a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[August 2019 Vol. 37 Issue 4]

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-MLA President Mary Anne Hansen introduces this issue of FOCUS and discusses ways to boost MLA membership as well succession planning for Debbi Kramer's upcoming retirement.

-Executive Director Debbi Kramer discusses the Board of Directors leadership retreat and new format for soliciting programs for upcoming conferences.

Division and Committee News

-Fall retreat coming soon!

-Proposals sought for Fall Retreat.

-ASLD announces new Vice-Chair.

-Government Affairs Legislative Day recap.

-MLA Needs You!

-Speakers announced for MLA 2020.

-FOCUS co-editor Star Bradley discusses enjoying the summer in Montana.


-Grand opening of the Meagher County City Library.

-Desiree Funston of Missoula Public Library shares adventures in genealogy training.

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-Celtic Guitarist visits Rosebud County Library.

-Updates from Drummond School & Community Library.

-Updates from Dillon Public Library

-Lewis & Clark Library gets a book trike and their Bookmobile gets a make-over!


-George McCone County Library awarded funds for new energy efficient windows.

-Congratulations to Brooke Weiss!

-North Valley Public Library recieves $1200 grant!


-Submissions open for October 2019 Issue of FOCUS!


Greetings Montana Library Community!

Hope you’re all having a great summer! Your Montana Library Association Executive Board met for the annual summer retreat at the Montana Learning Center (MLC) on Canyon Ferry once again this year. During our time together, we discussed association business, including finances (we’re in great shape, thanks to the close attention to fiscal details of Deb Kramer!). If you haven’t visited the MLC, you should! Ryan Hannahoe, MLC director, gave us a tour of their telescope facilities – outbuildings with roofs that slide off onto rollers so that you can view the night sky!

Another topic that Board members discussed was actually a continuation of idea-generating for boosting MLA membership. Intricately tied to boosting membership is the value that MLA brings to all types of librarians and libraries. Yes, MLA is a great organization and MLA members are proactive about stepping up to both suggest and provide relevant programming at conferences and retreats. Here’s your nudge to put in a proposal for the next MLA event, whether Fall Retreat or our Annual Conference in Missoula next April. Your MLA Board would also like to nudge you to suggest potential presenters and program topics if you’re not game to put in a proposal yourself! No Foolin’, MLA 2020 takes place in DOWNTOWN MISSOULA April 1-4! I’m super excited to attend a conference in the heart of Missoula once again. Put these dates on your calendar! And Deb is still seeking local co-planners for MLA 2020: another opportunity to serve your state organization! Let Deb know!

We also discussed succession planning with Deb Kramer’s upcoming retirement in 2020 as both Executive Director and Conference Planner. Board members are exploring different iterations of what MLA’s future might look like with a new organizational structure, i.e., if we subscribed to either an online management system (PNLA uses Wild Apricot) or if we decided to go with adding conference planning duties to our contract with Smith and McGowan, our lobbying organization. Several professional organizations around the state use Smith and McGowan for conference planning and more. What do you, our membership, think about the organizational structure of MLA going into the future? Please share your ideas and thoughts with the Board! And….. Deb Kramer deserves yet another shout-out for her years of dedication to MLA in serving as Executive Director and Conference Planner. She’s taking years of organizational experience and history with her to Arizona when she retires!

Finally, the MLA Teacher Librarian Summer Retreat happened on the MSU Campus July 22nd, and the State Library conducted training sessions at Bozeman Public Library – so many great professional development opportunities happen year-round from both MLA and MSL! While I was unable to attend, I’ll be anxious to hear how these events went! Teacher-Librarians: when you convene in October at the annual MFPE Education Conference, take note of presenters and programs that you might suggest to the Board for future MLA programming!

In gratitude for such amazing colleagues across the state,

Mary Anne Hansen, your MLA President

(Photo of Mary Anne Hansen and husband, Craig Hall on a recent trip to Redondo Beach, CA. Photo by Mary Anne Hansen)

[ Mary Anne can be reached at ]

Executive Director Update

By Debbi Kramer

The new Montana Library Association membership year is off to a great start! The Board of Directors had a great leadership retreat, June 14 & 15 at the Montana Learning Center on Canyon Ferry Lake where the budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was adopted. The Professional Development Committee is pleased to announce that there will be more money in the budget for grants in the new fiscal year. The conference planning committee for the Helena annual conference did a wonderful job of recruiting help and donations and a very nice profit was realized from the 2019 MLA annual conference. As the conference and membership dues are the two biggest items used to fuel the annual budget, the Board was able to grant all the budget requests for the fiscal year. The annual budget is posted on the MLA website at

President Mary Anne Hansen has appointed a hiring committee to explore the hiring of a replacement for the Executive Director who will be stepping down from her post at the end of June 2020. More information will be available soon. MLA is also looking into some type of membership software to track membership renewals, payments, etc. As there are several products available for this online service, more information will be shared at the October board meeting.

MLA is changing its format for soliciting programs for the Summer Teacher-Librarian Retreat, Fall Retreat, Offline and annual conference. Although there will be deadlines set for each learning opportunity, MLA will take programs suggestions on an ongoing basis. By allowing program proposals to be transmitted at any time there will always be a file of program ideas available. This will help those selecting programs to have a wider variety of programs from which to choose. (There will be an article and the program form elsewhere in the August FOCUS newsletter.)

MLA is looking for a steering committee for the upcoming 2020 annual conference at the Downtown Holiday Inn in Missoula. If you would be interested in serving on the steering committee, please contact me immediately. You don’t have to live in Missoula to help. Anyone in the western part of the state who would like to have a very fulfilling opportunity to help MLA is encouraged to step forward. There will be no extensive travel, exhausting meetings, etc. Everything is done online or through conference calls when it is convenient for the committee. If there is a face-to-face meeting needed the Conference Planners come to you. All the information that one needs to make a more informed decision about what is expected of a committee member can be found on the MLA website in the Handbook section:

Please consider being a part of the steering committee. If you have any questions or concerns, email me directly at and I can send you a conference timeline that outlines all the tasks needed to help plan the annual conference.

[ Debbi Kramer can be reached at ]


Save the Date!

Save the date for MLA 2019 Fall Retreat!

October 13 & 14

Chico Hot Springs Resort

Fun, Food, Networking, & Learning

Call for Proposals

Hello Montana Librarians, Support Staff, Trustees and Friends,

I know, I know, summer just got here, and must we talk about fall now?! But, fall is just a short few months away.

This year’s MLA Fall Retreat will be, naturally, at Chico Hot Springs on October 13th and 14th.

Will you be there?

To make this retreat as great as it can be, we need your help. Do you have something interesting, noteworthy, intriguing, scandalous, or otherwise useful to say to your fellow librarians? Then present it at the Fall Retreat! We'd love to have you.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 6th

Find the proposal submission form on to the MLA Website. (Note the new way MLA is accepting program proposals now.)

Please submit your proposals, in word format, to Debbi Kramer at

New ASLD Vice-Chair

Photo of Alana Mueller by Sue Lawrence

Congratulations to Alana Mueller, who was elected the new vice-chair of the Montana Library Association’s Academic and Special Libraries Division. Alana serves as the Assistant Library Director at Rocky Mountain College Library. She will serve as this division’s chair next year.

ASLD’s mission is to promote collaboration and communication and to encourage a culture of continuing education in academic and special libraries. Our next big learning opportunity will be the Chico retreat in October. Be sure to join us then!

Submitted by Stephen Licitra

Government Affairs Legislative Day Recap

Montana Library Association Legislative Recap

John Finn, Director - Lewis and Clark County Library

Chair, MLA Government Affairs Committee

Legislative Day Overview

Librarians from around the state converged in Helena for the 2019 Legislative Library Day despite frigid temperatures and horrible road conditions. The Montana Library Association and the Montana State Library were able to coordinate efforts to ensure the budget hearing for the state library coincided with the library legislative reception. We wanted to utilize the people who traveled to Helena as much as possible.

Our Legislative events started on Monday February 4 with an advocacy webinar taught by PC Sweeny focused on a successful library legislative day and building political support for library funding. The webinar was open to all librarians and highly recommended for those attending in person.

The afternoon of February 4 we had a hearing on a bill which MLA opposed. MLA spoke in opposition to HB 354 (Restrict sexually explicit materials and sexually oriented businesses). Not only was it a good experience for librarians to take part in a hearing and witness the process, it helped MLA efforts to kill the bill to have a strong showing of librarians at the hearing.

Legislative events continued the morning of February 5 with the Montana State Library Budget hearing in front of the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. The subcommittee is one of the most important steps in the budgetary process to ensure our State Library is sufficiently funded and cuts are not arbitrarily made without input from experts in the profession. Many librarians provided public testimony in support of the Montana State Library Budget and spoke to the critical services, support, and programs offered to libraries throughout the state.

In preparation for our evening reception, we conducted a session the afternoon of February 5 for all librarians in attendance entitled “Advocacy and Libraries”, which focused on building relationships with legislators and opportunities for action throughout the legislative process.

The Montana Library Association and Montana State Library Legislative Reception was the culmination of our efforts. The event was hosted at the MT State Library and all legislators and elected officials were invited. We had an excellent mix of urban and rural librarians in attendance and over 80 of our 150 legislators came to the event.

There were stations throughout the State Library highlighting all of the different services offered to libraries, other state agencies and the private sector. Legislators had the opportunity to talk to librarians, interact with digital resources and get their picture taken and posted to social media showing their support of libraries.

Legislative Priorities

The priorities of the Montana Library Association were quite simple: library funding through the Montana State Library and a strong library voice for any policies impacting libraries either directly or indirectly. The Library Association did not bring forth any proactive policy legislation this session, but rather focused on the budget.

The main priority was support of the Montana State Library budget. MLA is committed to maintaining the level of funding and requesting additional funds for the MSL and emphasizing the MSL have authority to manage their budget as directed by the Montana Library Commission.

All of our other efforts focused on policy: accessible and affordable broadband, protect access to information, intellectual freedom and privacy of all citizens, ensure local authority on tax levies, advocate for net neutrality. We also supported a bill aiming to differentiate service animals from other types of emotional support animals, which has caused issues in many libraries.

General Session Numbers

  • 1309 -- Total number of bills introduced in the 66th Session

  • 656 -- Total number of bills enrolled

  • 36 -- Total number of Governor vetos

  • 11 -- Total number of bills MLA analyzed

  • 5 -- Total number of bills MLA closely monitored

  • 5 -- Total number of bills MLA supported

          • 4 bills passed, 1 failed

  • 1 -- Total number of bills MLA opposed

          • 1 failed

Interim Activities and 2021 Preparation

Montana has biennial sessions, which means we have the next 20 months to engage with legislators, interim committees and candidates to prepare for the 2021 session. MLA will attend the following interim committees: Finance, Education, and Local Government. We will also coordinate with the MT State Library to determine if a presence is necessary at the Environmental Quality interim committee. MLA will have a panel discussion in front of the Education interim committee to remind legislators the role libraries play in the overall education landscape.

MLA will conduct a Government Affairs Committee strategic planning session to develop our 2021 legislative priorities. The priorities will likely include funding for the Montana State Library, public library infrastructure, broadband access, net neutrality, access to information.

The Government Affairs Committee will also use the interim to build relationships with legislators and cultivate champions for legislative issues. The goal is to hand-pick and educate certain legislators on specific library priorities and make the direct ask for them to be our legislative champions.


Planning is beginning for the 2020 annual conference in Missoula at the Downtown Holiday Inn on April 1-4, 2020. It is time to appoint a steering committee to help the conference planners with all the behind the scenes planning for the conference.

Although the conference is in Missoula, you don’t have to live in Missoula to help out. Anyone in the western part of Montana would be a helpful addition to the committee. The committee is best represented by a member for each MLA division. The Academic-Special Library, School Library and Public Library divisions are all equally important in serving on the conference steering committee.

Participation on the conference steering committee is not a burdensome task. Most of the preparations are done online, through conference calls and emails. The most important tasks for the steering committee include selecting the conference programs, choosing speaker gifts, marketing the conference through WiredMT, appointing committees to help before and during the conference and making the annual conference one for the record books. The conference programs are selected on Sunday afternoon during the Fall Retreat in Chico, October 13th and steering committee members will receive mileage if they choose to attend the program selection committee meeting. This is the only travel involved in help on the steering committee should you plan to attend. If another in person conference planning committee meeting is held, the conference planners will come to you.

Please consider volunteering for the annual conference steering committee as it is a very essential committee assignment for MLA.

Speakers Announced for MLA 2020 Conference

MLA is excited to announce that Debra Magpie Earling will be the speaker for the author luncheon at next year's conference. Debra is a Native American novelist and short story writer. She is also a Professor at the University of Montana.

ACRL President Karen Munro will also be speaking at MLA 2020. She will be speaking to all types of libraries, not just academic libraries and we are very excited to have her as a speaker.

Did You Know?

By Debbi Kramer
MLA Executive Director

Beginning Monday, August 5 th I will be posting a brief anecdote about the Montana Library

Association on Wired. I am calling the weekly post “Did You Know?”

This weekly post will feature details about MLA that perhaps you didn’t know. Posts will
include information on membership, committee assignments, interest group elements, MLA

financial facts, representative responsibilities, handbook updates and much, much more.

It is my hope that the weekly posts will not only help you understand the workings of your small non-profit association, but also understand some of the specifics that your organization

undertakes on an ongoing basis.

I will also entertain questions that you may have about how your organization is governed.
Together Montana librarians, Trustees, library staff and library lovers will learn much more
about the Montana Library Association.

MLA Interest Group News

Technical Services Interest Group Update

(Photo of Christine Call, by Christine Call)

The Technical Services Interest Group is happy to introduce our new co-chair, Christine Call. Christine has worked as a library substitute and library assistant at the Butte Public Library for the past 12 years. Prior to moving to Butte, she was a school librarian at La Escuela Manuel Dublan in Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico for 3 years. She recently participated in the Montana Summer Library Leadership Training and will be a new member on the MLA Intellectual Freedom Committee along with her duties as co-chair of the Technical Services Interest Group. Christine spends her "free time" reading, editing and reviewing, singing in choirs and to her dog, visiting her three grown sons, and hanging out with her husband of 25 years, Matt.

In other IG news, our Montana cataloging project continues along. We would love to hear from more folks about what Montana materials you have in your backroom that need original cataloging. Remember: if it’s not cataloged, no one will know you have it! See here for information about the project:

Recently cataloged Montana materials include:

  • The Breweries of Montana by Tara Eckes

  • From Hell to breakfast in Old Montana: a true saga by Leland Blanchard.

  • Demon Warrior by Jaymi Mozeak (book one of the Hounds of Heaven saga)

  • Recipes from Absarokee High School

  • Ghost Towns of Montana and Beyond (magazine)

  • Miles City telephone directory

Submitted by Laura Tretter and Christine Call, Montana Library Association Technical Services Interest Group Co-Chairs

[ Laura can be reached at and Christine can be reached at ]

Affiliate News

MPLA Updates

Mountain Plains Library Association & New Mexico Library Association Joint Conference

This year's Mountain Plains Library Association Conference is a joint conference with the New Mexico Library Association, October 30th through November 1st, in Albuquerque Old Town. ALA President-Elect Wanda Brown will be the keynote speaker. Go to and click on the "NMLA-MPLA Joint Conference 2019" drop-down tab to keep up to date on the latest news about the MPLA/NMLA conference.

MPLA Leadership Institute 2020

MPLA is now accepting applications for the 2020 Leadership Institute (, June 7-12, in Prescott, AZ. Fellow applications are due November 15. There are only 30 spots, so apply now! MLA offers professional development grants ( for MLA members who have been accepted to attend the Leadership Institute. You can also apply to be a mentor in the program, mentor applications are due October 15.

Check out the MPLA website at for information on how to become a member, updates on what's going on around the region, and job openings in all twelve member states. Please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions.

[ Rachel Rawn can be reached at or 406-265-2123 ]

Ready to Read Texting Program

Submitted by Amelea Kim, Montana State Library

Looking for helpful early literacy tips to provide to parents and families with young children? Check out the Ready 2 Read Texting Calendars from the Montana State Library! Calendars for July, August, and September have been provided with three early literacy tips listed for each week to help families build skills and knowledge together. All tips come from the Ready 2 Read Texting program, a FREE early literacy project that sends quick and easy tips to any cell phone directly three times a week for eight months. Information on how to sign up is included with the calendars, so please encourage your community to try it out if they want!

Find more information here:

August Calendar:

September Calendar:

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By Star Bradley, Co-Editor of FOCUS

I am honored to be taking the place of Alice Ebi Kestler as Co-Editor of MLA Focus. I am looking forward to working with my Co-Editor Sarah Creech to continue publishing a high quality newsletter for the Montana library community. I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to continue providing us with content as this newsletter is only as good as the submissions we receive! Please keep sending us your fabulous articles, updates, micro reviews and anything else you want to see published in Focus.

Apart from starting in my role as Co-Editor I have been enjoying the wonderful Montana summer as much as possible. Summer's in Montana are a great opportunity to enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer. I was fortunate this summer to be able to get in a quick trip to Glacier during the Montana Academic Library Symposium, which was held in Kalispell. A quick thank you to Flathead Valley Community College for being great hosts this year!

Summer in Montana also means lots of visits from friends and family, and this year we took my Dad on a trip through Yellowstone and across the Beartooth Pass. Needless to say, he thought it was amazing. So thanks Montana for a great summer.

(photo by Star Bradley)


Genealogy Training Adventures

(Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash)

Submitted by Desiree Funston, Missoula Public Library

Last winter, I had the opportunity to attend Boston University’s online certificate program in genealogical research, thanks in part to a Professional Development Grant from the Montana Library Association. The course entailed 15 intense weeks of research, writing and skill building conducted within the framework of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).

The GPS was created by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and it consists of the following five components:

  • Reasonably exhaustive research

  • Complete, accurate source citations

  • Thorough analysis and correlation of evidence

  • Resolution of conflicts among evidence items

  • A soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion based on the strongest available evidence

By operating within the guidelines of the GPS, professional genealogists ensure that they are producing reliable, credible work. I used the GPS to guide me as I created a biographical sketch of a free African American family living in Virginia in the mid-1800s; traced property ownership records for a piece of land in Maine throughout the early 1900s; followed the migration of a family from Russia to the United States to Canada and back again; learned just enough about DNA to know that I have a lot more to learn; and identified individuals in an undated black-and-white photograph from around the turn of the century...the last century, that is.

The culminating assignment took me to the Missoula County Records Center and Archive to search for a hand-written, pre-1900 letter or diary. I found the holographic will of early Missoula resident John Hammer. He wrote the will sitting astride his horse on 26 July 1877, shortly before an anticipated conflict with Nez Perce Indians at the site that would become known as Fort Fizzle. The conflict never happened, rendering the will unnecessary, but I spent a fascinating few weeks researching Mr. Hammer’s life in the Missoula area.

No sooner had I pressed the “submit” button on the John Hammer report than it was time to board a plane to St. Charles, Missouri, and the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference. Having never attended a national conference of any kind before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The 3,500 attendees probably wouldn’t make a drop in ALA Annual’s bucket, but it was an impressive crowd, nonetheless.

Most impressive, though, was the presence of several “rock star” genealogists, including Tom Jones, Judy Russell, and my personal favorite, Elizabeth Shown Mills. I was inspired to be in the midst of such accomplished and respected professional genealogists.

Attending the conference right after the Boston University class turned out to be an excellent way to review everything I had learned, and it helped to solidify important concepts in my mind. I sat in on a wide variety of sessions during the four-day conference. My head was spinning by the end, but I returned to work at Missoula Public Library brimming with ideas. I will hold a series of genealogy workshops for MPL patrons during Family History Month this October, and I intend to make family history research programming a part of our regular lineup.

I would like to thank the MLA Professional Development Committee for awarding me a Professional Development Grant; I would not have been able to attend the Boston University certificate program without that financial assistance. I also want to thank the Montana State Library for piloting a new certification pathway and helping me get started on this genealogy training adventure.

Desirée Funston

Reference Librarian

Missoula Public Library

[Desiree can be reached at ]

Meagher County City Library Grand Opening

Submitted by Jessica Ketola, Meagher County City Library Director

The grand opening celebration for Meagher County City Library’s new building was held on Saturday, July 20th, 2019. The ribbon cutting and grand opening remarks began at 2:00 followed by library tours and refreshments until 4:00. Speakers included: Gordon Doig, the library board and foundation president (yes, he is Ivan Doig’s cousin); Tracy Cook from the Montana State Library; Sarah Calhoun from Red Ants Pants; and several other distinguished guests. All speakers were recorded and posted on the library’s Facebook page.

The dream of a new library building for our community was born eleven years ago. Our blossoming community was outgrowing the quirky old building even then.

I love helping people and the endless possibilities of books. I graduated from White Sulphur Springs High School in 2006 and have a deep attachment to this library and community. My number one complaint: I never get to spend enough time in the stacks! Cleaning toilets and writing grants aren't the most appealing, but it means that nearly every day I can be someone's hero. Helping people is my passion. Whether I am faxing, figuring out a specific book from a slim description, helping with resumes and other paperwork, finding public assistance forms, or delving into the confusing world of technology, I am affecting someone's life in a positive way EVERY day!

[ Jessica can be reached at ]

Photos of the opening ceremony and the new library provided by library director Jessica Ketola.


Celtic Guitarist Visits Rosebud County Library

By Heather Johnstone, Rosebud County Library Director

On the evening of Tuesday, June 11th, Rosebud County Library in Forsyth hosted a community picnic prior to welcoming acclaimed Celtic guitarist and storyteller Jerry Barlow. The outdoor concert was held across the street from the library at MacConnel Park. Barlow’s repertoire features many selections that were familiar to the audience and he filled in the history, legend, and humor behind the music. Music from all of Barlow’s recordings can be heard on National Public Radio stations. He has been featured in Fingerstyle Guitar magazine, and was profiled in the Celtic Connection. He has performed for the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and is a favorite of High Plains Public Radio’s Living Room Concert Series in Amarillo. Approximately 80 members of the community of all ages attended this special library program.

[ Heather can be contacted via ]

Drummond School & Community Library Updates

(Photos by Jodi Oberweiser and Hayley Olsen )

Submitted by Jodi Oberweiser, Drummond School & Community Library

With Summer Reading Programs coming to an end, and another school year fast approaching, keep in mind the fantastic resources available to children. Drummond School & Community Library has made use of Ready2Read Goes Wild Trunks and the STEAM trunk from Montana State Library. The Steam Trunk includes a sewing machine, badge maker, MakeyMakey, Arduino, Engineering kits, and much more! Drummond School District had to make up for a ‘snow day’ and turned the extra day into a day of STEM learning throughout the school. Students from all classes took turns with various stations including a stop at the library to experiment with the STEAM Trunk. The Ready2Read Goes Wild Trunks contain manipulatives, books, and an activity guide for Ungulates, Bears, Owls, Bugs, and Water. Trunks may be shared by contacting Montana State Library, Federations, or the online catalog.

[ Jodi can be contacted by ]

Dillon Public Library Updates

(Photos by Lori Roberts, Kim Denny, and Alison Bramlet)

Submitted by Lori Roberts, Dillon Public Library Director

Dillon Public Library received an $8,000 grant from the Steele Reese Foundation to open a maker space this year. Everything from art, engineering with LEGO and K'nex, robotics, drone classes and flying, to movie making and media, sewing, beading, building with carpentry materials is available. There are so many options for the kids, it has been a lot of fun!

Local teens organized a Teen Murder Mystery Dinner that they wrote! It was called “Who Really Killed Mufasa.” It’s not any different from the adult one--other than the content was G-Rated. At the event, we sold walking tacos for $5 and the play was free to the community.

[Lori Roberts can be reached at ]

Lewis & Clark Library Bookmobile Make-Over and Arrival of Book Bike!

Submitted by Patricia Spencer

The Library’s new logo inspired a new look for the Library’s Bookmobile. The bright, eye-catching graphics, were created by Luke Duran of Element L Design who also designed the Library’s new logo. The colorful wrap featuring books is intended to grab your attention alerting people that their Library is on the go in their community. The Bookmobile makes bi-weekly trips throughout Lewis & Clark County bringing traditional library services in addition to WiFi to those who cannot access the Main Branch in Helena or one of the branch libraries in Augusta, East Helena, or Lincoln.

In addition to the Bookmobile’s new wrap, the Library’s logo is proudly featured on the newest component of the Lewis & Clark Library outreach services, Words on Wheels. Words on Wheels is a book trike that will serve as a “library on the go” to areas not accessible by the Bookmobile. Words on Wheels made its official debut at the Augusta parade followed by an appearance at the East Helena Parade and a cameo appearance during the Director’s Cut Outdoor Movie Series. Words on Wheels made its official arrival on Monday, July 29th when Lewis & Clark Library Foundation member Joe Furshong presented the book bike to Library Director John Finn during a welcome ceremony in Anchor Park.

The brainchild of Bookmobile Librarian Bretagne Byrd, Words on Wheels was made possible through a generous donation from the Lewis & Clark Library Foundation. Words on Wheels will make regular appearances at the Helena Farmer’s Market; Memorial Park; various Teen Services outreach functions; as well as throughout Downtown Helena.

Words on Wheels is a traditional cargo trike frame with a custom made box on the rear. Designed to be lightweight and efficient to move, the rear box doubles as storage and display space that can be easily opened up for patron viewing. Words on Wheels will also be a mobile hot spot continuing the Library’s tradition of making technology accessible by all patrons.

For more information on the Lewis & Clark Library Foundation and a complete listing of all Lewis & Clark Library events, please visit

[ Patricia Spencer can be reached at ]


George McCone County Library Awarded Funds to Improve Building Efficiency

Submitted by Emmie Loberg, George McCone Memorial County Library Director

In April my board and I, along with one of my library aides Kathy McFarland, applied for money from TC Energy Corporation (TransCanada Keystone Pipeline).

We submitted a request of $17,000 to have windows in the front of our library replaced and to add duct work and an air-conditioning unit to our existing furnace. On May 22, we received a check for $10,000 along with a very nice letter telling us they were very proud to be a part of the energy and enthusiasm surrounding this community initiative. The library will likely prioritize replacing the windows in the front library to more energy efficient ones.

I hope the Montana library community is as excited as we are about receiving this money. We are a very small library and funds are short to make major repairs so this will really help.

[ Emmie Loberg can be reached at ]

Stillwater County Library’s Newest Library Patron

Branson Weiss was born July 16th, 2019. He was 8lbs 15oz and 21 inches long.

Congratulations, Brooke!

(Photo by Brooke Weiss)

North Valley Public Library Receives Pilcrow Book Grant

Submitted by Annika Riley, North Valley Public Library

Check out this article on North Valley Public Library:



Submissions Open for the October 2019 Issue!

REMINDER: The submission deadline for the October newsletter is September 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: