After more than 35 years working in the Wyoming Library Community, State Librarian Lesley Boughton is retiring on June 16, 2015. Wyoming librarians are invited to join in wishing her well at a reception at the State Library June 16 from 2-4 p.m.
Boughton’s first job in high school was as a library page in Guilford, Conn. Prior to becoming State Librarian on Jan. 4, 1999, she worked nearly 20 years in Wyoming libraries, first as director of the Platte County Public Library System, then at Carbon County Library System and Natrona County Public Library. She is a past president of the Wyoming Library Association. She has held offices in the Western Council of State Libraries and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.
When Boughton joined the Wyoming State Library in 1999 we asked her what her greatest feat was. She said “It is yet to come.” Now, she counts the Wyoming Newspaper Project, which digitized all existing copies of Wyoming newspapers published between 1867 and 1922, as that feat. Boughton said former WSL digital initiatives librarian Erin Kinney was an incredible asset during the process, and it’s now in good hands with Thomas Ivie.
“I would lie awake at night over the newspaper project,” she said. “The expectations were so high – the magnitude of digitizing all newspapers in all communities. It’s not perfect, but it’s an amazing resource.” Not every newspaper could be found: 70 newspapers were identified that had no known extant copies. “My dream is to find the Arminto Flockmaster.”
She added, “The greatest compliment was paid to me by Pete Simpson. He said ‘T.A. Larson would have loved it.’”
Now that she’s retiring, she plans to sit on the deck for a while and get through her reading list of Swedish mysteries by Haken Nesser. Her one regret was that she was not able to spend more time out in the field as State Librarian. She may no longer travel the state in an official capacity, but she wants to spend time taking short trips to explore the many wonderful Wyoming communities she’s passed through.
What does she foresee for the future of Wyoming libraries? “Just up. Bigger, better. Responding to their community needs and making it happen. Amazing. I’m so astounded by what they’re doing. What a great career I’ve had – 35 years of working with really dedicated, exceptional people.”