April 1999

Document URL: http://will.state.wy.us/slpub/outrider/1998/9904or.html
Last Modified: Thursday May 24 2007

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Public library statistics available

Wyoming Public Library Statistics FY98 have been completed and are available from the Wyoming State Library (WSL). Copies of the document have already been sent to the state's 23 county library systems. Public Library statistics are published each year, based on information provided by the county libraries and compiled by WSL.

The statistics are a tool for Wyoming libraries, but Lesley Boughton, state librarian, cautioned that they do not necessarily tell the entire story.

"They are counts of things, but they don't necessarily define quality," said Boughton. "I would like to see more validity in the way we use statistics."

Some services are difficult to track accurately. Library hours are easily counted, but patron visits may be more difficult. Not every library uses the same reporting techniques. Reference questions pose another problem. One complex inquiry may require as much time to answer as 10 simple questions.

Each library system is unique to the communities it serves, and the numbers can reflect that. For example, Boughton said, a library that doesn't borrow many materials through interlibrary loan may be serving its customers by maintaining a good collection and using Internet resources effectively.

"We really don't understand the impact of electronic resources," Boughton continued. "The Internet is changing the way we provide information."

Library directors and staff put in a number of hours to gather information for this report. They should be commended for their efforts and for the quality of their data.

Responsibility for the statistics moved this year from Judy Yeo in the WSL development office to Joe French in the business office. French said he hopes that some statistical areas will aid in identifying some "Best Practices" which other libraries could emulate, such as number of full-time employees per capita.

Some have called statistics "management by fact," French said. Statistics FY98 may help to measure outcomes of particular areas within the libraries' strategic plans.

Libraries serve an essential function in Wyoming, providing invaluable services to patrons in communities of all sizes and assisting the state's education and economic development goals, according to French. Statistics FY98 is intended to paint as clear a picture as possible of Wyoming libraries. This picture can be a boon to planning and lobbying efforts.

Each year, WSL makes efforts to improve the statistics. This year, libraries were listed in order of county population served, in order to make comparisons easier between similar public library systems. There are possibilities to make the report more accurate and useful in coming years. One option is formation of a committee to standardize counting procedures, verify data and evaluate the types of data gathered for their usefulness and relevance.

Quality statistics can be used to evaluate library trends over the years. Statistics FY98 shows five-year comparisons on revenues, circulation and full-time employees, among other categories. These comparisons may be expanded in the future to create a "State of Wyoming Libraries" report.

WSL will provide additional data and analysis upon request, and welcomes suggestions. French may be contacted at 307/777-5916 or by email at jfrenc@state.wy.us.

To receive a copy of Wyoming Public Library Statistics FY98, contact the WSL publications office at 307/777-6338.

WSL helps libraries develop their presence on the Web

The Wyoming State Library will offer Wyoming Libraries on the World Wide Web training which will help staff visualize, market and develop their library's presence on the Internet. Instructors are Chris Van Burgh and Desiree Sallee.

Scheduled sessions are available in:

This training will be presented in two parts. The morning session from 8:30 to 10:30 offers a general introduction to the "Big Picture" aimed at non-technical staff and decision makers. Topics will include: planning for development; identifying your audience; evaluating Web sites; examining WYLD access points; other library pathfinders; and integrating WYLDCat on the Web into library services.

The afternoon session from 10:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with a one-hour break for lunch) addresses the nuts and bolts of building web pages and will include HTML basics, design principles, planning access points, and evaluating webpage building software. Class size is limited to 16 for this session.

Access to the Internet continues to grow throughout Wyoming and will become more prevalent as Wyoming libraries migrate to a web-based catalog interface (WEB2). There is an increased need to better understand how libraries throughout the state "fit" into the World Wide Web and how to take advantage of unique opportunities to market individual libraries to an ever growing customer base.

To register for the class, contact Judy Yeo, WSL development officer, at 307/777-5914 or 800/264-1281 option 3. Registration forms and additional information are available online at http://will.state.wy.us/training/.

WYLD things

Goshen awarded AME=t

The Goshen County Library received a $29,000 grant from Union Pacific Railroad. Accepting the award were Stuart Short, president of the Goshen County library board; Isabel Hoy, library director (right); and Venice Beske, Wyoming State Library statewide information services manager. The grant will fund 10 new computers, printers and a phone system with voice messaging.

State Library receives award

The Wyoming State Library received the 1999 Award of Excellence from the Wyoming State Archives at a luncheon meeting of records and information management professionals on April 8.

According to the award citation, "Staff of the Wyoming State Library have worked with the State Archives to develop appropriate measures to preserve and provide access to the large volume of publications produced by the State of Wyoming. While these efforts are still in progress, the willingness of Library staff to examine all existing procedures and philosophies has enabled a reevaluation of program responsibilities and methods that should ensure the long term preservation and access of information distributed by state government agencies in an efficient manner.

"Library staff have also enhanced opportunities for access to many State Archives collections by including bibliographic information about collections on the Wyoming Libraries Database (WYLD), thus providing immediate information on many historical records to Wyoming communities.

Libraries change directors

Jill Mackey has been named as director of Crook County Library, replacing Gaydell Collier, who is retiring. The library bid farewell to Collier with a reception on March 31.

Mackey has been employed at the Sundance library since Oct. 1994. She has been the children's librarian since March 1995, a job which Debbie Tschetter will now hold. Mackey is a graduate of Sundance High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Maryland through its Okinawa campus.

Collier moved to Crook County in 1977. She was appointed library director in 1985 and was named Wyoming Librarian of the Year in 1990. When the State Library downsized and distributed its specialty collections, she worked to bring the collection of books for writers to Sundance. She has been active in the local writers' group, has co-authored three books on horsemanship with Eleanor Prince and co-edited the anthology Leaning Into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West with Linda Hasselstrom and Nancy Curtis. She plans to co-edit another anthology with Hasselstrom and Curtis, as well as work on a mystery novel set in Wyoming.

In Natrona County, Bill Nelson has been appointed library director, filling the position left open when Lesley Boughton was named state librarian in December. Nelson, a 20-year Navy veteran most recently employed at the Sno-Isle Regional Library System near Seattle, holds master's degrees in engineering, management, national security-strategic studies and library and information science. He will begin work in Casper June 1.

Frank Swan, Uinta County Library director, has announced he will retire effective July 30. Swan came to Wyoming from Oregon in 1982. At his retirement, he will have been director for 17 years.

Job opportunities

May delivery expected for 1999 Libraries Directory

The 1999 Wyoming Libraries Directory is nearly completed and delivery is expected in late May.

The directory lists libraries, addresses, Web sites, email and staff contacts for libraries throughout the state. Public, academic, institutional, medical and school libraries; federal documents depositories; large-print rotating collections and special collections are all available in this publication produced by the Wyoming State Library (WSL).

The special libraries section was expanded this year to include the newly-created Business Information Center (BIC) in Casper and the existing resource collections of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center's five regional offices. Several other special collections were also added.

This year WSL staff sent PDF versions of the completed directory pages to county and academic libraries for a final proof before publication. It is hoped this additional step will improve the accuracy of the final document. Any additional corrections needed after publication will be printed in an upcoming edition of the Outrider.

An update of the Web version of the directory at http://will.state.wy.us/slpub/directory/index.html will be done after the print version is distributed. The WSL publications office is working closely with technical staff in the WYLD office to convert the online version into a searchable database. Users could then search easily by staff name, job specialties, county and library types. Conversion to a database will allow updates and corrections to the directory throughout the year and will speed the proced ss of assembling the print version in the year 2000.

The publications office will also convert mailing lists for the Outrider and Coming Attractions to a database to improve their accuracy and flexibility. Although every effort will be made to make the conversion process as smooth as possible, there may be some mistakes in the lists. WSL will work to make corrections as quickly as possible. If subscribers find a problem in the mailing labels on any publication or correspondence they receive from WSL, they are asked to contact Susan Vittitow at 307/777-6338 or 800/264-1281 option 6, or at svitti@state.wy.us.

Personnel-ly speaking

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