The Library Commons

by Mary O. Fumento
April 2010

“The Commons” – an idea and place – that has been around for centuries traditionally refers to aspects of the environment (rivers, forests, etc.) that the community at large owns and all persons can use and benefit from. 

More recently, the commons has been described as “public goods” such as public parks, education, and libraries.  There are private benefits to individuals who use these public services, but there is also a public benefit to society at large. The sum is greater than the parts.

The public benefits that libraries provide can be seen across the nation, Wyoming, and locally in Worland.

Libraries across the Nation

In New York City the public library is initiating an “It’s never too late to start reading” campaign that provides volunteer tutors to adult mired in illiteracy and no longer willing to accept it. In impoverished parts of Baltimore, Maryland, the city library is working with the health department to provide easier access to healthy eating via the “Virtual Supermarket Project.”  Their arrangement allows people to order groceries online at two branch- libraries and pick them up the next day with no delivery charge.

The Wyoming State Library
The State Library’s WYLD Shared Purchases committee listened to feedback gathered from the Fall 2009 Needs Assessment survey.  In that survey, one of the top three requests for database additions was Gale Legal Forms.

The Shared Purchases Committee is happy to announce that Wyoming now has statewide access to the Legal Forms product, as a result of Wyoming library staff feedback.  This database was purchased with the shared purchases fund created by the public libraries and UW.  The contract begins today and will continue until June 30, 2011.

Find marketing materials and more about Gale Legal Forms here:

Do you have students with a health issue looking for information or a school report to write?  Are there patrons coming into your library needing information regarding a medical procedure or something they saw on the news?
There are 13 databases listed under Health & Medicine on the GoWYLD databases page. (

Washakie County Library System

One way the library system works to improve Washakie County is by forging new alliances with other local groups to promote the library commons.  Recently, PBS sponsored a “Clifford the Big Red Dog” program to encourage young readers (Thanks to Pepsi for providing drinks for the event!) 

Over the spring and summer, watch for partnerships with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Boys & Girls Club and VISTA’s Raising Readers.  We are also planning on utilizing an Americorps program called 55+ to bring people back into the workforce and hone new skills.

On April 30 at 4 p.m. the library will sponsor a free presentation by Bill Rossiter.  His presentation -- “Stories, Songs and Sodbusters” – will explore the songs of the homesteaders in the western United States.  The presentation will be at the Worland library location, 1019 Coburn Ave.

Special Finds: Take a Peek

The web site Old Magazine Articles -- URL -- focuses mostly on pre-1922 events/materials but but there are some post-1922 items too.

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