A Newsletter with History

By Faye D. Fischer

The Utah State Library newsletter has a history that spans over 62 years. The newsletter is a journey in ever advancing technology. Going from a hand drawn banner printed and stapled together, to a bound edition using the best computer graphics the 80s had to offer, to a pdf electronic file, to an email format delivered right to your inbox!

The first Utah State Library newsletter was called Horsefeathers. A slang term meaning utter nonsense. And while current library employees cannot determine why our predecessors chose that name, we appreciate the sarcasm.* It was started in 1959 and ran until 1987. The banner for the newsletter was created by hand and includes beautiful calligraphy and a hand drawn horse (see banner above, and appearing from time to time in our publications). The articles include information and updates from libraries around the state. Can you find your library in the pages? Check out the digital collection.

The next edition of the newsletter was a change of direction. Directions for Utah Libraries ran from 1987-2006. It was professionally produced, printed, and distributed in the mail. It takes a more meta approach to the role of the State Library in the library community with long form articles, statistics, and a comprehensive events calendar. The digital collection contains editions from 1998-2006.

When the internet was newish, the State Library also posted on online technology guide that listed websites of interest for libraries. It was called Ferret, because a ferret was an active and persistent searcher.  This blast from the past is also a digital collection.

The USL Quarterly is the most recent edition of the newsletter running from 2016-2022. This was the first digitally created and distributed newsletter and is the most visually interesting, with bright colors and photographs! The USL Quarterly is also available as a digital collection.

We hope you enjoy the newest version of the Utah State Library newsletter. The USL Update will hit your inbox monthly and will contain the most up to date library information and provide access to valuable digital content.

Of special interest:

 The monthly Book Buzz newsletter available on our website.

The See Note, the quarterly newsletter for the Utah State Library for the Blind. Archived here, with current editions available on the Utah State Library for the Blind’s blog.

* A former library employee, Linda Roholt wrote in and gave us some information about why Horsefeathers was selected for the newsletter. She reported that RuthAnn Hanson, a State Library employee for over 45 year told her that it was inspired by the original location of the library in a building that once served as the stables/coach house on the Governor’s Mansion property. You can read more in the the following sources.

Utah State Library 50th Anniversary

Utah State Library Bits & Pieces