November 1, 2022
Dean of Libraries
The summer and fall months at UW Libraries proved to be rather interesting. On the
challenging side, we finished off August with a rare and shocking rain, hail, and
windstorm rarely seen in Laramie. Saturday the 27th brought a torrential storm to the downtown area and UW campus resulting in flooding
to at least 20 UW buildings over just a couple of hours. Streets in the area saw up
to 2 feet of water coursing through, and a small lake appeared between Coe Library
and Wyoming Union. Water poured into the lower floors of both buildings resulting
in significant damage to flooring and some drywall. Within hours, disaster experts
were on site with water vacuums and fans to begin mitigation. That weekend other units
on campus scrambled to find temporary space, including the UW Testing Center located
in Knight Hall. We quickly found space for them on the main level of Coe Library for
the fall semester. We hope all repairs will be completed later this fall.
Despite this weather surprise, UW Libraries moved forward with normal services and
programs attracting large numbers of students. Recent statistics show our gate count
at over 2,000 persons entering Coe Library per day, an increase of 20%+ over pre-pandemic
(2019) data. Our newly refurbished study and gathering spaces prove to be very popular!
We are delighted to welcome two library leaders to our UW Libraries team as adjunct
faculty. Our State Librarian, Jamie Markus, and State Archivist, Sara Davis, have
often worked with us on various projects and operations in recent years, so formally
adding them as adjuncts will help support their involvement with UW Libraries by widening
their access to resources and fostering communication. Past participation includes
collection development for state-wide access, grant development, digitization projects,
and promoting UW resources across the state. We look forward to even stronger partnerships
with state government.
Highlights over the past few months include UW Libraries co-hosting with Montana State
Libraries the, “Conversations on Collecting Yellowstone” conference in Bozeman, Montana.
About 200 scholars, historians, collectors, and the general public attended the 3-day
event capped off by a banquet with award-winning writer, television producer, and
historian, Dayton Duncan (the chief collaborator of PBS documentarian, Ken Burns).
This was followed by a 3-day tour of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, traveling
with top Yellowstone experts with fascinating stops and presentations en route. I don’t know if there could have been a better way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Yellowstone National Park!
Also important, though perhaps more prosaic, UW Libraries completed its self-study
this past August. This internal review and assessment covered all aspects of UW Libraries
operations, resources, personnel, and programming, and will now serve as a new benchmark
as we move forward with the University to embrace emerging challenges and opportunities
in higher education for Wyoming.
The self-study led to an external review of UW Libraries in September and October
consisting of an examination of most aspects of UW Libraries operations from the perspectives
of four library leaders from outside Wyoming. Library deans from Colorado, Utah, and
Tennessee visited the campus in mid-September to meet with stakeholders, faculty,
staff, and students to gather information. Their final report will be submitted to
the University before the Thanksgiving holiday.
These two assessment documents prepare UW Libraries for the next period in University-wide
strategic planning to unfold in 2023 and the coming years. UW Libraries most certainly
will play an important role as the vision comes more into focus and initiatives take
hold through bold, adventurous steps forward in higher education for the State of
Noted in our Spring Newsletter, UW Libraries, with partnerships across the country, were working to launch a new
scholarly, peer-reviewed, open-access online publication, the Journal of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education (JOERHE). Well, it has happened; the first issue has just been published! See this link for all information about the journal and free access to all journal
The “Schooner Wyoming” has been given a pride of place in Coe Library! Noted UW professor in political science and history, Francois Dickman, enjoyed a
remarkable hobby building intricate models of historic ships based on their construction
drawings and specifications, one of these being the Schooner Wyoming that plied the
waters of the Atlantic from 1909 to 1924. You can see the model on permanent display
on Coe Library Level 2, close to the Alma Doke McMurry Reading Room. Pick up a fine
brochure about the ship and its history. Thanks to the Dickman family for the donation
and their wonderful support of UW Libraries over the years.
Finally, should you like to keep up to date on events and information about UW Libraries,
I highly recommend the excellently produced Facebook postings appearing regularly.
Follow them by accessing: https://www.facebook.com/uwyolibraries/
Dean Ivan Gaetz