January 1999

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State librarian settling into role

Lesley Boughton has been part of the Wyoming library community for nearly 20 years, using services provided by the Wyoming State Library (WSL) while directing the Carbon, Platte and Natrona County systems.

With her appointment as state librarian she switches to the other side of the desk, taking responsibility for providing those services throughout the state.

"I know a lot of the good things," she said in an interview, "and I know a lot of the things people complain about."

Now, Boughton said, she is learning how the WSL works internally and what its role is in state government. Among other things, she is finding WSL staff perform a number of functions that the larger library community is only aware of marginally.

Boughton, who took her post on Jan. 4, had her first job as a library page in high school in Guilford, Conn. Although she enjoyed the work, she chose history over library science when entering college in 1962. She took a break after a year for marriage and two children, then back for more college and another boy.

"I have this interesting, checkered career," she said. She persisted, and earned a bachelor's degree in 1971 from Connecticut College in New London, and her master's in library science in 1978 from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.

She found inspiration from her grandmother, who did not have the opportunity to go to college. Boughton admired her grandmother's self-discipline, work ethic and dignity during difficulty.

It was only after Boughton became a librarian she learned her grandmother had dreamed of pursuing the same career.

Not surprisingly, Boughton is an avid reader and enjoys books on tape. Thanks to the influence of her brother and her three sons, she is also an avid sports fan.

Boughton's broad-based background and her background in three different Wyoming libraries have helped her as she steps into her new role. "I think I have a real understanding of the dynamics of libraries in different kinds of communities," she said. She has served as the president of the Wyoming Library Association (WLA) and received the WLA Association Service Award in 1991.

Boughton has strong experience in statewide telecommunications issues. She served on the Wyoming Telecommunications Council from 1994 to 1998, chairing it in 1996. She also served on the Education Department's Goal 2000 Panel and the Technology in Education Project Committee.

Boughton says the best and most challenging part of her job is the people. Her management style varies with the environment; she has been more hands-on in smaller libraries, but now finds herself with the largest professional staff she has ever supervised – A self-described perfectionist and optimist, she likes to think of herself as a "laid-back" manager who prefers trusting her employees to "micro-management."

She is aware the long-term future of the WSL may include reorganization. "There is always the possibility that as circumstances change, we have to be open to new structural ways of doing business," she commented.

Boughton brings a blend of government involvement and library experience to her role, a blend which should benefit libraries throughout Wyoming.

Lesley Boughton - a quick glance

Librarian wins freedom, reports Cottam

It has been a long struggle for Vo Thi Van to find freedom.

Van is a graduate of the former National Institute of Administration (NIA). She earned her master's degree in library science from the former George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn. Her education in the U.S. came about through the work of Keith Cottam when he served as a civilian advisor to the NIA in 1971.

The U.S.-educated librarian disappeared in 1975 with the fall of Saigon in Vietnam. The State Department considered her a high-risk case due to her American ties, and searched for her. Officials asked Cottam, now director of libraries at the University of Wyoming, to sponsor her if she were found.

The search ended unsuccessfully, and Van was held as a political prisoner until 1989 when she and her family escaped to the refugee camps in Thailand.

Cottam lobbied on her behalf, and the ALA adopted a "Resolution on Vo Thi Van" in 1995 calling on the U.S. to "reinvestigate her status and claim of eligibility for refugee status."

In order to win her freedom, Van had to return to Vietnam in June 1996 and work through the U.S. Orderly Departure Program and the Resettlement Opportunity for Vietnamese Returnees Program. She departed Vietnam on Nov. 3, and is now with her brother in Virginia.

Van extends her gratitude to Cottam and to the members of the ALA who worked on her behalf. In addition, many others in U.S., Thai and international agencies helped with her case since 1989.

An account of Van's journey was published in the Dec. 24 Casper Star-Tribune. An article co-written by Van and Cottam will appear in the February issue of American Libraries.

Children's books teach adult lessons in "National Connections"

Laramie County Library System (LCLS) is one of 40 libraries nationwide selected to host the "National Connections" reading and discussion series for new adult readers. The project is offered by the Vermont Council on the Humanities in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office and funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The project will be offered in the spring and fall of 1999 by a coalition that consists of Lucie Osborn, county librarian, representing the Laramie County Library System; Judith Powers, Wyoming Council for the Humanities; and Frances Caster, Laramie County Community College Job Skills and Education Center. Bonnie Robertson from the University of Wyoming College of Education will serve as discussion leader. Representatives of each group will travel to Chicago Feb. 18-20 for a training workshop.

"National Connections" uses children's literature to offer adult literacy students an opportunity to gather with their peers to discuss timeless themes and to make connections, sometimes for the first time, between books and their lives.

For more information, contact Osborn at (307) 635-1032, ext. 122, email losborn@larm.lib.wy.us or visit the Laramie County Library System's Web site at http://library.cheyenneweb.com.

Inspection nets good marks for WSL

The Wyoming State Library (WSL) received good marks in the report results from a U.S. Government Printing Office depository collection inspection conducted in late 1998.

"The Wyoming State Library Federal depository is an outstanding operation," the report concluded. "It rates very high in the quality and number of staff and in public service to its constituent libraries and the state government."

The one area cited for non-compliance was in physical facilities. According to the inspection report, the space and shelving are inadequate for the collection.

"The Library needs more space soon," the report says. "It would be regrettable if such a fine organization were allowed to deteriorate for lack of adequate facilities.

There are no current plans for a library expansion, so the tight quarters will continue to create a challenge for WSL librarians to maintain a high quality of services.

Taking care of library employees

by Jerry Krois, Deputy State Librarian

Are you taking care of your library employees? Are you offering an employment package which reflects your commitment to the roles and scope of the library?

Boards are fortunate that individuals working in Wyoming libraries generally stay for a long time. Whether the reasons are family commitments, spouse's employment, love of Wyoming, or library work, the turnover is relatively low. This should not mean that the board can become complacent in improving the employment environment.

Employee salary schedules should be established to recognize job responsibilities and related education or training needed to perform the work successfully, possible supervisory duties, comparative pay with other county employees and, if possible, incentives for success.

Boards should ensure that the benefit package includes vacation and sick leave consistent with other county offices. This may include increases in time after defined years of employment.

Establishing a retirement program with the Wyoming Retirement System should be close behind in priority. In this program the board can contribute up to 100 percent of the employee's contribution. If the employees are the most important asset of the library then participation in this program is a must.

A good health insurance package is also important because employees who are ill and unable to pay for prescriptions and examinations will use sick leave at a higher rate than those who have a program. In many cases the library and employee split the monthly premium.

Further down the list of benefits should be a deferred compensation program in which the employee can make a voluntary contribution. This should not be seen as the retirement program for employees since many cannot afford a voluntary contribution out of a modest paycheck.

New trends in the workplace should also be studied for possible introduction or adaptation. Telework allows employees to perform some work duties at home rather than being in the office. Officially recognized flexible work schedules, managed by the director, allow staff to meet occasional workday obligations without having to use vacation time

Several events in the state during the past year have demonstrated that not all county libraries have the depth of employment package that is generally thought to exist. Funding conditions vary widely in the state and challenge boards to deliver appropriate employment packages, but your commitment will pay off in reduced turnover, commitment to library success and a satisfied employee.

WYLD Things

Libraries have been asked by the WYLD office to delay their implementation of WEB2 for two reasons.

One, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken in the upgrade.

Two, libraries are encouraged to wait because some of the smaller libraries don't have the telecommunication capacity needed to implement WEB2. There have also been problems with out of state WEB access lines.

An opportunity has been given to the WYLD office to upgrade the telecommunications of smaller libraries at a low cost with no installation charges. The upgrade will improve the smaller libraries' use of WYLD now and give them the bandwidth needed for the implementation of WEB2.

For both of these reasons, the WYLD office will put a hold on adding new libraries until all the new features available have been added to existing WEB2 sites and telecommunications capacity has been upgraded for smaller libraries.

WSL sponsors database teleconference

The Wyoming State Library will sponsor a site for "Periodical Database Teleconference: A National Forum" in Cheyenne on Friday, Feb. 26, from 10 am to noon. This national, interactive teleconference will offer an opportunity to hear major database suppliers: The Gale Group, H.W. Wilson, OCLC and University Microfilms Inc. in a forum with professional librarians. These vendors have been asked to discuss search engines, areas of coverage, costs, title selection, connections to other software, archival issues and full-text/full-image options. It's a chance to compare products and services and give these companies feedback. There is no charge to participants. For more information, contact Judy Yeo, Wyoming State Library Development Office, 800/264-1281, option 1, choice 3; 307/777-5914.

Job opportunities

Entrepreneurial resources to go on WYLD

The Wyoming State Library (WSL) and the Natrona County Library are partnering with the Wyoming district of the U.S. Small Business Administration to make business resources available for all Wyomingites. This is happening by entering the collection of SBA's Business Information Center (BIC) into WYLD, the statewide libraries database. SBA opened the first Wyoming BIC in the Federal Building in Casper in late fall.

BICs are joint ventures between the SBA and private partners. They provide the latest in high-tech hardware, software and telecommunications to help start-up and expanding businesses. BICs also offer a wide array of counseling services and training opportunities.

The Wyoming BIC has more than 400 books and videos for Wyoming entrepreneurs. Through the partnership, all book, video and software resources will be cataloged and available for interlibrary loan. The Natrona County Public Library will serve as the interlibrary loan transport, receiving and delivering the materials in cooperation with Dane Jervis, BIC manager. WSL is providing staff and technical expertise for the BIC to join the WYLD system.

According to Jervis, this is a first-time, unique partnering for a BIC. This project will serve as a model for other BICs that want to join a statewide electronic catalog delivery system.

Andrea Testi is acting as the liaison for this project in her roles as economic and community development librarian for WSL and business counselor with SBDC.

The impact on WYLD member libraries will be for interlibrary loan. Patrons can request BIC materials like any other interlibrary loan function, with the exception of some reference materials. During this trial period, Natrona County Library will help work out the interlibrary loan bugs.

Once the BIC partnership is working smoothly, the next phase will be to enter the SBDC resource collections into WYLD. The Fremont County Public Library System, Riverton Branch Library will partner with SBDC during that phase. This will allow Testi to work out of that location to facilitate the addition of these collections to the statewide system. Testi said the WSL wants to make the BIC resource available to all Wyoming residents in order to facilitate economic development. Aligning with the WYLD network will allow the BIC to disseminate this information statewide through the electronic catalog and interlibrary loan.

Set aside March 2 to read with a child

The National Education Association (NEA) is sponsoring a nationwide reading event to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2. More information on the event is available on the NEA Web site at http://www.nea.org/readacross.

Do you have news of note for the Outrider?

Send it to the Public Programs, Publications and Marketing office at Wyoming State Library, 2301 Capitol Ave., Cheyenne WY 82002

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