State of America’s Libraries Report 2015

The State of American Libraries 2015Academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces. This and other library trends of the past year are detailed in the American Library Association’s 2015 State of America’s Libraries report, released during National Library Week, April 12– 18, 2015.

See the report at

NEH announces new “Common Heritage” grant program

WASHINGTON (April 20, 2015) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced a new grant program, called “Common Heritage,” that will bring to light historical records and artifacts currently hidden in family attics and basements across the country and make them digitally available to the wider public and for posterity.

NEH invites historical societies, libraries, archives, museums, colleges and other local institutions to apply for the Common Heritage grant program, the first federal grant program of its kind. Grants will support day-long events, organized by community cultural institutions, in which members of the public will be invited to share materials important to their family or community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, family letters, and works of art.

These items will be digitized, along with descriptive information and context provided by the community attendees. With the owner’s permission, the digitized materials will be made publicly available through the institution’s online collections. Contributors will receive a free digital copy of their items to take home, along with the original materials.

Grants will also be used for public programming – including lectures, exhibits, discussion programs, and film screenings – that celebrates and expands knowledge of the community’s past and the diverse histories of its members.

“We know that America’s cultural heritage isn’t found only in libraries and museums,” said NEH Chairman William Adams, “but in our homes, in our family histories, and the stories and objects we pass down to our children. NEH’s new Common Heritage grant program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country’s heritage and preserve it for future generations.”

Application guidelines and a list of FAQs for the Common Heritage program are available at The application deadline for the initial cycle of Common Heritage grants is June 25, 2015. The first round of Common Heritage digitization days is expected to take place in early 2016.

The new Common Heritage grant program is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ agency-wide initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life.

NEH’s Common Heritage program will award grants of up to $12,000 to community cultural organizations to coordinate community events and ensure that a wide range of historical materials can be digitized and contextualized through public programming.

NEH program staff from the Divisions of Preservation & Access and Public Programs will conduct a webinar for interested applicants on Tuesday, May 5 at 4 PM (EST).

NEH Common Heritage grants webinar information:
May 5, 4-4:30 PM (EST)
Access code: 232-247-517
You can also dial in by phone at: (872) 240-3312


Uinta County Library Welcomes New Director

George Strawley

George Strawley

George Strawley comes to the Uinta County Library System after seven years at College of The Albemarle, a community college based in Elizabeth City, N.C.  More specifically, George served as Dare County Campus Librarian in Manteo, N.C., site of the ill-fated “Lost Colony” established under the sponsorship of Sir Walter Ralegh. His Master of Library and Information Studies degree comes from Rutgers University, but he also holds master’s degrees in journalism from Ohio State University and liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md.  He says that earning three master’s degrees was never his plan in life and should not be anyone else’s. Before entering the field of librarianship, George was a reporter for The Press of Atlantic City (N.J.) and The Associated Press in Harrisburg, Pa. He is originally from the Philadelphia area.

Celebrate the anniversary of the Pony Express


Pony Express Poster courtesy of the National Park Service, Pony Express National Historic Trail.

On April 14, 1860, the first mail was delivered to San Francisco via Pony Express. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. Check out the game — pick up as many letters as you can without crashing into a cactus!

Then, head on over to Wyoming Places to learn about the Pony Express stations that were established throughout Wyoming. Riders galloped between 42 stations in what are now Goshen, Platte, Converse, Natrona, Fremont, Sublette, Sweetwater and Uinta Counties.

Wyoming Places is one of the Wyoming State Library Digital Collections found at

Help Promote Free Audio Books for Your Patrons with Failing Vision or Physical Disabilities

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is kicking off a new public education campaign to promote audio and braille book services provided by libraries throughout the U.S. Learn about this campaign on the Library of Congress Blog: That All May Read.

The Wyoming Talking Books Program is available for residents with visual impairments as well as for those who have physical or reading disabilities. The disability may be permanent or temporary.

Qualified patrons include Wyomingites of all ages who:

  • are legally blind
  • cannot see well enough to read regular print comfortably regardless of corrective eyewear
  • have physical limitations that prevent them from holding books or turning pages
  • have reading disabilities due to an organic dysfunction, such as dyslexia, autism or traumatic brain injury

Find the application and more information at

State Historical Records Advisory Board workshop April 21

The Wyoming State Historical Records Advisory Board is sponsoring a digital preservation workshop from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., April 21 at the Casper Parkway Plaza Hotel. The workshop is offered in cooperation with the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems, and is free and open to the public.

Registration is available at the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems’ conference website at To attend just the SHRAB workshop and not the paid portions of the conference, sign up for the April 21st pre-conference only.

The workshop will be taught by Liz Bishoff, owner of The Bishoff Group, a library and cultural heritage organization consulting services organization. Bishoff works with archives, libraries and museums developing digital program plans, digital preservation plans, providing guidance on development of local practices, and offers workshops on a range of digital topics.

This workshop will include an introduction to the standards that support digital preservation, strategies for risk assessment, elements of digital preservation planning, and issues associated with digital content back-up. For questions regarding registration, please contact WARS Training Specialist Kathy Weinsaft at (307) 262-3943.

The Wyoming State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) consists of public officials and private citizens who believe in the importance of preserving our state’s records and in making them available for the public. It works with state and local governments, businesses and organizations, and individuals to provide information, technical assistance and resources. The Wyoming SHRAB is one of many similar organizations in existence nationwide, supported by and operating in cooperation with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a branch of the National Archives.

Members of the Wyoming SHRAB are: Tony Adams, Cheyenne; Courtney Bohlender, Riverton; Rick Ewig, Laramie; Lokey Lytjen, Jackson; Sarah Brown Matthews, Laramie; Judit Olah, Cheyenne; Scarlet Skorcz, Rock Springs; Carol Thompson, Cheyenne; Robert Webster, Sheridan; and Sherry Daigle, Jackson.

For more information about the workshop please contact SHRAB chair Mike Strom, Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources at (307) 777-7020, or visit the SHRAB Web site at