Featuring the Wyoming Library Association Award Winners

Dec 14, 2022

The Wyoming Library Association’s Awards/Grants Committee announced the winners of the organization’s annual awards in October, but did you know the details of why they were chosen? If you weren’t at the conference, you may have missed the accomplishments and contributions of each of the winners featured here. Find details and criteria for each of the awards on the WLA website.

Lifetime Achievement

Richard standing in front of paneled wall with clock

Richard Landreth

Richard Landreth, Lincoln County Library System Director

Richard spent two decades as a school library media specialist in Gillette. In 2018, he was hired as the Director of the Lincoln County Library System, which includes the main branch in Kemmerer and the five branches In LaBarge, Cokeville, Alpine, Thayne, and Afton. “He came at a time when our library system was in serious need of a director who had leadership, supervisory, and technological skills as well as experience in a rural setting,” wrote former Board Chair Rosalie Tratnik in her nomination letter.

Rosalie cited library accomplishments under Richard’s direction, including community reading programs, pottery and oil painting workshops, tech support to patrons, and weekly columns in the local newspaper written by staff. His regular trips to all branches have ensured a safe working environment and continuously updated tech training. The staff is encouraged to meet high performance standards, and they have access to free college tuition for self-improvement, which he helped to establish.

Richard is a Past President of the Wyoming Library Association and served as Book Awards Advisor for many years. In Kemmerer, he is involved with the Rotary Club and holds workshops at the Senior Citizens Center.

“Richard has a great sense of humor and enthusiasm, and a high moral character,” Rosalie wrote. “Projects and programs he has implemented over the years have been a benefit to the community and patrons throughout his career. He looks toward the future, and continually educates himself – a true professional.”

Outstanding Hero/Heroine

Field of wildflowers with library building in the background

Thousands of native plants now bloom at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne from May until the first frost each year.

Nancy Loomis and Jeff Geyer, Laramie County Library Water-wise and Pollinator Bio-retention System Project

In 2020, Nancy Loomis had a vision for the water detention area on Laramie County Library property. She worked with Jeff Geyer at the Laramie County Conservation District to turn the area on the southwest corner of the library’s property into an urban wildlife habitat. Nancy wrote grants and marshalled the Laramie County Master Gardeners. The project involved changing out the drainage system, planting literally thousands of plants, and removing weeds that were not part of the native plantings. The plants support bees and butterflies and the wetland-like area at the bottom can attract salamanders and other wildlife. Programs to teach about the urban wildlife habitat will be part of the library’s events for many years to come.

“The hours and hours that Nancy put in writing the grants, planning the layout, enlisting volunteers, and personally working the space over the last two years has been more than above and beyond,” Library Director Carey Hartmann wrote in her nomination. “Jeff has been there every step of the way to ensure success and provide support, both hands on and through resources of the conservation district.  Nancy and Jeff are truly outstanding heroes for our library and the community.”

Outstanding Librarian

Paula Sabatka with bouquet of flowers

Paula Sabatka

Paula Sabatka, Fremont County School District #2 District Librarian

Paula excels at getting the newest, best books on the shelves. The collection is diverse and inclusive, so students can find what they need. Her library is a safe space for students not just because of the materials, but also because of the general atmosphere she creates. She’s original and innovative when it comes to planning and finding resources for special projects or programs. She leads not just the library, but also the student learning center at Dubois Schools. She works tirelessly with teachers to encourage interlibrary loan use and promote book clubs.

“Her vast content knowledge for students of all ages creates a library where everyone is welcome and all students feel seen,” Jennifer Bowles wrote in her nomination letter. “She continues to advocate for the role of the library in literacy education through small group instruction, class library visits, pushing into classes, and individualized help for all students.  Her read alouds are simply lovely… captivating and engaging.  She also is an essential link between our small school library and our county libraries. There is nothing she can’t find!”

Outstanding Library

Group photo

Campbell County Public Library System staff at the awards reception. Library Executive Director Terri Lesley (4th from right) holds the award.

Campbell County Public Library

Beginning in the summer of 2021, the number of challenges to unique titles at the Campbell County Public Library rose precipitously. Library staff and management dealt with contentious board meetings, protestors outside the library, and even an attempt to prosecute CCPL librarians, including Executive Library Director Terri Lesley, of violating child sex laws based on five books in the collection.

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. The nomination, submitted anonymously, said, “The library has worked to preserve the basic tenets of the Wyoming Library Association and the American Library Association: access, democracy, diversity, education and life-long learning, intellectual freedom, the public good, professionalism, service, and social responsibility.”

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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