On May 26, 1981, Chris Van Burgh walked through the doors of the University of Wyoming Coe Library. Today, she celebrates 35 years employment with the State of Wyoming.
Chris is the Wyoming State Library’s database instruction librarian, working in the library development office. You may recognize her as the voice on the database of the month webinars that help librarians navigate the many resources in GoWYLD.net. As part of that, she puts together guides, tutorials, and blog posts, and does live training on occasion. She coordinates the Collaborative Summer Reading Program for Wyoming and is on the WSL reference staff.
Chris has held a variety of leadership positions in the Wyoming Library Association and was named the WLA Librarian of the Year in 2010. Along the way, she’s nurtured many other library leaders. A little over 15 years ago, Chris was on the committee that formed the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute, which provides opportunities for learning, mentoring, and developing leadership skills to promote personal and professional growth. Since its inception, Chris has been a driving force behind WLLI. The Institute now boasts 135 graduates, many of whom have taken the skills they learned and stepped up into leadership positions.
Chris earned her associate’s in education and science from Casper College, and a bachelor’s and M.S. in education from the University of Wyoming. Her first job at UW was working with documents, maps, and microforms. From there, she went to the geology library before moving into a position in outreach services, working with distance students and conducting training.
That last role made her a perfect fit when the State Library hired her in 1998 to train librarians across the state on the WYLD databases. Initially, her job took her on the road to visit all types of libraries. Over the years, the training has shifted primarily to webinars.
What has been the best part of the past 35 years? “There have been a lot of bests,” she said.