During his 35-year career at the University of Wyoming, retiring President Tom Buchanan has accumulated a large and wide-ranging personal collection of books.

As Buchanan cleans out his office in Old Main before his last day on the job June 28, a good number of volumes in his library have found a new home.

Buchanan is donating several hundred of his books to the Meeteetse Branch Library of the Park County Library System. The books will help replenish the library’s collection after a sprinkler system malfunction damaged more than 5,000 books in February.

“I’m happy to send these along so that others can enjoy them,” says Buchanan who, as president, has been known to regularly give books to colleagues and encourage them to read the volumes. “Reading is such an important part of a well-rounded life, and a library is at the heart of any community.”

The Meeteetse Library lost about 20 percent of its collection when a malfunctioning heating unit set off the sprinklers for about 10 minutes Feb. 24, librarian Valerie Doyle says. Since then, the library in the town of 332 people has received hundreds of donated items without having to dip into its insurance money to renew the collection.

The books being donated by Buchanan are classic works of fiction and nonfiction, including history, philosophy, social commentary and biographies of contemporary international leaders.

“I haven’t seen the books yet, but I assume anything from his collection will be a great addition to our collection,” Doyle says. “To me, it’s really neat that he thought of us.”

Before becoming president in 2005, Buchanan’s UW career included serving as a faculty member and head of the Department of Geography, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and provost and vice president for academic affairs. Among his major initiatives as president has been improving facilities, resources and the collections of UW’s library system.

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