Category Archives: Wyoming Library News

Washakie County Library Celebrates Grand Opening

Group of people in a line in front of a library front desk holding a large red ribbon.
Left to right: Washakie County Library Director Karen Funk, Mandy Weaver, Tina Bear, Mike Healy (wielding the official ribbon-cutting scissors), Sarah Healy, Ladonna LaCroix, Teresa West, Karri Savage.

The doors are officially open! After all the planning, fundraising, and hard work that goes into opening a new library, the Washakie County Library held its grand opening on Saturday, December 11. The new library is located in downtown Worland at 801 Big Horn Ave.

“We’ve spent so much time looking back at the evolution of the Library in Washakie County,” Washakie County Library Director Karen Funk said. “Libraries are changing, but they’re still a resource that every community needs. All of us on the staff are excited to be part of that, for future generations to look back on. I feel we’re making history every day.”

Mike Healy was given the honors of cutting the ribbon. Mike was instrumental in the project by making a substantial private donation. The building was dedicated in honor of his late wife, Jean Bailey Healy, who passed away in 2009.

“One of the best parts of my job is to see everything our colleagues around the state do to serve their communities and make their communities thrive,” said Jamie Markus, Wyoming State Librarian. “This library will open doors of opportunity for all Washakie County residents. The board, the staff, and the entire community are to be commended for making this new library a reality.”

Two men shaking hands holding plaque between them.
County Commissioner Aaron Anderson. (right) presenting Mike Healy with a plaque in memory of Mike’s late wife.
Wooden plaque has image of woman on left. On the right, it reads: "This building is dedicated In Loving Memory of Jean Bailey Healy, avid reader and writer, who believed that the advancement of literacy and the arts is vital to our community. July 14, 1945-January 19, 2009"
The plaque in memory of Jean Healy.
Wide angle picture of numerous people in library.
The crowd enjoying the new library facilities.
Two children sitting at computers while a woman smiles in the doorway. A Christmas tree is in the background.
Children enjoying the computers.
White flower arrangement in front of display with historical photos and text.
Floral centerpiece and display on the library’s history.
People standing in line against a wall underneath a framed picture.
Washakie County Library staff (L to R): Karri Savage, Tina Bear, Karen Funk, Teresa West, Mandy Weaver, Ladonna LaCroix.

New Sensory Room at Casper College Library

Group of four students wearing face masks and seated in sensory room
Students in the new sensory room. (Click for larger image.)

In 2019, Casper College Goodstein Foundation Library received a $1000 Innovations Grant to create a Sensory Room in the library. They’re happy to announce the project, completed in collaboration with students from Casper College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Club, OTA Program Director, Cassady Hoff MSOT, OTR/L, and Librarian, Beth Floyd, was recently finished and is ready for student and community use!

A little bit about the creation of the sensory library room: the OTA students looked at the individual and wanted to help create an academic environment that will help students gather their thoughts, regulate their emotions, and use their time wisely so they can have an optimal amount of academic success.

The intent was to create a safe room that will allow college students that have sensory sensitivities to regulate their emotions and needs in a college environment for academic success to complete their homework and study.

The OTA students spent time choosing the right location that would benefit the students that have the sensitivity needed as well as ensuring it would not disrupt other students in the library. The location was also chosen on the basis of easy access (ADA) and communication needs if needed. The room color, the desk setup, calming interventions, weighted blankets, noise canceling headphones, and lights were carefully selected to allow the college students to have their own choice of tools and equipment that would be beneficial to their own specific needs. This room is beneficial to help those that may have anxiety, attention deficit challenges, auditory challenges, or just high stress levels.

The room is available for student and community use by walk-ins and can be booked on the library’s website using the “Book A Study Room” link!

UW Coe Library Home to New Student Learning Commons

Two college students wearing face masks and sitting across table from each other with laptops adn books.
From left, Jake St. Marie, a STEP tutor and UW senior from Bellevue, Wash., provides tutoring to Hunter LeFaivre, a UW sophomore from Rock Springs, in the Student Learning Commons. (UW Photo)

From UW News

The University of Wyoming’s Coe Library is home to the new Student Learning Commons, a centralized, one-stop academic support network for UW students.

Due to the lack of in-person events over the past year, UW Libraries had the opportunity to reenvision Level 1 to create the Student Learning Commons. The STEP Tutor Center, the Learning Resource Network (LeaRN), the Writing Center and Information Technology collaborated with UW Libraries to develop the space.

The revamped collaborative space will better serve both on- and off-campus students. Students can meet with individuals from UW Libraries, the STEP Tutor Center, LeaRN and the Writing Center as well as with their peers, both in person and online. The space allows for student consultations, supplemental instruction sessions, small-group student trainings and workshops from the space partners.

The redesigned space includes flexible seating for up to 185 students, with a mix of mobile tables and chairs, cozy booths and meeting tables. The area also houses Room 121, which hosts supplemental instruction, targeted student sessions and workshops, and space for learning communities’ activities. There are multiple zones that also are beneficial to students, such as the convertible presentation space and a startup space where students can meet to work on projects and presentations.

“We are excited for the ways students are already using the Student Learning Commons. The space is overflowing many hours of the day with students seeking tutoring and writing support, or studying with their peers,” says April Heaney, LeaRN director. “And units such as the Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies Center are planning for ways to use the Student Learning Commons, especially for academic coaching and targeted, just-in-time presentations for a range of student groups during the year. We’re very excited for the additional potential partnerships that this space will bring to bolster academic student success.”

For more information about the Student Learning Commons, call Cass Kvenild, Associate Dean of Libraries, at (307) 766-5119 or

Susan Parkins Recognized as a National Leader in Outreach

Susan wearing blue shirt and jacket standing between two rows of library shelves.
Susan Parkins, Laramie County Library System Senior Outreach Specialist

At its virtual conference this year, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) presented Susan Parkins, Senior Outreach Specialist for Laramie County Library System, with their John Philip Excellence in Outreach Award. The award, sponsored by ABOS and Farber Specialty Vehicles, was given in appreciation of her outstanding contributions and prominent leadership in ABOS and library outreach services.

Susan has worked for LCLS for 32 years, dedicating her career to providing outreach services through the bookmobile and home visits. Her tireless work has ensured that homebound and rural community members still receive the benefits and resources offered by the library.

This award recognizes the impact that she’s made not just in Wyoming, but on the national stage. Susan has served the ABOS organization since 2017 as a Board Member-at-Large, Vice President/President Elect, President, Past President, and Chair of several committees.

A statement from the library read, “Susan’s impact on ABOS and the outreach community at large cannot be understated. Her work to expand outreach services and mentor those who provide them has influenced both the local community and fellow library employees on a national scale. Laramie County Library System congratulates Susan on this well-deserved honor and thanks her for her dedication to bookmobile and outreach services at large.”

Given the impact Susan has made, we decided to sit down with her for a conversation to get her perspective on library outreach and leadership:

What made you decide to work in libraries?

I have loved libraries since I was little and even “cataloged” my own books. When the library job opened up I knew that was where I wanted to work.

What made you choose outreach specifically?

I started out at the circulation desk but really wanted to work in the children’s division. That job soon became available and I worked there for 10 years. During this time I subbed for the bookmobile driver and I was hooked. As hard as it was to leave my job in children’s, I applied for the outreach job as soon as the position opened. Here I am now, 20+ years later!

What makes outreach such an important component of library services?

It’s one thing to provide library services to the public, but a whole other level to take those services to those who are in need but cannot come to a library. I serve in this capacity by way of the bookmobile and homebound delivery. We’re reaching those who do not have conventional access to a library. It might be visiting a rural community where the bookmobile is the only library access without extensive travel or offering a library hub in a community setting where latch-key children aren’t able to get to a library for a variety of reasons. It might be delivering library items to someone who can’t leave their home or taking a rotating collection to a nursing home facility. In addition to these services, it’s important to build partnerships in the community. This is done through outreach.

What are the benefits of taking leadership roles in the library community?

It’s important to grow professionally in your career. You do this through advanced and continued education, volunteering, and involvement in professional organizations. While you can benefit and grow, reciprocity is important. Mentorship and volunteering of your time and expertise is very important in the strength and support of those around you in your career.

What was it like for you to receive this award?

You don’t volunteer and serve in hopes of the recognition. The reward comes from knowing that you have done your best. To also receive the recognition does take it that one step further and the acknowledgement of a job well done helps you realize that what you’ve done and continue to do is important. I never expected this and still find it hard to consider myself in the ranks and accolades of those that earned this award before me.

Happy 100th Birthday to the Goshen County Library!

Group photo in front of library bookshelves.
From left to right: Goshen County Library board members Larry Curtis, Dee Ludwig, and Terry Haines; Wyoming State Librarian Jamie Markus; Goshen County Library Director Cristine Braddy; and library board members Ellen Creagar and Larissa Felipe.

Yesterday, Goshen County Library celebrated the 100 years it has served its community. According to a 1969 history of the library found in the State Publications database, the library was established in 1922 by “a small group of a Womans Club” in the junior high wing of Torrington High School.

November 16 events marking the anniversary included StoryWalk ribbon cuttings in Fort Laramie and Yoder, and a proclamation and open house at the main library in Torrington.

What Great Snapshot Day Photos!

Woman with two children working on craft project
Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library

We saw smiling faces from all over the state last week during our Wyoming Snapshot Day celebration on October 26. Fifty libraries submitted nearly 1,000 photos as part of the celebration! We’re including just a handful on this post — we encourage you to see them all on Flickr, or view them by library.

Snapshot Day shows the tremendous impact libraries have on their communities on just one day of the year. Multiply that impact year-round and it’s clear how libraries support their communities and transform lives.

Group of students in library posing for the camera
Crest Hill Elementary
Woman wearing deer eyes/antlers mask and holding sign that reads "The library is my happy place"
Ten Sleep Branch Library
Little boy wearing toy construction helmet in center of two girls.
Niobrara County Library
Three children wearing Halloween costumes and standing at table with bottle and balloon crafts.
Natrona County Library
Little girl at computer wearing headphones
Tongue River Branch Library
Boy lying on stomach in front of picture book shelves looking at screen
Dildine Elementary
Two older women sitting at computer and looking back at camera. A binder with photographs is on the table next to them.
Campbell County Public Library
Two girls in Wonder Woman costumes and wearing spider glasses
Lincoln County Library

Library Use on Snapshot Day

Three children wearing backpacks and selecting books from library shelves. Middle child is a girl who is looking back at the camera.
La Barge Branch Library on Snapshot Day 2021.

Wyoming libraries are busy, serving their communities day in and day out. Our Snapshot Day tally tells the story of how our libraries are used, both physically and electronically.

WYLD Libraries

On Snapshot Day, Wednesday, October 26, 2021, Wyoming’s more than 100 WYLD libraries:

  • Circulated 12,233 items, including 5,985 children’s items
  • Issued 95 new library cards
  • Added 781 items to their catalogs
  • Made 3,159,061 items available to Wyoming’s residents in their collections
  • Saw the library catalog (WYLDCat) used for 2,857 sessions and 14,166 searches by 2,156 unique users

WYLD includes all Wyoming public and community college libraries as well as many school and special libraries.

Public Libraries

In public libraries, from data collected annually by the Wyoming State Library, we estimate that on an average day, there are:

  • 6,982 visits to public libraries
  • 1,218 people using a public library computer
  • 996 reference questions answered in public libraries
  • 695 children and teens who attended programs at their public libraries
  • 39 meeting room uses
  • 729 wireless internet sessions
  • 7,860 retrievals of information from WYLD databases

The electronic resources offer articles, e-books, e-audiobooks, scholarly sources, courses and tutorials, and much more. These are available to every Wyoming resident, 24 hours a day. On October 26, there were:

  • 1,465 views of the home page views from 580 users
  • 483 visits to the A to Z databases list and 477 views of the GoWYLD LibGuides — 76 different guides were accessed
  • 1,151 e-audiobook and 1,118 e-book digital checkouts from the OverDrive Wyoming Virtual Library.
  • 1,276 sessions, 6,369 queries in Britannica
  • 2 unique report views in CQ Researcher
  • 3,406 sessions, 4,217 searches, and 1,978 retrievals in the Gale Databases
  • 12 logins to Pronunciator
  • 659 searches across all Proquest Databases
  • 8 hours of LinkedIn Learning content viewed by 13 people who accessed 25 different courses using 146 videos
  • 2021:
  • 161 visits from 109 unique visitors to

Why do People Love Their Wyoming Libraries? Here’s What They Said!

Two girls sitting on couch in front of bookshelf. One is holding up sign that reads "Sorry, I'm booked." The other holds a sign reading, "I'm kind of a big deal @ my library."
Ten Sleep Branch Library on Snapshot Day.

On Wyoming Snapshot Day, we asked patrons why the library was important to them. We had so many great comments, it was tough to narrow it down to a few to share here on the blog. You can read all of them over on the Wyoming Snapshot Day website. We’d also encourage you to check out the photos and video.

Libraries make a difference every day. Here are some of our patrons telling us why:

When I think of places I like to go just for the pure pleasure of it . . . the Goshen County Library is way up high on my list. Thank you for making it the great place that it is! – Alice Williams, Goshen County Library

I love that it is so child friendly and filled with many wonderful books! — Glenrock Branch Library

The library is one of the few free places a community has. All ages can benefit from the library.” — La Barge Branch Library

I love the cozy atmosphere while I pick out my books. I love how many there are! — Chantel Ball, Lovell Branch Library

Because I can always feel safe here and it is always calm. — Lander Middle School Library

I recently moved from Texas and had it not been for CCPL, I would not have had access to the information and equipment I needed to land a wonderful job and begin the process of starting my own business. — Rene Rios, Campbell County Public Library

My source to reach out to the world. — Lyle Reizenstein, Converse County Library

We LOVE Laramie County Library! Virtual Tales Together have been a joy during COVID and the staff is always so upbeat and positive, with numerous creative activities and events. Thank you! We really appreciate all you do. — James Cassidy, Laramie County Library

I grew up using the library and I can’t imagine my life without it. It is an oasis in a volatile world and I hope everyone realizes what having a library in your community means to everyone. — Virginia Mees, Park County Library

Libraries are an important part of our communities, especially in rural areas. They supply needed books and information. Not everyone has access to computers or the internet and the library is where they can access these.  — Shirley Terry​, Star Valley Branch Library

The library provides community connections, amazing access to materials and provides the opportunity to expose my son to a wealth and diversity of books.  The materials and programs here rival those of communities two to three times our size. — Mary Greewood, Big Piney Branch Library

We are lucky to have such amazing staff at the Alpine Library — J. Hansen, Alpine Branch Library

The Thayne Library is amazing. The staff always goes above and beyond to help me find what I need. — Christina, Thayne Branch Library

Is this a trick question?!?! The Library – it’s the whole world! Places and times I will never see, people I will never meet – they’re all here. This is my favorite place. — Weston County Library

I love to read and read with friends and I use it to learn and have fun and can do anything in the libraries, and our librarian is so kind. — Crest Hill Elementary

Guernsey’s public library offers so much; something for everyone! Books of every reading genre, movies, children’s reading and craft time and even adult coloring. — Lori Morales, Guernsey Branch Library

This is just a sampling — read them all!

UW, MSU Libraries to Co-Host Conference on Documenting Yellowstone

Conversations on Collecting Yellowstone save the date graphic with black and white drawing of wildlife in front of mountainsFrom UW News

A conference focused on collecting, preserving, and using materials that document the history of Yellowstone National Park will take place next summer at Montana State University (MSU).

University of Wyoming Libraries and the MSU Library will co-host the second “Conversations on Collecting Yellowstone” June 5-8, 2022, in Bozeman, Montana. The conference coincides with the 150th anniversary of the creation of Yellowstone National Park. The first “Conversations on Collecting Yellowstone” conference was held in 2019 in Cody.

Scholars, researchers, private collectors, librarians, and archivists are invited to the conference to explore collections, scholarship, and research related to the park and its greater ecosystem, as well as look to the future of collecting and curating these materials.

The conference will feature speakers, panel presentations, social events, and networking opportunities. Dayton Duncan, an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker, will be the conference’s keynote speaker. Tickets for the keynote speech will be available to the public for purchase.

The conference will include a vendor fair June 6-7, open to conference attendees and the public. A post-conference tour will visit Jackson and Yellowstone National Park June 9-11.

Conference organizers are seeking proposals for moderated discussions and panel presentations on a variety of topics. Proposals will be accepted until December 3.

Conference registration is expected to open February 1. For more information about the conference, visit

SHRAB Funds Five New Historical Records Projects

The Wyoming State Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) is providing funding for five new projects that will make photographs, letters, interviews, and videos of Wyoming’s history easily accessible online. These grants are made available through the Wyoming SHRAB by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Fort Caspar Museum Association in Casper received funding necessary to mount nearly half of their 10,000 collection scans online. These historical photographs and documents depict Casper, Natrona County, and Central Wyoming. They will do this using a PastPerfect Online portal on their website.

The Hot Springs County Historical Museum & Cultural Center in Thermopolis plans to describe and scan 300 photographs of the Grass Creek oil camp, including the ghost town of Ilo, from the 1920s. These photos were donated by local resident, Minnian Richardson, in twenty-two scrapbooks which also include maps, letters, and clippings.

The Homesteader Museum of Powell will digitize 175 cassettes of oral history interviews from the “Strugglers,” homesteading families in the Shoshone Reclamation Project area, and other early white settlers throughout the Big Horn Basin. They will make the interviews, some including video, available on their website via PastPerfect Online.

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation of Powell will digitize audio and video cassette recordings from the Frank Emi collection. Emi led the Fair Play Committee, the largest organized draft resistance movement in any of the Japanese internment camps, protesting military service for men whose civil liberties were being denied by their incarceration in the camps. Also included will be oral histories and an Honor Roll dedication for the Site.

The Wyoming State Archives in Cheyenne will use grant funds to organize and make more easily accessible a large set of documents related to the Big Horn General Stream Adjudication. This legal case, which decided water rights claims submitted by 20,000 tribal and other groups, was settled in 2014. It contains thousands of documents which are still requested by a variety of interested parties, but is not yet efficiently organized or presented online.

Many of these groups plan to upload these records to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

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. The program is administered by the Wyoming State Archives, part of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.