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A Note from the Dean

April 27, 2020

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Ivan Gaetz

Since publishing our fall 2019, Newsletter, it’s no overstatement to say we have experienced tectonic shifts for UW Libraries, the University, the State of Wyoming, the country as a whole, and indeed, the world! We have entered a new reality, at least for the next several months and perhaps well into next year.

COVID-19

Due to the Coronavirus health crisis, since mid-March, the University has closed to students and the general public. All classes have moved online and all University meetings and events have been canceled or made available via Zoom.  Because UW Libraries anticipated some of these changes even in February, we were prepared to transition quite well to remote services and resources. We quickly ramped up scanning operations for print materials not available for purchase online, and delivered them electronically to faculty rushing to set up online courses. Scanning is also available to faculty for their own research and to students as needed. Our skilled team has also “ripped” videos for online access.  

Most of our employees transitioned to work from home in order to provide library services remotely to students and faculty. Our Libraries’ Employee Support Committee developed ways for our employees to support each other and remain connected while physically apart. 

As Wyoming and other states begin to ease isolation and stay-at-home orders, the University has developed a method to map out various policies for opening the campus bit by bit.  In conjunction with this, UW Libraries is developing various scenarios for expanding more access to print materials. 

In reopening campus, the top priority will be the safety of our employees. We are mandated by the UW Board of Trustees to do everything possible to ensure folks at UW remain healthy while still ready to serve.

Spring Meetings of Library Council and the Library Development Board

Typically, during the spring semester, our Library Council and Library Development Board meet in Coe Library earlier and later in April, respectively.  These meetings occurred via Zoom for the Council and through email for the Board. While we all miss in-person interactions, our business still gets done.  For instance, the Board will continue its discussion of the “Author Event” as we reassess its purpose and future. Options have been presented to the Board for their consideration. 

New Appointments

Since the beginning of 2020, we have been able to replace or fill newly reconstructed positions. These include:

  • Everett Gaither, Office Assistant, Sr., to help manage administrative responsibilities (February 10)

  • Sabrina Heuschkel, Library Assistant, Sr., to help process library acquisitions (March 9)

  • Susan Wynne, Discovery & Metadata Librarian, assisting in our Resource Discovery and Management Division (April 16)

  • David Brown, Regional Medical Librarian, assisting in library services to medical units state-wide (May 1)

  • Jennifer Strayer, Collection Development Librarian, assisting in the Resource Discovery and Management Division (May 26).

We are delighted to have these skilled employees join our UW Libraries team. Welcome!

Donor Support

Special thanks are extended to our wonderful donors who continue to support UW Libraries and the University as a whole.  Not only do their financial contributions help us do what we could not do otherwise to ensure quality higher education at UW, their support truly bolsters morale and inspires all to do their best, especially as we face various financial uncertainties.


I have to say, during this COVID-19 health crisis, our amazing UW Libraries team has really stepped up and met the challenges.  Moving fully to online service and resources occurred very well; librarians now respond to and reach out to students and faculty on a daily basis, and we look forward to the completion of the semester. However, we all still miss the energy and excitement that students bring to our libraries—on average, 2,000 visits per day. We look forward to the fall when our library users physically return.    

In the meantime, best wishes for spring and summer, 2020!

Ivan Gaetz
Dean of Libraries 

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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