two years. The project involves the digitization of 100,000 pages of Wyoming historical newspapers — dating from 1863-1963 — as part of the state’s participation in the NDNP.

Libraries Lift Every Voice in Poetry

The poet and writer Camille Dungy (USA), New York, New York, May 30, 2019. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

University of Wyoming Libraries is partnering with the Albany County Public Library (ACPL) to offer a series of events to celebrate African American poetry in October.

Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters is a national program dedicated to enhancing appreciation of the extraordinary range and richness of the 250-year-long African American poetic tradition.

UW Libraries received two grants to celebrate African American poetry and culture: one from the Library of America’s Lift Every Voice project and a second from the Wyoming Humanities Council.

UW Libraries-sponsored events will all be virtual, free and available to residents throughout Wyoming and the region.

View information about the Lift Every Voice programs, including schedule, speaker biographies and links to the programs.

Lift Every Voice programs will begin Monday, Oct. 5, and will culminate Tuesday, Oct. 27, with a reading by Camille Dungy, an award-winning African American poet. Dungy is noted for her poetry that explores nature, love and African American survival. She is the author of four collections of poetry and a collection of personal essays. Her honors include the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize, the American Book Award in 2010, a Colorado Book Award and a California Book Award silver medal. Dungy is a professor in the Department of English at Colorado State University.

“UW Libraries is excited to host Lift Every Voice programs and make them accessible statewide,” says Cass Kvenild, UW Libraries associate dean. “We hope these programs will build on the national dialogue about racial justice with local community conversations enriched by the power and history of African American poetry.”

Grant to AHC Will Help History Day Students

From UW News

The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC) has received $180,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help supply primary sources to middle and high school students competing in Wyoming History Day.

The funding, from the federal CARES Act, is for museums and libraries to spend over two years. Competition for IMLS CARES Act dollars was stiff; there were more than 1,600 applications for just $13 million of CARES Act money.

The AHC has been home to Wyoming History Day, the state affiliate of the National History Day contest, for over a decade.

“These funds will allow us to better serve Wyoming History Day students who, due to the state’s rural nature, are at a disadvantage when trying to access primary sources. COVID-19 has only exacerbated the situation,” Project Director and AHC Archivist Leslie Waggener says. “IMLS CARES Act funds come at a crucial time, as the state’s school systems increasingly rely on online educational resources due to the pandemic.”

The 2021 National History Day theme of “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding” offers the AHC an opportunity to digitize a wide variety of materials from nearly 90 collections covering about 30 topics, including the Pony Express; wartime journalism and propaganda; the comics industry; and transmission of Native American cultural values. Primary source sets will be placed on an easily accessible website and accompanied by essays and explanations to assist students in comprehending and contextualizing the historical documents.

“Since large numbers of Wyoming History Day students use our historical materials every year—often going on to win their category at the national competition— we’re gratified and pleased to be able to improve our game at a time when physical access to our collections is difficult,” AHC Director Paul Flesher says.

Not only will this project support Wyoming’s school-age participants, but a further opportunity—a national one—significantly increases its importance. A marketing campaign using email, internet and social media to spread awareness of the website of primary sources will inform National History Day participants in all 50 states about the digitized materials, giving them access to primary sources provided by the AHC for their projects.

The marketing campaign also will point out to teachers that the digitized resources are not just for History Day, but also can be used for instructional projects for individual students while under lockdown, quarantine or isolation.

The Wyoming History Day website will continue to be updated each year to enable the AHC to provide a location for distributing digitized materials to solve Wyoming’s problem of rural access to primary sources, even when COVID-19 finally recedes.

IMLS is an independent federal government agency that supports America’s museums, libraries and related organizations through grantmaking, research and policy development. The agency received CARES Act money to help its constituents expand digital network access, purchase internet-accessible devices and provide technical support services to their communities.

To learn more about the project, email Waggener at or call (307) 766-2557.