September 1999

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WSL focuses on bibliographic services

Wyoming State Library (WSL) is poised to take a stronger role in cataloging with a reorganization that has streamlined functions in the new Bibliographic Services work unit.

Bibliographic Services offered by the state library include both original cataloging and assistance with the maintenance of WYLD (Wyoming Libraries Database). When Lesley Boughton, state librarian, took her post in January, she noted there were several employees involved in bibliographic services who were split among different work groups.

"We needed to bring them together to maximize the resources," Boughton explained.

Bobbi Thorpe is acting head of Bibliographic Services, in addition to her primary responsibility as database manager. Boughton said Thorpe has the experience and background to bring high quality leadership to the newly-formed unit.

Thorpe said that prior to the reorganization, WYLD libraries would call her in the WYLD office for cataloging help, while non-WYLD libraries would contact the Business/Technical Services (BATS) office.

Bibliographic services will draw on staff members' existing skills and expertise in both cataloging and WYLD database management to enhance services to libraries in the field.

"There are so many people involved in cataloging and working in parts of the database that we want to draw more on the talent we have here at the Wyoming State Library," Thorpe said.

WSL has staff resources available for cataloging that are often not found in smaller libraries throughout the state. The bibliographic services unit works to make records available quickly through WYLD so that local libraries do not have to duplicate cataloging efforts.

Libraries call on WSL's catalogers for many different types of support, Thorpe said. Smaller libraries often do not have personnel trained specifically in cataloging. They may call for assistance with call numbers or subject analysis. WYLD libraries may encounter a problem retrieving information or may encounter a database conflict. When librarians call on WSL staff for specialized cataloging functions, it allows them to do their jobs more efficiently.

Bibliographic Services staff members perform different functions within the unit. WSL catalogs state documents, a task Janet Williams completes along with cataloging of trade publications. Karen Mydland works with federal documents and Marcive. Jan Batson processes large print materials and performs copy cataloging for state documents and trade publications. Alta Hepner works with the serials module in the WYLD system and checks in periodicals.

In October, Thorpe will attend OCLC training designed for cataloging leaders. She will also work with the library community and with the University of Wyoming to develop training programs for librarians in the state.

The creation of Bibliographic Services is not the only change at the state library. Library development is now grouped with administration, and the business office no longer oversees technical services. The changes have gone into effect to improve WSL services.

Levendosky honored for opposition to censorship

Casper news editor presented with Freedom to Read Roll of Honor Award

The editorial page editor of The Casper-Star Tribune, Charles L. Levendosky, is the recipient of the 1999 Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award.

The award recognizes Levendosky's support of intellectual freedom, the freedom to read and his opposition to censorship. He is a frequent lecturer on these topics.

In addition to his duties at The Casper-Star Tribune, Levendosky is a weekly columnist for The New York Times wire service. His columns also appear in more than 190 newspapers in the country.

He created and is Web manager of the First Amendment Cyber-Tribune Web site dedicated to the First Amendment. The site, located at, won a first place award in Editor & Publisher's 1996 Best Online Newspaper Services Competition. On behalf of the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee and the Freedom to Read Foundation Board of Trustees, Levendosky created the First Amendment Op-Ed Service dedicated to essays on the dangers of censorship.

Levendosky told American Libraries magazine that receiving the honor is special to him because "librarians are on the front lines of many free speech, free press and freedom-to-read battles. Perhaps no other profession in this era finds itself so embattled to protect our First Amendment rights."

Levendosky is also on the 30th Anniversary Roll of Honor of the Freedom to Read and the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

"We're thrilled to be able to honor Charles for his immeasurable impact on educating the public about the necessity and power of a free press and on safeguarding our freedom to read, learn and connect with the full span of ideas and information," said Candace Morgan, president of the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), in a American Library Association (ALA) press release.

Levendosky is a former Wyoming Center for the Book board member. In 1988, Gov. Mike Sullivan appointed him Poet Laureate of Wyoming. Levendosky was elected to the FTRF board during the ALA mid-winter conference in Philadelphia.

Other awards received by Levendosky include the 1997 Wyoming Press Association's Editorial Leadership Award; the 1994 The Baltimore Sun's H.L. Mencken Award for columns; the 1994 Silver Gavel Award, the American Bar Association's highest media award for columns; the 1987 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for print journalism; and the 1987 John Phillep Immroth Memorial Award for Intellectual Freedom.

Levendosky was a member of the FTRF during the lawsuit brought against the Federal Communications Decency Act.

"Educating the federal judges and creating a lengthy and informative document about the Internet for the (U.S.) Supreme Court was a winning strategy, that, I think, helped the justices recognize the Internet as a publishing venture, a way for the ordinary citizen to pamphleteer thousands of potential readers," he told American Libraries.

The Roll of Honor Award was presented June 26 during the 1999 ALA annual conference.

Wyoming libraries fare well in second year of HAPLR

Wyoming ranked 12th in the nation for quality of its public libraries in the second year of Hennen’s American Public Library Rating (HAPLR). The HAPLR index uses 15 factors drawn from Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) statistics, which are collected from nearly 9,000 public libraries.

Focus is on circulation, staffing, materials, reference service and funding levels. Factors include both input and output measures and are weighted to give greatest importance to expenditure and visits per capita and cost/circulation ratios.

Data on audiovisual services, interlibrary loan, Internet and electronic services are not included.

HAPLR index scores range from 1 to 1,000. Most libraries scored between 260 and 730, and scores outside that range are remarkable.

Sublette County Library System broke that range with a 731, making it the top-rated system in Wyoming according to HAPLR. The other counties’ scores ranged from 374 points to 702, with 13 ranked above the median of 500 for a strong statewide showing.

This year’s HAPLR results were published in the September 1999 issue of American Libraries and posted online at American Libraries’ article concluded that although the HAPLR index is a useful tool, there is more to quality of library service than statistics reveal.

HAPLR’s author, Thomas J. Hennen, has nearly 25 years experience in public libraries and holds a master’s of library science (MLS). He has written for professional jounals and spoken for library associations through the United States and Canada.

Trustee handbook on its way

By Jerry Krois
Wyoming Deputy State Librarian

A revision of the Wyoming Public Library Trustees Handbook will be coming your way soon. An introduction to public libraries has been added so that the new trustee will be able to see the big picture of public libraries.

This edition has added a significant section on the recruitment of the library director, a process that has occurred for a number of libraries during the last 18 months. Documenting the steps in these hirings helped to create detailed steps that the board should take when recruitment becomes necessary.

The handbook will also discuss board policy and the Internet, micromanagement of operations and the characteristics of board members. Many of these and other sections are based upon the experiences of boards in and out of state.

The distribution of this guide is a reminder to library boards that the state library is always available to give you an update on library issues in the state and region.

Staff are also available to make a presentation and answer your questions. You will be seeing a letter from us listing "hot" topics that might be of interest to you including increasing filtering criticism by radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, communication techniques in dealing with media and public, and Congressional actions to link computer filters to funding.

Finally, a planning committee will begin looking at a statewide workshop on library foundations. The Public Library Funding Retreat in May of 1998 identified the need to strengthen public library foundations as a funding source due to unstable tax revenues. More information will be distributed as the committee develops an agenda, speakers and location.

Exhibit celebrates 130 years of Wyoming library history

In 1869, J.A. Campbell, territorial governor of Wyoming, recommended the establishment of a Wyoming Territorial Library in a speech to the Legislature. The Legislature took two years to create the territorial library -- now the Wyoming State Library (WSL) and the Wyoming State Law Library.

Campbell's speech marked the beginning of the Wyoming library community's 130-year history, which is celebrated in a special exhibit at the Wyoming State Museum Oct. 1 - Dec. 31.

Libraries sprouted across Wyoming in the late 1800s and early 1900s, thanks to community support, dedicated librarians and construction funds from the Carnegie Foundation. Photos representing this early history will be on exhibit.

Also represented will be librarians' tools, which have changed from the accession manuals and Cutter tables to card catalogs to the latest in electronic resources. What has not changed is the central role of the librarian -- to organize and retrieve information.

With help from librarians statewide, WSL staff members have worked to gather and organize artifacts for the exhibit. Venice Beske, WSL State Information Services manager, created a timeline of significant events in Wyoming library history in preparation for this event.

The library history exhibit will be on display during the Wyoming Library Association (WLA) 1999 conference in Cheyenne Oct. 14-16. WLA participants are invited to browse the exhibit while at the conference. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; admission is free. The museum is located in the Barrett Building at 2301 Central Ave. in Cheyenne. For more information, call 307/772-7022.

The Wyoming State Museum store will hold its first ever book sale at the same time as the libraries exhibit. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

WLA 1999 conference set for Cheyenne

Wyoming Library Association (WLA) will hold its annual conference Oct. 14-16 in Cheyenne at the Hitching Post Inn, with the theme "America's Libraries: Embracing the Future, Preserving the Past."

Events will start with a Wednesday night reception featuring the Large Print Rotating Collections.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be William Gordon, executive director of American Library Association (ALA).

Sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including information about WLA, endowments, customer service, library advocacy, Internet filtering,Y2K, collection development and resources available to Wyoming librarians. Participants are invited to browse the exhibitor tables during the conference.

WLA exists to promote library service, the profession of librarianship and continued improvement of libraries within Wyoming and to support librarians in their professional roles as they participate in the regional, national and global library arenas.

For more information about the WLA conference, visit the Web site at or call Isabel Hoy, Goshen County Library director, at 307/532-3411.

Library budget updates become available

Editor’s note: County libraries shared their budget numbers in last month’s issue of The Outrider. Since that story, additional budget information has become available, and that information is included here.

Sublette County Library’s mill levy for FY2000 is .9224, which will produce $349,843 for the budget. The mill levy for FY1999 was .6739 and generated $253,624.

Included in the FY2000 budget are raises for employees and an increase in one part-time staff member's hours to full-time. The main library in Pinedale will receive $12,000 for oiling the building’s log exterior, and the Big Piney Branch Library is scheduled for work on the building's roof. The main library and the branch library will share $12,000 for upgrades and new computers. Hours for both libraries remain the same.

All eight libraries in Carbon County will be open fewer hours due to budget cuts. Cuts for the libraries range from two staff hours to nine staff hours a week. Salaries for most staff members will remain the same with some increases. A substantial portion of the book budget is protected with the help of grants.

In addition to reductions in both staff and library hours, Hot Springs County Library has cut office supplies and utilities, shut down two computers and limited access to databases. Funds have been cut for magazines, newspapers, books on tape, video and other audio equipment.

The library has started two projects to raise money.

Sweetwater County Commissioners recently approved new positions for the county library including a full-time assistant business manager. Staff changes were also approved.

WYLD Things

Personnel-ly speaking

Wyoming State Library bids a fond farewell to three long-time employees who have left. Marilyn Foster, LAN manager, accepted employment with a Fort Collins company; Mary O'Hare, administrative assistant, took a medical retirement; and Vera Caleb, fiscal processing technician, resigned.

Promotion touts WYLD’s licensed databases

Wyoming State Library (WSL), in cooperation with the WYLD (Wyoming Libraries Database) Marketing Committee, kicked off an effort in September to promote the WYLD WEB2 databases.

Each county and community college received 100 "Thousands of magazines at the CLICK of a mouse" brochures, which provide information and a short how-to for using these electronic resources. WSL will send more copies of the brochure on request.

The "Thousands of magazines" theme ties traditional print resources to the new use of electronic databases in Wyoming libraries, showing patrons how libraries balance "books and bytes."

Emphasis was also given to the message of librarians as "information navigators," professionals trained in finding appropriate information in the sea of resources now available.

Brochures, news releases and fact sheets were issued to both print and broadcast media statewide after packets were sent to libraries.

The brochures, designed by WSL's Public Programs, Publications and Marketing office, incorporated library messages gleaned from Benton Foundation research. The foundation makes these findings available at its Web site at

This promotion is intended to encourage Wyoming library patrons to access these information resources remotely -- from their home and business computers. Libraries may see more requests for personal identification numbers (PINs) or requests for information on using the WYLD databases.

"Wyoming libraries have information galore," said Patty Myers, WYLD Marketing Committee chairwoman. "We are just trying to make that information available to all Wyoming residents. Both the brochure and the PIN number will help library users."

For assistance or more information with the databases promotion or other public relations questions, contact Linn Rounds, 307/777-5915 or Susan Vittitow, 307/777-6338, in WSL's publications office, or use the toll-free number (in Wyoming) 800/264-1281, press 1 then press 6.

Sheridan County uses focus groups in planning

Patrons of all types have a way to voice their desires.

Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library (SCFPL) is finding out just what the customers want.

According to Cathy Butler, director, the library began a series of focus group discussions in June to gather information for a long-planned needs assessment.

The library has held discussions with its foundation, trustees and friends, with senior citizens, all levels of government, health sector representatives, the business community, young adults, patrons and members of the general public. Focus groups are planned this autumn for members of the agri-business community, non-profit organizations and branch library users,

SCFPL used a combination of invitations and general publicity to draw participants to the meetings, which were led by community facilitators. The library asked five general questions of participants:

  1. What is your opinion of the library and its services? What's right? What should be changed?
  2. What services, information resources, programs or facilities would you like to see the library develop or expand?
  3. How do you learn about library services and programs?
  4. If you or someone you know doesn't use the library, can you tell us why?
  5. Is there anything else that would improve the library for you?

"We've really generated some great responses," Butler said, adding that most respondents were positive about the facility and its resources. "Overwhelmingly, people have said it's a friendly place, staff are helpful."

While the process is not yet completed, Butler said the library is receiving suggestions to expand services to senior citizens and young adults. Other requests have included expanded computer training and a solution for the facility's perennial parking crunch.

Butler said they will review responses and determine if SCFPL needs to conduct a survey to finalize the data. If not, they will hold a strategic planning retreat with the foundation, trustees, department heads and Friends of the Library to evaluate which suggestions are feasible and to allocate resources for any changes.

"We're certainly getting a wealth of information from this," Butler said. "We see criticisms and suggestions as great opportunities for our organization."

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