Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

Makerspace a New Addition to Rawlins Library

Makerspace room with large windows and sewing machines and other equpment
The Rawlins Library makerspace.

The Rawlins Library, part of the Carbon County Library System, recently had the exciting addition of  a makerspace. The space is a collaboration of the County and the Library Foundation and is beautifully integrated in the remodeled library floor plan. It officially opened on April 29 and includes a Glowforge, two Makerbot 3D Printers, a Cricut Maker, heat press, and two sewing machines.

“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,” said Maria Wenzel, the library’s Executive Director. “A library must change and grow with its community, and we’re excited to help usher the CCLS into its next iteration and continue serving the public for another century.”

She continued, “Our hope is for our community to know that our libraries are more than just books and we’re here to embrace the change and growth with them. From our business station to learning a new skill in the makerspace or a stop at our job search station with Wyoming at Work, we’re here for them.”

Patrons are pleased with the library remodel and the makerspace addition. Maria shared one patron comment as an example: “Great showcase of the wonderful possibilities a library can possess.”

Natrona County Library Named Community Partner of the Year

From the Natrona County Library blog

Natrona County Library has been awarded the “Community Partner of the Year” by the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce. On the evening of May 4, the Chamber held their 119th annual Excellence in Business Award ceremony, also known as the EBBIES. The event sees businesses, organizations, and citizens from around Casper and central Wyoming recognized for their positive impact on the community.

This year, the Library was nominated for two EBBIES awards, including both “Community Partner of the Year” and “Large Business of the Year”. Organizations and individuals are nominated by their peers for these honors and awards.

The “Community Partner of the Year” honors individuals or companies who volunteer their time and service to an organization, school, or community endeavor in the Casper area that has resulted in the advancement of that entity, its mission, and/or cause. The winner is recognized for their significant contribution of time, skills, and resources toward the improvement of the Casper community.

“This honor wouldn’t be possible without each of our amazing staff, and it serves as confirmation that the community recognizes the many things the Library does to positively impact our community,” said Lisa Scroggins, NCL Executive Director.

Read more on the Natrona County Library blog.

Tour Two Washakie County Library Buildings Online

3D image of library

Washakie County Library System has debuted three-dimensional tours of their Worland and Ten Sleep locations for patrons and virtual explorers to use. Scroll through library spaces, view artwork, and use tools such as dollhouse view or measurement mode to explore the library anytime, anywhere. You can even zoom in on the shelves to find your favorite author!

“It will make some people more comfortable as they come into the buildings because they’ll know the floorplan and have an idea of meeting spaces,” said Karen Funk, Washakie County Library System Director. “And statistics are available to see how many people have made a virtual visit.”

Credit for this new feature goes to Ten Sleep residents Tess and Don Anderson of Tess Anderson Photography. Using a special camera, the photographers were able to take a three-dimensional infrared scan of the locations and capture a series of panoramic photos of each space.

“For Washakie County Libraries, this includes roughly 1,600 images,” said Don Anderson of Tess Anderson Photography. “We then use a 3D data platform that incorporates GPS mapping and artificial intelligence to create a three-dimensional model. Together, these tools create the immersive 360-degree virtual tour that people view online.”

Visit and click on the Take a Tour tab in the top right corner to get started. The models can also be viewed at their respective addresses in Google Street View through Google Maps.

Wyoming Stars Shine on National Library Workers Day!

Cute illustration of stars and sleeping crescent moon on a starry night.In celebration of National Library Workers Day (NLWD) yesterday, the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) collected nominations for library “stars”. Two Wyoming library workers received shout-outs — Teresa and Tina in Worland.

See all the stars from Wyoming and nationally.

Do you know of someone in a Wyoming library who deserves special recognition? It’s not too late to add their names and accomplishments to the list! Visit the NLWD website to learn more and add some names to the list.

Terri Lesley Honored for Intellectual Freedom Contributions

Photo of Terri Lesley with text: INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM ROUND TABLE. Congratulations Terri Lesley, Campbell County Public Library, on receiving the 2022 John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award

From the American Library Association

The American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Immroth Award Committee has announced Terri Lesley as the recipient of the 2022 John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award, which honors notable contributions to intellectual freedom and demonstrations of personal courage in defense of freedom of expression.

Terri Lesley has led the staff and library board of Campbell County Public Library in Gillette, Wyoming through an onslaught of challenged materials and protests. Beginning in the summer of 2021, the number of challenges to unique titles rose from 3 in August to nearly 30 by the end of the year. Library board meetings have been very contentious and there have been repeated protests outside the library. In October 2021, two of the patrons who led the challenges went to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office to attempt to prosecute CCPL librarians, including Terri, of violating child sex laws based on five books they described as “hard-core pornography to children.”

Throughout this period, Terri has not only stood up for intellectual freedom for her patrons, she has also continued to build community support for her library through her interactions with the public. She has also strived to support her staff and maintain a strong working relationship with her board. Terri has shared what she’s learned with other library directors in Wyoming

“Terri’s commitment to intellectual freedom, her community, and her staff is second to none,” said Conrrado Saldivar, President of the Wyoming Library Association. “Her resolve and defense of library materials has been an inspiration to all library staff in Wyoming and ensures that her community can continue having a robust exchange of ideas and opinions.”

The award will be presented on Friday, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. EDT at ALA’s Annual Conference in Washington D.C.

Established in 1979, upon the death of John Phillip Immroth, the Immroth Memorial Award honors the courage, dedication, and contribution of a living individual, group, or organization who has set the finest kind of example for the defense and furtherance of the principles of intellectual freedom. The award consists of a citation and $500. John Phillip Immroth was a teacher, author, scholar, advocate, and defender of First Amendment rights. He was the founder and first chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table in 1973.

Award-Winning Author Jesmyn Ward to Speak at UW April 20

Portrait of Jesmyn Ward
Jesmyn Ward (Beowulf Sheehan Photo)

Acclaimed memoirist, essayist and award-winning author Jesmyn Ward will speak Wednesday, April 20, at the University of Wyoming.

Her presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be at 5:00 p.m. in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. A book signing will occur immediately following the talk.

The event will also be livestreamed via UW’s WyoCast system.

Those attending the evening talk are encouraged to arrive early to allow time for parking and seating. Additionally, attendees can use the free shuttle service. For more information about campus parking and shuttle services, visit

Ward is the first woman and the first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice. Salvage the Bones, the winner of the 2011 prize, is a tale of familial bonds set amid the chaos of Hurricane Katrina. Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the 2017 award, is a road novel through Mississippi’s past and present that explores the bonds of a family tested by racism and poverty.

Her latest book, 2020’s Navigate Your Stars, is an adaptation of her 2018 Tulane University commencement speech that champions the value of hard work and the importance of respect for oneself and others. Ward is a professor at Tulane, where she teaches creative writing.

In her talks, Ward shares her writing process and how her experiences growing up poor and Black in the South continue to influence her work.

In 2017, she was recognized with a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant for her work “exploring the enduring bonds of community and familial love among poor African-Americans of the rural South against a landscape of circumscribed possibilities and lost potential.” In 2018, she was recognized among Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

In addition to being a writer and professor, she also is the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, and she is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

Ward received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, where she won five Hopwood Awards for her fiction, essays and drama. She held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and served as the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

She is at work on two additional new books: a novel set in New Orleans at the height of the American slave trade and a young adult novel about a Black girl from the South with supernatural powers.

For more information about Ward, visit her website at

Ward’s presentation is sponsored by the Honors College, UW Libraries, Wyoming Humanities, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice and the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research.

For more information about Ward’s presentation, call the UW Honors College at (307) 766-4110 or email Parolin at

Teton County Library Adds Roku Sticks to Collection

Roku kit
The Roku kit available to patrons.

Wyoming libraries are always innovating to better serve their communities. At Teton County Library, they’ve made it easier for their patrons to binge watch the latest show. They’ve recently added Roku sticks to their collection!

The main library in Jackson has two Roku sticks and the Alta branch has one. They’re pre-loaded with Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. Each has a one-week checkout period. Wi-Fi access is required, but the library has that covered as well with hotspots available.

Clearly, libraries are more than books, especially in this era of changing technology. In fact, Wyoming libraries have been known to circulate everything from cake pans to a box of rocks. Visit your local library to see all they have to offer.


Grant Funds Project Archivist to Support Local Wyoming Collections

The Wyoming State Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) has announced the funding of a project archivist through the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This position and the focused project are a collaborative project of the Wyoming State Archives, University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, and Wyoming SHRAB.

This one-year grant award will fund a part-time archivist to build an information network between records stewards from Wyoming’s libraries, museums, and archives. This network will facilitate discussions on understanding, caring for, and providing responsible access to cultural heritage resources. The first phase will identify and survey Wyoming’s smaller repositories that house archival materials. It will also include creating an online directory created from these survey contacts.

The plan is to establish a traveling archivist program (TAP) in Wyoming using the information and network. Currently, no existing comprehensive list of Wyoming cultural heritage institutions exists, a necessary first step to build a TAP. The overall goal of this effort is to create the structure for a program that would provide much needed support to Wyoming’s smaller historical societies and museums, as well as to public libraries with local history manuscript collections.

The Wyoming SHRAB promotes the identification, preservation and dissemination of the state’s historical records, by encouraging and supporting ongoing training programs for state, tribal and local governments, local repositories, organizations, and others involved in records care in Wyoming. Grants are made available through the Wyoming SHRAB by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The program is administered by the Wyoming State Archives, which is part of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

UW Libraries to Launch Open Educational Resources Journal

JOERHE logoUniversity of Wyoming Libraries soon will launch the Journal of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education (JOERHE), a new, open peer-reviewed journal.

The journal is currently accepting scholarly articles that critically analyze the role of open educational resources (OER) in higher education for its debut issue. The journal is anticipated to launch this fall.

Development and implementation of OER in higher education are expanding rapidly as colleges and universities seek to ease the financial burden experienced by students. According to Achieving the Dream’s 2020 study on the academic and economic impacts of one specific OER initiative, student savings averaged $65 or more per student per OER course.

JOERHE, a noncommercial open access journal that will be published once a year by UW Libraries, offers librarians, instructors and other OER experts a platform for their scholarship on OER, open pedagogy, open access and similar topics focused specifically within the context of higher education.

For those interested in learning from others working with OER in their daily practice, visit JOERHE’s OER and Beyond blog. This timely blog provides a space for librarians, professors and other educators to engage with one another about the nuances involved in working with OER.

“OER is an equity issue. We cannot continue to keep students from information that has the power to transform their lives,” says Christi Boggs, associate director of digital teaching and learning at the UW Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning, and an editorial advisory board member of JOERHE. “This journal will help faculty worldwide to find resources and best practices, and illustrate the impact their OER materials had on their respective communities.”

In addition to peer-reviewed research, JOERHE features an editorially reviewed columns section where invited contributors present case studies, experiential essays, notes from the field and similar shorter-form entries. JOERHE also solicits and publishes reviews on select OER by qualified experts.

JOERHE welcomes quantitative and qualitative research articles and discussion pieces concerning OER in higher education. Authors are encouraged to discuss the practical applications of their knowledge and findings, propose best practices, discuss theoretical models and frameworks, and describe their programmatic and practical experiences. Submissions for JOERHE’s fall 2022 issue are due June 15.

Why Video Games Are a Good Fit for the Library

Row of video games on shelfReposted from the Natrona County Library blog

The three pillars of the Natrona County Library are advocating for literacy, education, and a thriving community. One collection you might not realize does all three of those things is video games.

How can the virtual worlds of video games promote literacy? Younger or hesitant readers can build confidence and learn new vocabulary in both a visual and audio setting when dialog is shown on screen. Instruction screens encourage young readers to practice so that they know how to play a game or where to go without help. Adventure or role playing games usually have many types of text-based documents hidden throughout the game that will come together to form the overarching storyline or help fill in the details of the player’s quest.

Learning valuable skills while having fun has a greater chance of the lessons sticking. Players can be taught how to use maps and compasses, inventory management, time management, and judgement on buying now or saving up for a better quality item. Logic and environmental puzzles are a common feature in current games. Sports games teach new players the rules of the game, and dance games teach moves without the embarrassment of peers watching. They also refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Some games are richly enhanced with history and have players immersed in a world filled with historical buildings, people, and events. There are several spelling or math-based games that can sharpen skills without the boring repetition. There are also many games that allow the player to create and build their own characters, buildings, or worlds ranging from simple customization of avatars to basic coding and complex construction of realms.

Although video games are not often considered when trying to create a thriving community, they can play an important role if implemented correctly. Simple games such as the Pokémon Go app can bring people together in real life that might not otherwise meet, all while highlighting local landmarks. Co-op and multiplayer games require players to acquire and refine essential community skills, such as cooperation and communication across all age and skill levels.

Many Wyoming libraries carry video game collections. Search your local library’s collection in WYLDCat.