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SLIM Alumni Newsletter - March 2021

March 2021

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September 2020

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June 2020

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March 2020

SLIM Alumni Newsletter - December 2019

December 2019

SLIM Alumni Newsletter- June 2019

June 2019

SLIM Alumni Newsletter- March 2019

March 2019

Dan and Peggy Neal

On Friday July 22, 1994 at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, Dan Syljuberget, (SLIM, North Dakota, 1996), then from South Dakota, sat in the back corner of the classroom during the first hour of LI 803, Information Transfer and the Diffusion of Knowledge. Peggy Neal (SLIM, North Dakota, 1996) from Winnipeg, Manitoba walked into the class. Due to her work schedule, she was late for class, so she quietly tiptoed around the perimeter of the room to the back of the class, careful to not distract the professor, Dr. Roger Wyatt. She sat down in one of the few remaining empty seats in the classroom, which happened to be next to Dan. During the break Dan and Peggy introduced themselves to each other and that was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship. They ended up sitting next to each other in every class they had throughout the entire Masters program.

After several years of attending classes, partnering on many projects, and studying together for many tests, Dan gave Peggy a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s "Rumours," as a token of his friendship and his way of saying he wanted to continue the friendship beyond their December 1996 graduation.

Their friendship grew through the following years with exchanges of Christmas cards, letters, and emails. In spite of the many job changes, moves to different states and provinces, and life experiences, they continued to maintain their friendship from a distance through written correspondences – until they decided to meet face-to-face during the summer of 2014. They had not seen each other face to face since their last class together 18 years earlier. They met in Lethbridge, Alberta, and as soon as they saw each other, they knew they were going to be more than just friends. Dan was surprised to learn 18 years later that Peggy had kept the Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" tape all those years. By the time Dan returned to Wyoming and Peggy arrived back in Winnipeg, they knew they wanted to share their lives together.

Peggy and Dan spent considerable quality time together after their meeting in Lethbridge. In 2015, they drove through eleven states and three provinces, totaling over 6000 miles. Conversations were rich and on a variety of topics. They rarely turned on the stereo. Although Dan lived in Wyoming and Peggy lived in Manitoba, they traveled together to meet each others’ family and friends while making their wedding plans.

Dan and Peggy married on July 3, 2016 in the Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden on the US/Canada International border. Peggy entered the chapel to "Songbird," a song from Fleetwood Mac’s "Rumours." With Dan standing on the North Dakota side of the border and Peggy on the Manitoba side, they exchanged their vows.

Dan and Peggy tied the knot

On their first anniversary, in 2017, Dan moved from Wyoming to a small town in North Dakota, to accept a job just south of the International border and only two hours from Peggy in Winnipeg. Currently, Peggy is in the process of sponsoring Dan into Canada.

Dan earned his doctorate in Adult and Higher Education/Educational Administration from the University of South Dakota in May 2010. He has been an educator in Wyoming and South Dakota for nearly 30 years in both the K-12 and college settings. His nonfiction autobiographical book, Drifting Yukon: Living in Two Worlds with Yup’ik Eskimo Salmon Hunters was published in 2016 and is available on Amazon. Peggy was the final editor for Dan’s book. Additionally, Dan edits books for other writers.

After SLIM, Peggy earned an MBA from Athabasca University. She presently is a business librarian for the Entrepreneurship Manitoba and owns her own records management consulting business. Additionally, she teaches library and records management courses for Red River College, and has delivered presentations internationally on mitigating risks to records.

SLIM Director of Sioux Falls Recognized by Sioux City Journal!

From Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal:

Helen Rigdon started last month as the new director of the Sioux City Public Library. Rigdon grew up in Coffeyville, Kansas, and most recently worked as a branch manager at the Public Library in Wichita, Kansas. Growing up on a dairy farm in rural Kansas, Helen Rigdon savored the weekly trips she would take into the nearby town of Coffeyville with her mother during the summer months, because they typically meant a stop at the public library. "We'd go down to the kids area, and we would be down there, and I just loved it," she said. "I read every book I could, practically." Even in those early years, Rigdon remembers wanting to someday work at a library. Today, after holding a handful of positions at libraries in Kansas and Missouri, Rigdon has taken the helm of the public library system in Sioux City. Rigdon, 57, started Oct. 9 as director of the system, which includes three branches, a $3 million operating budget and more than 210,000 physical books and recordings.

She succeeds Betsy Thompson, who retired in August after 22 years as director and a total of 35 within the library system. Rigdon's most recent position was as a branch manager at the Wichita, Kansas, Public Library. But she said she's glad to be in a director's position again and in a city more the size of Sioux City. "I think you get to know your patrons more," she said of Sioux City's size. "You get to make, I feel, a bigger change because you have that direct (contact). You're not so removed from the everyday business." Rigdon's childhood plans to become a librarian sat on the back burner for a few years. It was 20 years ago, in 1997, that she began working toward her childhood career goal, completing her undergraduate degree through a Friends University program in Coffeyville and then studying library science at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.

Rigdon would spend time working at Coffeyville Community College and Wichita Area Technical College before moving back to Coffeyville, where she earned her first experience as director of a public library. She then was hired in Kansas City, Kansas, as a branch manager at the public library system and was then promoted to assistant manager, where she was in charge of budgeting. Rigdon then worked for three years as director of the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson, Missouri, then moved to Wichita, where she served as a branch manager. Helen Rigdon, the new Sioux City Public Library director, stands in the children's section at the Wilbur Aalfs Library in downtown Sioux City. Rigdon said she was inspired to be a librarian while visiting her hometown library as a child.

Sioux City Library Board of Trustees president Rick Moon told the Journal that Rigdon's "impeccable credentials" and variety of experience helped her stand out from other applicants during the screening and interview process. "Of equal importance, we found that she has a good sense of humor," Moon said in an email. "We all agreed that this combination will aid her in the difficult tasks of leading the library staff, as well as ensuring the Sioux City Library system meets the needs of the community for the years to come." Rigdon said she believes she inherited a solid staff from Thompson and looks forward to working on the challenges ahead.

As libraries and technology continue to change, she said she feels the next few years will involve continued decisions for the library to help "bridging the digital divide" -- offering ebook, audiobook and music downloads for internet users while providing free internet and educating others how to use new technology. She said promoting children's reading initiatives, such as the library's 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, will also remain important. "I just think we have to keep being very relevant to the community, and just make sure that everyone knows what we have," she said. "I hear a lot of 'I didn't know the library did that,' and so I think just getting that out there, doing a lot of outreach."

The library also will be seeking funding through a mix of city dollars and private fundraising to repair the aging Morningside Branch Library, which faces a possible $1.65 million in facility upgrades. A 2016 study deemed $1.2 million of those fixes as "critical," among them heating and cooling, plumbing and power issues. "We’re still hoping to move ahead with it and at least get the necessary things done," Rigdon said. "They said it’s probably got another 15 or 20 years, the building. It’s a good location and there’s plenty of free parking." Rigdon has two sons -- one who works as a tech analyst and consultant for Charles Schwab in Phoenix, and another who lives in New York and works in stage management for opera companies. In her spare time, she said she enjoys reading books -- she's a fan of thrillers -- along with cross-stitching and collecting antiques.

Isabel Soto-Luna, National Library of Medicine Visit

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), located in Bethesda, MD, is part of the National Institutes of Health and is the largest biomedical library in the world: “NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology. In addition, the Library coordinates a 6,000-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) that promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States.” Colorado is within the Midcontinental Region of the NNLM, which also services Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming.

As large as their network is, the NLM through the NNLM, has been concentrating on reaching the general public to bring them public health information. Most recently, the NLM has been making a concerted effort to work with public libraries. In doing this, they have been funding public health initiatives (through,) including programs like the “Get Healthy” initiative done by the Sand Creek Library last year. Their website has various examples of programs that have been funded through the NNLM and that have included support to buy technology for the organizations (

The most current initiative (which has not been announced to the public) is a partnership with the Public Library Association that will aim to recruit 1 million people for a research study. The goal is to have the 1 million people match the demographic makeup of the United States in order to track health trends among different groups including those with diverse backgrounds, and those living in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Part of the initiative will include health education for the public. The hope is that the program will be run through public libraries and funding is being provided through IMLS.

Another method that is being used to reach the public is social media. Through the Outreach and Special Populations Department, they have come up with a social media standards policy that is used by their work study and intern students to create content. The work study students or interns are of high school and early college age and are instrumental in helping create content that is relevant to social media users but remains related to NLM’s overall message and mission. The Hootsuite dashboard is used to manage all of the social media posts and schedule the content that was created by the students. The use of interns and work study students have allowed them to engage in Twitter chats that allow the public to ask health questions in real time, and receive answers in real time. As the name suggests, this department is in charge of initiatives that include special populations. Their most recent initiative entitle “Native Voices” is a compilation of recorded stories from Native Americans about the ways in which their own traditional medicine has affected their lives, their culture, and their overall health. While initially only meant to record the traditional medicines of Native Americans, it turned into a recording of the importance of traditions and cultures.

The “Native Voices” exhibit is just one of many that are available to the public through the Exhibition Program of the NLM, part of the History of Medicine department. It is available online and as a traveling exhibit that public organizations can request free of charge. The only caveats to having an exhibit is that they have to be available to the public free of charge and the only cost to the organizations is paying the shipping, one way, to send the exhibit to the next organization on the list. The exhibits are very popular and availability is limited. Through their website, they make available various training and educational resources about medicinal history that can help with programming in any public organization. As mentioned above, many of the exhibits are available online, and some are only online due to the nature and fragility of the items shown (

Exhibits are not the only initiative being worked on by the History of Medicine Department. They are currently working on a huge project that involves web archiving: tracking websites and social media content regarding health, what and how health information is being disseminated online (i.e. ebola, AIDS, sika, opioids, etc.), and the role of social media in clinical trials. They are not just cataloguing the past, but also keeping track on the present for future use.

Through their training portal, NLM offers various resources for public libraries and other public organizations to help get information to the people that need it the most. The majority of these resources are free of charge.

Overall, the visit to the National Library of Medicine was a wonderful experience that really taught me what outreach could be in the big picture. While outreach is often thought of as something that is only happening at the lower level in public libraries, the truth is that there are different levels of outreach that allow for various organizations to work together and make a bigger impact for the public. There are a lot of ways to disseminate information, and the NLM is finding new and creative ways of bringing in other organizations to ensure that the public is being served.

Erin McCusker, New UCSLD Director

The Board of the Umatilla County Special Library District is very pleased to announce that it has hired Erin McCusker as its new Library Director. McCusker has extensive experience in a variety of library service fields. Starting her library career in 1992, she spent 11 years in the Boise Basin Library District in Idaho, becoming its Director in 1997. She was proactive in working to build partnerships to improve library services throughout the district. She also worked with her peer directors in Idaho to expand opportunities for group purchasing and other shared benefits. McCusker then moved into the position of Library Consultant for the Idaho Commission for Libraries in Boise; she was a member of a vital team supporting library development to improve services in local communities through in-person consulting, training and grant writing support. She worked for seven years at the Commission for Libraries before moving on to Flagstaff Arizona when her husband was transferred with the Forest Service. In Arizona she worked at the main branch of the Flagstaff City – Coconino County Public Library as an adult and youth services librarian for a year before becoming a branch supervisor. The UCSLD Board recognizes this variety of library experience as excellent background for working collaboratively with the independent libraries in UCSLDs federated governance structure for their mutual benefit. McCusker received her BS in Secondary Education from Idaho State University and earned her MLS in 2004 from Emporia State University. She and her husband have settled in Pendleton, where they love the community and the beautiful Eastern Oregon area. McCusker has worked in Pendleton for a private firm in records management for the past three years. She is very happy to be back in libraries serving the public.

Formed in 1986 and governed by a five-member voter-elected Board of Directors, the Umatilla County Special Library District (UCSLD) is an independent taxing district funded by taxpayer dollars. UCSLD’s mission is to support the development of public libraries in Umatilla County to provide services, programs, and continuing educational opportunities to individuals of all ages, thereby strengthening their communities through individual, family, economic, and community development.

Congratulations to Esther Moberg and Lori Wamsley!

Esther Moberg, director of the Seaside Public Library, has been elected as the new vice president/president elect of the Oregon Library Association board. This marks the beginning of her three year term. Likewise, Loria Wamsley, director of Lane Community College Library and a national adjunct faculty member of ESU SLIM, has been elected as the new treasurer of the OLA board. This will begin her two year term. Both librarians are ESU SLIM alums.


MASON CITY, IA – (APRIL 17, 2017) The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) announces Luke Kralik as its new Organizational Coordinator.

Kralik brings a wealth of leadership experience and an understanding of different library systems to the organization. His previous job was as the library director of the Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon. He also served as the college librarian at the Tillamook Bay Community College, Tillamook, Oregon, as well as a reference librarian at the Tillamook County Library and at the Jackson County Library in Medford, Oregon. His experience as a school librarian at the Sacred Heart Elementary School in Medford, Oregon, gave him firsthand experience running a summer reading program.

Kralik will oversee all aspects of projects for CSLP, including contracts, strategic plans, online manual development, rules of use, membership support and the creation of an online storefront, among other things. This full-time position will begin June 1, 2017 but prior to that, Kralik will work with the CSLP Board of Directors, its multiple committee chairs and vendors on a part-time basis laying the foundation for the June transition.

“When I was notified I had been chosen for the position I literally jumped in the air! I was truly inspired by the passion and dedication the members demonstrated at the recent CSLP Annual Meeting,” enthused Kralik. “It is an honor to have been selected as the CSLP's Organizational Coordinator. I cannot wait to begin working with all of the members!"

Founded in 1987, CSLP is a consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children, teens, and adults at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries. CSLP’s 2017 summer reading theme, “Build a Better World,” is available at public libraries across the country for all ages from children to adults.

“We’re thrilled to have Luke join the CSLP team as our organizational coordinator,” said Sharon Rawlins, President of CSLP. “We believe that Luke’s experience working with many different committees in various library settings, paired with his enthusiasm and warm personality, is the perfect match for CSLP. His ability and willingness to work with the board and CSLP members, and his energy and evident passion for literacy and technology will enable us to reach new heights of success.”

To learn more about CSLP, or how you can get involved with its summer reading program at your local public library visit

About CSLP

The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is a national non-profit organization composed of volunteers who create, produce, and provide public libraries with high-quality summer reading materials for children, teens, and adults across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and the Mariana Islands. To learn more about CSLP and its mission please visit

Raina Sedore, SLIM alumna, helps kids connect with reading.

"Every book has a reader, and every reader has a book," according to Raina Sedore, a youth services librarian at Lacey Timberland Library. A graduate of the SLIM program, Raina has worked as a full-time librarian since 2008. Using music, theater, art, and laughter, Raina has great success in showing children that reading can be a joy.

Along with working at the public library, Raina also fosters relationships with area schools, meeting monthly with local teacher-librarians. “The teacher-librarians in our schools are passionate, driven, intelligent people who love working with the kids in their schools. I’m very proud of the relationships and partnerships we’ve built with each of them to effectively serve our community,” she says. Working with schools and visiting them to promote the library's resources and services makes a huge difference in helping them to choose reading.

Raina describes how she views her role in the library: “As a public librarian, I get to open up new worlds to kids every day. Books can be windows into the lives of people who live differently than you. Books can also mirror your experience to help you feel less alone. Every kid – every person – should have both kinds of stories available to them. And my job is to make sure that happens!”