Wyoming Library Association Announces Annual Awards



Wyoming Library Association mountains logoThe Wyoming State Library was honored to be selected by the Wyoming Library Association (WLA) as its 2021 Outstanding Library. In addition, the WLA announced three other major awards and a grant award at its recent virtual conference. Congratulations to all who were honored!

Lifetime Achievement

Michelle Havenga, recently retired from the Sheridan Fulmer County Library, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for a 40-year career of community partnership and service to children and families at the Sheridan Fulmer Library. She was nominated by Cameron Duff, Director of the Sheridan County Public Library System.

In his nomination letter, Cameron wrote, “It is amazing to see the lives that Michelle has touched as the children who used to come to her programs are now grown up and bringing their own kids to new programs. It is next to impossible to count the number of children and parents that have been touched by Michelle from story times, research projects, or other questions she has helped to answer.”

Outstanding Hero

Jana Pastor of Rock Springs was named WLA’s Outstanding Hero for designing, raising funds, and recruiting volunteers to create the Children’s Discovery Center at the Rock Springs Library. Jana raised more than $100,000 in cash and donations for the project. She was nominated by Lindsey Travis.

Lindsey wrote of the results to the community, “Jana’s work in creating the Children’s Discovery Center has truly improved the quality of life in Sweetwater County. The Discovery Center gives children and families a place to explore and have fun. Since it is located in the library, the Discovery Center has no admission fees, unlike similar children’s museums in bigger cities. Because Jana was able to find donors to invest in this project and the community, everyone benefits from it!”

Outstanding Librarian

Rachael Svoboda,  Business Services Coordinator for Laramie County Library System, was named Outstanding Librarian for developing the Library 2 Business program throughout the state, her work with Wyoming Library Leadership Institute (WLLI), and everyday work with patrons. She was nominated by: Carey Hartmann, Jeff Collins, Elizabeth Thorson, Steve Rzasa, Tekla Slider, Darcy Acord, Jacque Strike, Johanna Tuttle, and Chris Van Burgh.

“Rachael’s knowledge of working in the business community for many years, her exceptional networking skills, and her new degree in business helped her launch and sustain the amazing Library 2 Business program for Laramie County Library System,” wrote Carey Hartmann, the County Librarian at LCLS. “Yet, that was not enough for Rachael… Her vision when applying for the Google’s Libraries Build Business Grant encompassed more than rural Laramie County or eastern Wyoming. She knew these funds could aid many more libraries and help her achieve part of her vision to get business service expertise in more Wyoming Libraries.”

Nora Van Burgh Grant Award Winner

DeeAnna Waters at Fairview Elementary in Cheyenne received a Nora Van Burgh Grant to have an author visit their school for a writing workshop. The grant is named in honor of Nora Van Burgh, a beloved leader in the Wyoming library community, who passed away in 1991. Nora , a strong believer in lifelong learning, was employed at Casper College for more than 30 years.

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