Van Burgh Marks 35 Years with the State of Wyoming

Chris Van Burgh with Interim State Librarian Jamie Markus.

Chris Van Burgh with Interim State Librarian Jamie Markus.

On May 26, 1981, Chris Van Burgh walked through the doors of the University of Wyoming Coe Library. Today, she celebrates 35 years employment with the State of Wyoming.

Chris is the Wyoming State Library’s database instruction librarian, working in the library development office. You may recognize her as the voice on the database of the month webinars that help librarians navigate the many resources in As part of that, she puts together guides, tutorials, and blog posts, and does live training on occasion. She coordinates the Collaborative Summer Reading Program for Wyoming and is on the WSL reference staff.

Chris Van Burgh

Chris out on the road at a training session not long after she joined WSL.

Chris has held a variety of leadership positions in the Wyoming Library Association and was named the WLA Librarian of the Year in 2010. Along the way, she’s nurtured many other library leaders. A little over 15 years ago, Chris was on the committee that formed the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute, which provides opportunities for learning, mentoring, and developing leadership skills to promote personal and professional growth. Since its inception, Chris has been a driving force behind WLLI. The Institute now boasts 135 graduates, many of whom have taken the skills they learned and stepped up into leadership positions.

Chris earned her associate’s in education and science from Casper College, and a bachelor’s and M.S. in education from the University of Wyoming. Her first job at UW was working with documents, maps, and microforms. From there, she went to the geology library before moving into a position in outreach services, working with distance students and conducting training.

That last role made her a perfect fit when the State Library hired her in 1998 to train librarians across the state on the WYLD databases. Initially, her job took her on the road to visit all types of libraries. Over the years, the training has shifted primarily to webinars.

What has been the best part of the past 35 years? “There have been a lot of bests,” she said.

Teaching With the Library of Congress: Memorial Day Traditions

Strewing the graves with garlands of flowers, Decoration Day, Manila, P.I., c1900. From the Library of Congress online collections.

Strewing the graves with garlands of flowers, Decoration Day, Manila, P.I., c1900. From the Library of Congress online collections.

From the Library of Congress

Originally, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day, and it honored only the Civil War dead. The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog says:

In 1868, John Logan, the Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union veterans, issued an order designating May 30th as a memorial day. He said this day should be for the purpose of “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Logan also asked that we guard their graves so that future generations can remember the cost of a free and undivided republic.

The Library of Congress has a treasure trove of primary sources online that tie into Memorial Day. Students can use these to learn how Memorial Day has been observed in the past. Learn more from the Library of Congress.

June is GLBT Book Month

glbtrtJune is GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, this occasion is an opportunity for book lovers and libraries with the very best in GLBT literature.

Learn more, find reading lists, and download the poster and bookmark at

GLBT Book Month™ is an initiative of the American Library Association, and is coordinated through its Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.

Wyoming Newspapers Adds First Foreign-Language Titles

GridoWyoming Newspapers has added its first foreign-language titles to the online collection with two historic newspapers from Rock Springs: Grido Del Popolo (The Cry of the People) and Vita Nuova (New Life). Available issues date between 1907 and 1909 and are freely available to anyone with an internet connection at

VitaRock Springs is known as the “Home of 56 Nationalities,” because of the influx of immigrants from all over the world who came to work in the coal mines that supplied the Union Pacific Railroad.

“These two papers reflect the diversity of the Rock Springs community and of Wyoming,” said Thomas Ivie, research and statistics librarian at the Wyoming State Library. “We’re grateful to the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center Archives for loaning these to us and allowing us to digitize these rare Wyoming newspapers.”

Wyoming Newspapers is a service of the Wyoming State Library that makes historic Wyoming newspapers available online. Historians, genealogists, students and other scholars rely on them to provide a first-hand and sometimes the only account of local news of the time.

“We hope our visitors have fun making their own discoveries in this great historical newspaper collection that will continue to grow over time,” Ivie said.

For those who’d like to explore these newspapers, but don’t speak Italian, text can be copied and pasted into any online translator for an approximation in English.

newspapers-graphicWyoming Newspapers includes over 330 historic Wyoming newspaper titles, the earliest of which is the Chugg Water Journal from 1849. Around 800,000 newspaper pages have been converted from microfilm and paper to a digital format. Anyone with an interest in history, whether local, territorial, state of Wyoming, regional, national, and international, can search by keyword or browse by specified towns or counties, on certain dates, or by a specific title from any computer, tablet, or smart phone. The text is searchable, including news articles, news briefs, obituaries, and other items of interest.

Heart Mountain Photos Available from Densho Digital Repository

Heart Mountain concentration camp teachers

“Heart Mountain concentration camp teachers” (ddr-densho-152-10). Courtesy of the Evelyn Dell Collection. Retrieved from Used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Densho Digital Repository has made available a number of photographs from the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, established during World War II to confine Japanese-Americans. The facility was located between Cody and Powell, Wyo. According to the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center:

Over the course of the three years it existed as a War Relocation Authority (WRA) facility, from August 1942 to November 1945, some 14,000 incarcerees passed through the confinement camp. Many were destined to stay within its barbed wire confines the entire time. At its peak, the population was 10,767.

Many of the photographs are either licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For many others, the copyright holder has made them available for non-commercial, educational projects.

The Heart Mountain images are among many resources from the Densho Digital Repository. The site offers thousands of historic photographs, documents, newspapers, letters, and other primary source materials that tell the story of the Japanese American community. Learn more at

For more information on Wyoming’s Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, visit

First spotted on Open Culture.



Teens’ Top Ten Public Nominations Open

Fremont County Library - Lander

Fremont County Library – Lander

Now that teens are getting ready to crack open the latest book for summer reading, they should know they can now nominate their favorite titles to be considered as a 2017 Teens’ Top Ten nominee.

Fremont County Library - Lander

Fremont County Library – Lander

Teens can submit a book title now through December 31, 2016 to be included in the pool of the 2017 nominee candidates. For books to be eligible for consideration, they must be published between January 1– December 31, 2016.

Submit a suggested title via the public nomination form.

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted the Thursday of National Library Week. For more information, visit the  YALSA Teens’ Top Ten page.

See the 2016 picks in this video:

New Library Privacy Guidelines for K-12 Students from ALA

This month, the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee approved a new document, “Library Privacy Guidelines for Students in K-12 Schools.” The document, which surveys the state of students’ privacy in K-12 schools, provides guidance for school libraries and educational institutions seeking to protect students’ privacy, both while online and while reading or engaging in research.

“School librarians not only defend student privacy, they also work to educate students, parents, teachers, and school administrators about the tenets of privacy,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “These guidelines will provide the crucial guidance and information they need as leaders and advocates for students’ privacy in a time when new technologies are enabling greater collection and use of student data.”

The guidelines are now available online on the ALA website. Questions and comments may be directed to Deborah Caldwell-Stone in the Office for Intellectual Freedom at

Summer Reading by the Numbers

On Your Mark_EL purple01

As June approaches, libraries around the state are kicking off their 2016 summer reading programs with sports-related themes: “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” for children, “Get in the Game,” for teens, and “Exercise Your Mind” for adults. The State Library has put together a Summer Reading 2016 resource guide for libraries to use.

In 2015, more than 24,000 children and 6,000 adults participated in a summer reading program at a Wyoming public library. In June, July, and August, the circ desk sees a 13% monthly average jump from the rest of the year.

Do you have an innovative program planned for summer reading that you’d like to share? Send it to Susan Mark at