After a day of up-and-down hills and moderate winds, we arrived in Lander, Wyoming, around 1:30 pm. Lander has a thriving downtown featuring three coffee shops, two outdoor stores, and the headquarters of the wilderness education school, NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). After grabbing some coffee and checking out the bicycle shop, we headed to the Lander Public Library, a branch of the Fremont County Library system.
When we arrived, we met Anita (Lander Manager) and Terry (Library Staff). Anita was kind enough to spend almost an hour with us, telling us about the town of Lander (population 7400), the library, and giving us a behind-the-scenes tour of the original Carnegie section of the library. The Carnegie library was completed in 1907, with two additions, one in 1977 and the second in 2009. Each addition kept some of the best details of the previous building(s), creating a beautiful meld of three different architectural styles. The Carnegie section is now used as a public performance space and houses the Friends of the Library’s perpetual book sale, known as the “Book Nook” (with an additional location downtown). The library has four meeting spaces available to the community and is booked over 100 times a year.
Lander Public Library sees a lot of bicycle tourists passing through as well as many tourists on their way to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. They also have many people that live seasonally in the area to attend a camp, work, or enjoy a summer-long rental. The wifi is available 24 hours-a-day, inside and outside the building (with benches provided).
Like many libraries in Wyoming, Lander Public Library has recently experienced some budget cuts that resulted in lower staffing levels and a reduction in the programming budget. Faced with the budget cuts, Landers Public Library is collaborating with other community and non-profit groups to create and support library programming. The Wind River Farm to Plate non-profit organization provides the Seed Library at the Lander Public Library and offers free workshops. The local radio station, KDLY, has featured Anita a number of times on their ‘Coffee Time’ morning program to promote the library. Lander Parks and Recreation presented a $6,000 grant to help support the Summer Reading Program and the Library Friends group raised $12,000 (with matching funds of $12,000) through the Lander Community Foundation’s Challenge for Charities.
And my favorite library program was the Bike-to-Work event on Wednesday, June 27. Supported by donations from the local bike and sport stores, patrons that rode their bikes to the library received a small gift, had their photo taken, and were entered into the drawing for larger bicycle-related prizes. Another example of libraries connected with bicycles!!
Our thanks to Anita and the staff of Lander Public Library. A beautiful town that loves their library!