a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[October 2019 Vol. 37 Issue 5]

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-MLA President Mary Anne Hansen introduces this issue of FOCUS and discusses the role of outreach in the MSU land grant mission.

-Executive Director Debbi Kramer shares the most recent "Did You Know?"

Division and Committee News

-Cates Scholarship Winners, Christine Call and Elizabeth (Liz) Johnson

-MLA Awards and Honors Nominations OPEN

-MLA Fall Retreat is October 13-14: What is it and what can you expect?

-FOCUS co-editor Sarah Creech discusses "back to school" in the public library world and gives an update on the February 2019

Affiliate News

-New Statistics Reporting Tool (Montana State Library)

-Zoho Sharing Space (MSL)

-Montana Memory Project needs volunteers (MSL, MMP)

-MMP New collections (MSL, MMP)

-Self-Help Video Project from the State Law Library

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-Great Falls Public Library Fine Free Fun Run

-Humanities Montana Awards 2019 Montana Center for the Book Prize Winners Announced

-Banned Books Trivia: Keeping the Lights On in Bozeman!

-ImagineIF Releases New “Partners in Education” Web Resource


-Bitterroot PL Director’s photo featured on CJ Box Cover


-MT Magazine of Western History Emerging Scholar Article Contest

-New Content on Montana Historical Society Site

-December FOCUS submissions open


Hello Montana Library Community!

MSU is hopping with almost 17 thousand students on campus, and we realize that many of them come from Montana communities large and small, meaning that many of you are friends, relatives, acquaintances, or hometown librarians of MSU students. Earlier today, I had a research consultation with a wonderful young woman from Roundup who had wonderful things to say about her recently-retired hometown librarians, Dale and Tomi Alger! I agreed with everything she said! Just in the past six months, there have been multiple forums and meetings on campus, reminding MSU faculty and staff of the important outreach and partnership role that we at Montana’s land grant university serve and must continue to serve in order to fill our land grant mission and contribute to Montana’s continuing prosperity. One way that some of us at the MSU Library have worked to build partnerships over the past several years is through collaborations with K-12 librarians, public librarians, and other academic librarians to identify where we can work together to enhance the K-12 to college transition that Montana high school students face when leaving their hometowns and coming to MSU, UM, Great Falls College-MSU, Montana Tech, etc. How can we work together to identify and address both the strengths and gaps in information literacy, media literacy, digital literacy, critical thinking, and other essential skills to ensure that our Montana students succeed in higher education, vocational education, or direct entry into the workforce in whatever capacity? If you’re coming to our MLA Fall Retreat Oct. 13-14, join Jo Flick from the State Library and others in a discussion about this very topic – the Montana Information Literacy Alliance. School librarians, if you’ll be attending MFPE in Belgrade Oct. 18, join me and my colleague, Star Bradley, in a discussion about how we might partner to address students’ needs along this K-12 and beyond continuum. If any of you happen to visit the MSU campus any time soon, pop into the MSU Library and say hello! You can check out our new Virtual Discovery Space, as well as our partially-updated second floor where we’ve created more study spaces to meet some of the growing demand for more places to study solo or in groups in the library. Track me down, and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee at our Brewed Awakening coffee and snack bar!

Happy Fall!

Mary Anne Hansen, MLA President

Professor/Research Services Librarian, Montana State University Library

(Photo of Mary Anne's dog Stella studying her art history. Photo by Mary Anne Hansen)

[ Mary Anne Hansen can be reached at ]


Cates Winners

On behalf of the MLA Cates Scholarship Committee, it is my pleasure to announce the 2019 Cates Scholars...drum roll please...

Christine Call and Elizabeth (Liz) Johnson!

Christine is a Library Assistant at Butte-Silver Bow Public Library and is pursuing her MLIS via the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has attended the Montana Summer Leadership Institute, is a member of MLA's Intellectual Freedom Committee, and co-chairs MLA's Technical Services Interest Group. One of her application support letters states "Christine is a positive force for our library, open to new ideas and willing and ready to work hard to attain her goals, always with an eye out for what is best for our library." Woot, woot!

Liz is the Formatting & Degree Software Specialist at MSU and has served as a Circulation Aide at Bozeman Public Library. Liz is pursuing her MLIS via San Jose State University. Her professional goals are to become involved in data librarianship and use her technical skills to help preserve digital resources. She hopes to help Montana libraries in whatever capacity she can to push their services toward emerging technologies. Hooray!

Congratulations to both Christine and Liz! They each received $2,000 to be used towards their schooling efforts and join this distinguished group of past Cates Scholars.

Sheila Cates served as Library Development Coordinator at the Montana State Library from 1985 until her death from cancer in 1993. Sheila, whose energy, kindness, and ingenuity made an impact on so many Montana librarians, was named Montana Library Association’s Librarian of the Year in 1993. In 1994, the Montana Library Association established the Sheila Cates Scholarship to provide financial support to association members seeking education in the library science field.

Hooray for Christine and Liz! We know you'll do great things. And thanks so much to everyone in Montana library land that helps us raise money at Cates events at conference each year so we can offer these Cates Scholarships to deserving Montana librarians.

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson

The MLA Cates Committee

Della Dubbe

Jo Flick

Mary Ann Hansen

Cherie Heser

Jim Kammerer

Anita Scheetz

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Chair

MLA Awards and Honors Nominations OPEN

There are many fall meetings going on in Montana’s Library Land. As you meet with and enjoy your colleagues—please take a few moments to notice their amazing contributions to our Montana communities. Is there a board member that always shows up and helps get the job done? Is there a colleague that consistently goes above and beyond? Is there a school administrator who tirelessly advocates for their school’s library program? Is there a library that seems to set the standard and generously shares to promote the greater good of all libraries? The Montana Library Association would like to help you acknowledge them. We want them to feel special, appreciated, and honored by their good library works, but, in order to do that, we need you to nominate them!!

The Awards Committee invites you to send in your nominations for the 2020 Awards. Each nomination must consist of three letters of support; one from the nominator and two from other supporters of the nomination. No more than three letters of support will be considered by the committee. In addition, those nominating a work for the Media Award must provide the committee with a copy of the nominated work. All nominations will be confidential until the recommendations of the committee have been approved by the Board of Directors and the recipients notified. The deadline date should be set no later than the fourth Monday in January (January 27, 2020) in order for the committee to complete its work. The Montana Library Association honors individuals and groups who have served the Association and/or the Montana library community with distinction.

The Montana Library Association confers the following awards and honors:

● Honorary Life Membership Award

● Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award

● Interest Group Excellence Award

● Media Award

● MLA Champion Award

● School Administrator of the Year Award

● Special Friend to Libraries Award

● Trustee of the Year Award

● Legislator of the Year Award

● Outstanding Support Staff Award

● School Library Program of the Year Award

● Librarian of the Year Award

● Library of the Year Award

● Library Program of the Year Award

Please send all nominations and letters of support to Chair Carly Delsigne and at or mail them to 3 N. Main St., Clancy, MT 59634.

MLA Fall Retreat is October 13-14: What is it and what can you expect?

“What IS the MLA Fall Retreat?”

Good question! The MLA Fall retreat is put on jointly by the Public Libraries and the Academic & Special Libraries Divisions. Each year, these two divisions of the Montana Library Association join forces for a small but lively conference in the fall. They then invite librarians of all kinds from across the whole state to come and join the fun. The retreat focuses on bringing great presentations to a smaller, more collaborative setting.

All are invited!

This year, we have a great lineup of sessions as well as an engaging Sunday evening presentation by Kate Hampton, author of The Best Gift: Montana’s Carnegie Libraries. Please join us October 13-14 at beautiful Chico Hot Springs for engaging discussions, valuable insights, and good community!

Many thanks to this year’s presenters:

Brittany Alberson

Sheila Bonnand

Aaron Canen

Matt Beckstrom

Carmen Clark

Corey Fifles

JoAnn Flick

Kate Hampton

Mary Anne Hansen

Pam Henley

Kellie Kahtani

Stephan Licitra

Ariana Paliobagis Patricia Spencer

Leila Sterman

Laura Tretter

Ann Vinciguerra

Jan Zauha

Registration information is available online at

We are look forward to seeing you at this year’s Fall Retreat.


Fall Retreat planning committee, 2019

Montana Library Association

MLA Fall Retreat Schedule

Dear Librarians,

As you know, MLA’s annual Fall Retreat is coming up quick! Located at Chico Hot Springs in the heart of Paradise Valley, the Fall Retreat is an event you won’t want to miss. There are a lot of fabulous sessions to attend, from a book ban trivia bash to exploring the world of government resources. Kate Hampton of the Montana Historic Preservation Office is the dinner speaker this year. Kate recently published a book titled The Best Gift: Montana’s Carnegie Libraries.

All the best,

Stephan Licitra

Alana Mueller

Kit Stephenson

Shari Curtis

MLA Fall Retreat

Sunday, October 13

10-11am: Registration

11am-12pm: Division Meetings

12-12:45pm: Lunch. Welcoming comments from Fall Retreat Chairs, Matt Beckstrom – ALA Rep, Gov’t Affairs committee, Intellectual Freedom Committee


Room 1 - Patricia Spencer, Social Media 101: turning your Library Social Media into a Community

Room 2 – Pam Henley, Networking for Introverts (or, Making Small Talk Fun!)


Room 1 – Laura Tretter, Resources at the Montana Historical Society

Room 2 – Squidward’s Future is Now!: Google ChromeOS in Libraries


Room 1 – Stephan Licitra, Exploring the world of Government Information using

Room 2 – Jan Zauha, Mixing Up a Book Club Cocktail: New Ingredients for a Happier Hour

4:10-5pm: Corey Fifles et al., A Better Banned Books: Bozeman’s Trivia Bash

5:00-6:30pm: Free Time

6:30-8:00pm: Dinner and Speaker – Kate Hampton, Montana’s Carnegie Libraries

8:ish pm: More Free Time (Games in the bar, book chats in the hot springs, etc.)

Monday, October 14

8:00-9:00am: Breakfast

9:00 - 10:30am: Kellie Kahtani, A Brief Introduction to Youth Mental Health First Aid

10:30am – 12:00pm: Jo Flick, The Montana Information Literacy Alliance – Working Together

1:00-4:00pm: MLA Board Meeting @ Livingston-Park County Public Library

Did You Know?

By Debbi Kramer
MLA Executive Director

Did you know you can check your membership status at any time? Just go to the Directory page on the Montana Library Association website. The lists are updated on a bi-weekly basis. When you look at the posted lists you will find your name, library, whether you have PAID or NO, Notes that let you know when you have received a Professional Development Grant or Travel Grant, if you have a special membership category, if you have missed any membership years and finally when you last paid. As you can see in the directory MLA does not share your email or mailing address. MLA also does not share any contact information with any conference vendors or other outside entities. MLA has tried to make it easy for you to check your membership status. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your membership after you have checked the directory, please feel free to contact me at As always please check your membership status before registering for any MLA membership event such as the School Teacher-Librarian Summer Retreat, Fall Retreat, Offline or MLA annual conference. Together we can make MLA a strong, vital organization that will benefit and educate all Montana Librarians, Trustees and Library Staff!

Affiliate News

New Statistics Reporting Process

Submitted by Pam Henley, Montana State Library

This year to report public library statistics the State Library has contracted with Bibliostat and their CollectConnect tool. Public library directors have already received their log-in information to begin filling out the online form ( Much of the information has been pre-filled, including MtLib2Go and MSC collection and circulation numbers. Hopefully this will make the process easier! The deadline to complete the statistics survey is December 2.

Training on using this new tool has been offered at the Fall Workshop in Sidney and at several federation meetings. In October there are 2 drop-in "office hours" sessions scheduled, using GoToMeeting, for anyone who has questions. Those are set for Friday, October 11 at 10 a.m. and Tuesday, October 22 at 2 p.m. (announcements with meeting info will be on Wired-MT). In addition, a longer training session will be scheduled mid-October - information about this will also be posted on Wired-MT.

In the future Jessica Edwards, the new State Data Coordinator, will be taking on this task. We are working together this fall to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible. Also, we will soon have access to the Connect tool from Bibliostat, where libraries can research and compare their library to others from around the country. We've submitted 10 years' worth of data so it may take a little time to have this fully prepared! Training will be offered on using this as well.

Please contact Pam Henley ( with any questions!

ZOHO Sharing Space

Submitted by Amelea Kim, Montana State Library

Calling all librarians with creative and fun programming ideas! Please share your ideas with the Montana library community through the new community forum space in the MSL Help Desk. This community forum is a space for people to post ideas, ask questions, make comments, upload documents/files/photos, remix existing ideas, and search for inspiration. There are two forums available, "Library Program Resources" (peer support for general library programming ideas and questions) and "Montana Shared Catalog" (peer support for libraries that participate in the Montana Shared Catalog).

Anyone is welcome to contribute and comment, and all you have to do is create an account at the MSL Help Desk! Here are directions on how to access the forum:

  1. Create an account with the MSL Help Desk using the “Sign Up” button at the top of the this URL:

  2. Log in with your new account, and click on the “Community” tab on the top right of the page

  3. You can click on “Library Program Resources” and "Montana Shared Catalog" browse existing posts, add comments, and post your own ideas!

Please reach out to Amelea Kim at if you have any questions about using the space – I am happy to provide quick tutorials and tours!
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Montana Memory Project Needs Volunteers

The MMP needs you!

Apply Now

The Montana Memory Project is seeking volunteers to serve as ambassadors. MMP Ambassadors will increase visibility and usability of the MMP, introduce the MMP to new audiences, and seek opportunities to fund new collections. The time commitment is not extensive. Ambassadors will talk at 1 or 2 events in your community to explain the MMP and how it can be used. Ambassadors will also talk to individuals and share information about the MMP in their home community.

Volunteers chosen for this project will be extensively trained on how to use the MMP website, how collections are contributed and who can add collections to the MMP. All training sessions will be done online via GoToMeeting sessions.

Ambassador duties will include:

  • Communicate about the MMP to local groups (one or two per year)
  • Explain and demonstrate how to navigate the MMP website to new users
  • Explain the basic requirements for submitting a collection
  • Explain how individuals can contribute funds to digitization projects
  • Disseminate MMP promotional materials to your community
  • Share ideas for conducting MMP outreach with other Ambassadors
  • Learn and share new ideas with other Ambassadors

Ambassador qualifications include:

  • Ability to communicate clearly on the phone and in-person
  • Ability to use a computer and basic knowledge of computer skills including slideshow presentations, word processing, and spreadsheets
  • Ability to explain how to complete website tasks
  • Ability to work independently and accurately with attention to detail
  • Ability to follow oral and written instructions
  • Knowledge of local MMP collections and their importance to the community
  • Willingness to reach out to community organizations to share information about the MMP

If you are interested in volunteering for the MMP, please apply.

If you know someone who would make a great volunteer, please share this announcement.

Self-Help Video Project from the State Law Library

The State Law Library is excited to share an update on the Self-Help Video Project, comprised of members from the State Law Library, Court-Help Program, and Law Clerk for the Montana Supreme Court. We recently completed and posted 17 short videos on Montana legal topics and specific forms, intended to assist self-represented litigants with specific legal topics and forms. Access all 17 videos through the Montana Courts YouTube channel, or find them on the State Law Library and Court Help Program webpages, including:

Many thanks to former MT Supreme Court Law Clerk Hannah Wilson, and former AmeriCorps Members Anisa Ricci and Michael Turpie, who dedicated significant time and talent to this project!

We hope this is useful for you and your patrons. Please do not hesitate to send any input. Thank you!


Sarah McClain


State Law Library of Montana

Ph. (406) 444-1979


By Sarah Creech, Co-Editor of FOCUS

It may be October, but it's the first issue of FOCUS since the start of the 2019-2020 school year, so bear with me. One of the main things I think about every fall is the feeling of "back to school" even though it's been a while since I had a true summer vacation. Work and my master's degree classes have taken up my summers for a few years. Now that I'm looking forward to things like winter reading programs, trivia about books and the community at local bars on chilly evenings, and other cozy indoor activities I'm struck by how badly I want for a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. (Gold star to you if you can name the movie.)

Summer reading programs have finished and grant reports have been submitted. Stats have been counted and budgets have been approved and amended and approved again. Cates scholars have been acknowledged--congratulations Christine and Liz!--and MLA Fall Retreat is fast approaching for an opportunity to connect with fellow librarians for professional development and not-so-professional games at the bar after said development pauses for the evening.

In general, the point is that fall is a time of reflection on the year thus far, and a time of looking forward. What will you do with the next nine months? How will your library strive and thrive to do more and better? It's a clean slate!

In February, the first FOCUS issue of 2019, I mentioned some exciting upcoming things. Here's my fall update, as promised:

  • Changing library hours in March at the Belgrade Community Library - the best part about this initial update is that the BCL changed hours AGAIN in September to reflect patron needs. Turns out not everyone fills out surveys, huh? This change resulted in the library being open two more hours per week.
  • Going the Whole Way Annual MLA Conference - all in all a very successful conference. I enjoyed presenting on Libraries Ready to Code and figuring out that my OCLC login was not working correctly at Island of Misfit Items. At least I got it figured out! Thanks to Technical Services IG for offering that program.
  • Getting my master's degree! CHECK. Received my diploma in the mail and everything!
  • Partnering with local groups on community programs. This is an ongoing occurrence at every public library. One of the best way to bring more patrons in to any library is to partner with recognized community groups!
    • Universe of Stories Summer Reading - My favorite part of this has got to be the Belgrade teens winning over the Bozeman teens in the summer reading challenge for number of pages read!
    • My first passport stamp! CHECK CHECK--Got back from Ireland in late September. Visited 9 libraries throughout the Republic of Ireland. My favorite had to be Marsh's library, where Bram Stoker studied and did research while writing Dracula. Not to mention that it's the first public library in Ireland!

    (photo of Sarah in front of the entrance to Marsh's Library by Tyler Creech)


    Great Falls Public Library Fine Free Fun Run

    By Katie Richmond, PR Great Falls Public Library

    The first annual Great Falls Public Library Fine Free Fun Run was a huge success! 130 participants ran and walked hundreds of laps around Gibson Park.

    With donations from the Friends of the Great Falls Public Library and others, fines totaling $3,211 were paid off, affecting almost 300 library card users. Many cardholders' fines were paid in the nick of time to prevent the account being sent to collections, saving money for both the library and patrons.

    Library Director Susie McIntyre was one of the first participants to start running, and ran her final lap in reverse to give high-fives to other runners. Many library employees showed up early to get their donation laps in before returning to the library to work the rest of the day.

    The Great Falls Public Library would especially like to thank the Friends of the Library for their generous donation, as well as for providing volunteers to help staff the event.

    "We can't wait to do it again!" was the sentiment expressed by multiple participants and library staff.

    The Great Falls Public Library is already planning next year's event, and is hoping for even greater participation from both runners and donors.

    Runner’s World Magazine picked up the news story, and published an article on August 28.

    [ Katie can be contacted via ]

    Katie Richmond

    Public Relations

    Great Falls Public Library

    453-0349 ext.220

    Library Fun Run Clears the Fines of Nearly 300 Patrons

    Originally published in Runner’s World Magazine

    By Gabrielle Hondorp

    Aug 28, 2019

    Each 1.3-mile loop earned $5 to put toward your own fines—or to donate for someone else’s.

    Of the main draws to libraries is their inclusivity: Regardless of your income, you can enjoy all of their offerings, from books to DVDs to classes. But if you incur any fines—say, you lost a book—and are not able to pay them, you may not be able to use their services.

    Now, the Great Falls Public Library in Great Falls, Montana, wants to make sure that libraries are truly available to everyone, no matter their income. And they wanted to use running to make it happen.

    “Income plays a huge part in whether or not someone is able to pay the fine, and this means that libraries aren’t really the bastions of democracy that we claim they are,” said Great Falls Library public relations representative, Katie Richmond. “Those wealthy enough can pay their fines, and those not so fortunate are left without access to library resources. Unfortunately, children are the most affected by these circumstances.”

    To help their patrons wipe off their fines and late fees, the Great Falls Library organized a Fine Free Fun Run. The run, which took place on August 3, allowed participants to earn $5 per 1.3 mile loop towards fine forgiveness. Running or walking was permitted, and each lap could either be put towards a patron’s personal fines, or donated to someone else’s.

    Many library employees attended and walked before attending work and “one family of six showed up to walk for a single family member who gratefully thanked her siblings and promised she would never lose a library book again,” said Richmond.

    In order to make up for the money the library would otherwise take in from unpaid fines, they began fundraising before the Fine Free Fun Run. Between the Great Falls Friends of the Library and individual donations, $3,211 was pledged towards the fines.

    The idea for the Fine Free Fun Run began as an event to coincide with the visit of super-hiker and acclaimed novelist, Jennifer Pharr Davis later that day.

    “We hoped that Ms. Pharr-Davis’ visit would inspire folks to “go the distance” and make as many laps around the park as they could for the sake of clearing fines from children’s cards,” Richmond said.

    In the end, the fun run attracted 130 participants—including Davis, who donated her many laps—and cleared the fines of nearly 300 library cards, including those of all children under 10 years old.

    After this year’s success, the library is planning to organize the fun run for next year as well, with hopes of drawing an even greater crowd.

    Humanities Montana Awards 2019 Montana Center for the Book Prize Winners Announced


    Humanities Montana Awards 2019 Montana Center for the Book Prizes

    Missoula—September 11, 2019

    Humanities Montana has awarded five Montana Center for the Book Prizes to programs across the state in recognition of their efforts to promote literacy and literature in their communities. Award-winning programs receive $1,000 award and promotion at festivals, events, and online throughout the year.

    The MCB prize recognizes programs that offer creative and wide-reaching literary programing, such as early childhood literacy programs, reading series that encourage active engagement with the literary arts, or high school poetry slams.

    From a large volume of impressive nominations, the Center for the Book Advisory Committee selected the following recipients for the 2019 Montana Center for the Book Prize:

    Absarokee Lending Library, Absarokee

    With the closest public library 15 miles away, the Absarokee Lending Library was created by community members who wanted free and local access to books, movies, games, the internet, and more. The all-volunteer ALL offers a growing collection, author presentations, cozy reading nooks, a home for support groups, and activity days, and is open to ideas for additional creative programming.

    Free Verse Project, Missoula

    The Free Verse Project brings creative writing instruction and encouragement to Montana’s juvenile detention centers. The Project is active in Missoula County Juvenile Detention Center, the Billings Juvenile Detention Center, Billings Shelter Care, and Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility in Miles City.

    The Browning High School Rising Voices Poetry Club, Browning

    The Browning High School Rising Voices Poetry Club is a weekly gathering for students to share their work, offer encouragement, and hone the craft of writing. Over the years students have had the opportunity to work with published writers and have, themselves, been published in professional journals.

    Bozeman Public Library’s Children’s Festival of the Book, Bozeman

    The Children’s Festival of the Book is an annual celebration of children’s literature, designed to encourage a love of reading for all ages. The festival – now in its 12th year – brings authors, illustrators, and artists to Bozeman to connect with kids by offering engaging presentations, book signings, and hands-on activities. The Festival also features a day of rural school visits.

    Missoula Public Library’s EmPower Place, Missoula

    Located in the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center, the Missoula Public Library’s EmPower Place is a collection of books and programs offered free of charge to the adult and children visitors of the space. In addition to hosting bi-weekly readings by children’s librarians, the EmPower Place offers a space for children of the Food Bank’s visitors to access a healthy meal, play, read and socialize.

    Prizes will be awarded at the Montana Book Festival, Saturday, September 14 and the High Plains Book Awards, Friday, October 12th. Additional events will be announced throughout the year. The Montana Center for the Book will highlight awardees and nominees each week in the coming months.

    Humanities Montana is Montana's state humanities council with a mission to serve communities through stories and conversation. We offer experiences that nurture imagination and ideas by speaking to Montanans’ diverse history, literature, and philosophy. Established in 1972, we are one of fifty-six councils across the nation that the National Endowment for the Humanities created in order to better infuse the humanities directly and effectively into public life. We produce, fund, create, and support humanities-based projects and programs, eye-opening cultural experiences, and meaningful conversations.



    Contact: Kim Anderson

    (406) 243-6022

    Banned Books Trivia: Keeping the Lights On in Bozeman!

    (Photos by Corey Fifles and Anne Vinciguerra)

    Submitted by Corey Fifles, Reference, Programs, and Outreach, Bozeman Public Library

    For many years, local intellectual freedom lovers (namely librarians and booksellers) around Bozeman have teamed up to celebrate Banned Books Week, and 2019 was no different! Monday, September 23rd marked our 2nd Banned Books Trivia Bash, this year at the university-adjacent Spectators Bar and Grill. This was our 2nd departure from having banned book excerpts read aloud by local celebrities and public figures in a library setting. We wanted people getting riled up and rowdy to oppose censorship- and we had our wishes answered.

    MSU Library, Bozeman Public Library, Country Bookshelf, and supporters from our schools partnered with ACLU of Montana forming a planning committee for the event celebrating our freedom to read. Rounds of trivia ranged from “Censorship Begins at Home” (Montana- specific questions) to questions based in pop culture, a visual book cover round and more! Over 30 participants enthusiastically competed for “Most Spirited Team” (as well as the highest score/overall winner), and everyone left with some swag, and the urge to give a challenged book a read.

    Members of the Bozeman Banned Books Trivia Bash committee will be talking about collaborative community programs and stepping outside the box on Sunday night at the Fall Retreat at Chico Hot Springs. They’re also prepared to stump even the smartest librarians with their trivia questions.

    Trivia Participants at Spectators Bar and Grill, Photo by Corey Fifles

    [ Corey can be reached at ]

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    Sheila Bonnand, Jan Zauha, Heidi Robison and Chrysti the Wordsmith show their support for intellectual freedom

    Photo by Ann Vinciguerra

    ImagineIF Releases New "Partners in Education" Web Resource

    Submitted by Lune Axelsen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, ImagineIF Libraries

    In September 2019, ImagineIF Libraries launched ImagineIF Partners in Education, a collection of online resources designed to help local educators quickly connect with ImagineIF programs, collections and services. Through this educational package, teachers can augment classroom learning to ensure Flathead Valley students will learn, grow and succeed for a lifetime. In addition, students and parents will have access to tools to help with homework and research projects.

    To access ImagineIF Partners in Education, Teachers and students can visit, where they will find will find resources ranging from books and online resources, librarian guided services, and hands-on learning and events. The new ImagineIF Partners in Education Homework Alert allows teachers to notify ImagineIF about upcoming assignments, ensuring students will find the research tools they need.

    ImagineIF Partners in Education was created to compliment education offered in the public school system. ImagineIF Youth Services Librarian, Ellie Newell said, “ImagineIF is proud to be part of our community's rich educational ecosystem. We hope this toolkit enables teachers and families to tap into the transformative services available through their public library.”

    "Columbia Falls Branch Manager, Tony Edmundson, assists a student in finding materials for an upcoming science fair." Photo by Lune Axelsen.

    [ Lune can be reached at ]

    imagineif LIBRARIES

    247 1st Avenue East

    Kalispell, MT 59901


    - KUDOS -

    Bitterroot PL Director's phot featured on CJ Box Cover

    Submitted by Mark Wetherington, Library Director, Bitterroot Public library

    The cover of the most recent CJ Box book “The Bitterroots” features a photo taken by Mark Wetherington, Library Director at the Bitterroot Public Library. The original photo was altered to include a cowboy/ranch scene. Mark is credited on the inside cover of the dust jacket for his photo. Location of the photo is Canyon Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness near Hamilton.

    Photos by Mark Wetherington

    [ Mark can be reached at ]

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    MT Magazine of Western History Emerging Scholar Article Contest

    Montana The Magazine of Western History, published by the Montana Historical Society, is pleased to announce its inaugural Emerging Scholar Article Contest for the best article on the history of the American West by a graduate student, early career faculty member, or an independent scholar.

    The winning manuscript, chosen by Montana’s editorial board, will be published in the magazine, and the author will receive free registration, travel, and accommodations to the 2020 Montana History Conference in Butte, where they will give a talk on their project. Submissions are open from now until January 5, 2020.

    To learn more and submit:

    Published since 1951, Montana The Magazine of Western History showcases the people, places, and events that shaped the state and the West. In addition to scholarly feature articles, the magazine includes book reviews, commentaries on historical events and people, and advertising relevant to the West. For more information about the magazine, visit:

    For information on the contest, please contact:

    Diana Di Stefano, Editor

    P.O. Box 201201

    Helena, MT 59620-1201

    (406) 444-0090

    Montana The Magazine of Western History

    Follow us on Facebook!

    We are accepting advertising for Autumn 2019 and beyond.

    Ads are a great way to gain exposure for your business and support MHS at the same time!

    New Content on Montana Historical Society Site

    As a wonderful way to end the week, The Montana Historical Society is pleased to announce that new content is available to search and browse on the web site MONTANA NEWSPAPERS.

    Our coverage of Broadwater has expanded, with the digitization of the Townsend Star (1897-1929) made possible by the Broadwater County Museum.

    The Madisonian (1947-1959) is now up completing the project! The full run of 1893-1959 is now online thanks to the Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library. (Except for 1895-1896, which is available on Chronicling America.)

    MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, a service of the Montana Historical Society, is freely accessible to all Internet users; no subscriptions or fees are required. To learn about having your local newspaper digitized, contact us at

    Natasha Hollenbach

    Digital Projects Librarian

    Montana Historical Society


    Submissions Open for the December 2019 Issue!

    REMINDER: The submission deadline for the December newsletter is November 20. Please email your library news, micro-reviews & photos (with captions & attributions) to Thank You!


    Montana Library FOCUS

    [ISSN 1076-352X]

    The FOCUS is an official publication of the Montana Library Association (MLA), and is published in collaboration with the members which it serves. You can look for new issues six times a year: in February, April, June, August, October, and December. With an online readership of over 500, the newsletter works to reflect, inspire, and give voice to the vibrant communities that exist in and around Montana’s libraries.

    The FOCUS welcomes your input! To submit feedback, articles, reviews, inquiries, and ideas—or to place an ad or provide sponsorship—please contact the editorial staff directly: