The Laramie County Library Board of Directors is pleased to announce the next Executive Director (County Librarian) of the Laramie County Library System, Antonia Gaona. Antonia attended college at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she majored in political science and economics. She paid her way through college by working at the library. She worked in many roles, gaining both a deep passion for public service and an appreciation for free access to information. On the precipice of attending law school after graduation, she realized her true calling was library work. She changed course and attended graduate school at the University of Denver, where she graduated with honors with a Master of Library and Information Science.
July’s Book Discussion read was Chilean author Isabel Allende’s debut novel The House of the Spirits. Though the book neither directly names any historical figures nor specifies where it’s set, it’s widely recognized as a political and social allegory relating the circumstances leading up to the 1973 military coup in which Augusto Pinochet seized political power from Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. President Allende was the first cousin of Isabel Allende’s father and the author was living and working in Chile at the time of the coup. She was forced to flee to Venezuela after helping targets of political assassination escape Chile. It was during this time of asylum that she wrote The House of the Spirits.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2023 Summer Reading Challenge! Readers logged over 209,000 days of reading this year and over 4,900 people completed the Challenge. We will post the first names and last initials of drawing prize winners by Tuesday, August 18. Anyone whose name was drawn will be contacted directly via the contact information provided during sign up. We hope to see everyone back for next year’s Summer Reading Challenge! In the meantime, keep an eye out for other reading challenges and check out our monthly event calendars for all the fun stuff happening at your library.
To review a list of our youth, teen, adult, and treasure chest drawing prize winners, please click here. Anyone whose name was drawn will be contacted directly via the contact information provided during sign up.
June’s book discussion read was Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, which follows the lives of three women caught up in a series of events set in motion on the first day of pre-school orientation and culminating in a disastrous school sponsored trivia night months later. Though it can be a difficult read as it shines a harsh light on the realities of domestic violence, bullying, and sexual abuse, the book is, at times, genuinely funny and charming. Much of its charm is due to Madeline Mackenzie, who functions almost as a trickster figure in her role as one of the three main characters.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant is the first novel in the Schuyler Sisters series and the third novel published by perennial best-selling author Beatriz Williams. Stanford educated and a self-professed history buff, Williams worked in the corporate world before devoting her life to writing. Williams’ novels generally fall into the genre of historical fiction with a bit of mystery and romance added to the mix. This is exactly what we find as we follow the parallel stories of Violet Grant in 1914 and her grandniece, Vivian Schuyler, in 1964.
Laramie County Library will host a public reception in the Cottonwood Room from 10am to 12pm on Saturday, July 1 to honor Carey Hartmann as she retires from her position as County Librarian. Having served the library for over 42 years, Carey’s leadership, vision, and experience have helped shape the organization into the outstanding community resource that it is today. Members of the public are invited to attend and celebrate all Carey has done to further the library’s mission to “be a hub for engagement, literacy and learning, and lifelong curiosity and discovery.” The reception will feature refreshments prepared by The Library Café and live musical entertainment performed by the Bluegrass band Pickin Up the Holler. A presentation of remarks from community stakeholders will begin at 10:30am. The event is free and open to all.
Carey began her career with the library in November 1980 when she joined the organization’s Children’s Division. She continued working in positions of increasing responsibility before ultimately being appointed as the County Librarian in August of 2015. She holds a Master of Library Science degree from University of Arizona and has served the library profession through her roles with the American Library Association, Wyoming Library Association, and other committees and organizations.
Her impact on Laramie County Library System is tremendous. Carey led the library through the COVID-19 pandemic, balancing the need to provide vital community services with a dedication to protecting employees and community members. She played a pivotal role in successfully opening the new library building in 2007 and has tirelessly worked to expand the innovative services offered in the Cheyenne, Burns, and Pine Bluffs libraries and on the bookmobile.
The Laramie County Library System congratulates Carey on an incredible career and looks forward to celebrating her achievements at the public reception on July 1.
Laramie County Library System is partnering with the NAACP 4108 Cheyenne Chapter to celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday, June 17 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The Bookmobile will be at the event to provide information on genealogy resources, library card sign-up, Summer Reading Challenge registration, and more! In celebration of Juneteenth, Ambreia Meadows-Fernandez, an award-winning local journalist and one of the upcoming event’s organizers, wrote a blog post about our nation’s newest federal holiday and provided some great recommendations for further reading on Black culture, identity, and history by Black authors. Enjoy Ambreia’s powerful insights and check out her reading recommendations today!
On Thursday, May 18, Melanie Hornbeck, Laramie County Library System’s Outreach Librarian, received the Carol Mead Leaders in Literacy Award. Dr. Kimberly Gustafson, Director of the University of Wyoming’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic, presented the award to Melanie in front of an adoring group of fans, the kindergarten classes at Afflerbach Elementary School.
Laramie County Library System’s Board of Directors has announced that after over 42 years of remarkable service to the organization, County Librarian and Executive Director Carey Hartmann will retire from Laramie County Library System, effective July 1, 2023. Having served as the library’s Executive Director for nearly eight years, Carey’s leadership, vision, and experience helped shape the organization into the outstanding community resource that it is today.
During the month of February, Laramie County Library’s Cheyenne Book Discussion Group read The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. A work of historical fiction featuring a Black main character and written by a Black author, the novel was chosen to coincide with Black History Month. The book follows the adventures of young Henry Shackleford, a Kansas slave boy who finds himself tangled up with abolitionist John Brown’s ragtag army during the turbulent period in American history known as Bleeding Kansas. Today, the events of Bleeding Kansas along with John Brown’s failed Harpers Ferry armory raid, and his subsequent execution, are recognized as precursors to the American Civil War.