a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[August 2018 Vol. 36 Issue 4]
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-Message from the President-

Greetings fellow librarians of Montana! As remarkable as it seems, we are already full into a Montana summer, with the temperatures rising and smoke imminent. I hope, though, you all enjoyed what seemed to me an old-fashioned early summer: temperate weather with enough rain to keep the hills and fields colorful and green.

Your Montana Library Association Board of Directors met for the annual summer retreat at beautiful Canyon Ferry this year, where we had a productive, sociable three days getting to know each other and firming up association business for the end of fiscal and the beginning of the new year. I was delighted to learn more about colleagues from around Montana and witness how dedicated and enthusiastic Montana librarians are about their profession and the importance of librarianship in our great state. The Board was joined by MLA’s lobbyist Nanette Gilbertson, who gave an update on the 2019 legislative outlook, and Stephen Licitra, co-chair of the 2019 MLA conference planning committee, who told us about all the great plans for the April 1-4, 2019 annual conference in Helena, MT. Board members who weren’t present joined in via teleconference, but they missed out on s’mores toasted up under starlight on the shores of the Canyon Ferry dam.

One topic of discussion at the Board retreat was an extensive conversation about what MLA does for the membership and how we can further meet the needs and expectations not just for the members, but for all librarians across the state. As you know, this issue focuses, in part, on the life and career of S. R. Ranganathan, widely regarded as a foundational thinker in the field of library science. His fifth law of library theory was “the library is a growing organism.” Although he referred here primarily to how the library as institution, by its very nature, must be flexible and adaptable to change, I propose the same can be said for the professional association that represents librarians, the very individuals who drive library services and development. MLA must be a nimble organization to remain relevant and the Board engaged in a serious discussion of how the association demonstrates value to its constituents.

We’ve seen declining membership in MLA over the last few years and attendance fluctuation at our annual conference, but there is always opportunity to change trends. To do so, it’s important to understand how MLA can better serve as an advocate and voice for libraries in Montana, a source for continuing education opportunities, and an effective network for library professionals engaged in any library work or service. I invite all of you to speak with your division chairs and to share with them, and with me, any input or suggestions you might have which will help keep MLA the definitive library association for Montana.

May you all enjoy a healthy, happy summer.

[ Elizabeth can be reached at ]


This issue honors Ranganathan's Five Library Laws and National Book Lover's Day!

News from MLA

-Debbi Kramer updates the association on some behind the scenes work

-Call for proposals for the PLD/ASLD retreat by Mitch Grady

-Join Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson on the PR and Marketing Committee

-Alice Ebi Kestler offers up her FOCUS editor’s message along with a summary of Ranganathan’s librarianship laws

-Director-at-Large (West) Kend Mullison outlines the amazing benefits of being a MLA member

-Ranganathan’s Canons of Cataloging submitted by Technical Services Interest Group member Laura Tretter

-Order your MT librarian t-shirt today via Debbi Kramer

MLA Affiliate News

-MPLA and KLA joint conference registration information from Rachel Rawn

-Nominate your colleague for an MPLA award!

-Spread the word in your community about the I Love My Librarian 2018 Award!

-Meet your MT State Library Consultants: Pam Henley, Lauren McMullen, and Suzanne Reymer

Feature Articles

-Read about Debbie Stewart’s experience with the third law of library science

-Carolyn Martin offers resources related to the ABC’s of DNA

-Mind in the Making: A Book Can Spark a Movement by Sarah Creech and Jo Flick

FOCUSing on New MLA Members

-Learn about some of the new MLA members: Suzanne Catharine, Alyson Green, Stewart Mohr, Kerri Cobb, Sierra Benjamin, and Ben Chiewphasa

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-GPO and UMT Mansfield’s partnership for MT cataloging submitted by Ben Chiewphasa

-Read Janelle Zauha’s article on MSU Library’s Doig exhibit at the fair last summer

-Caroline Campbell gives information on how to get your library some MT Tobacco Quit Line materials

-Montana Historical Society librarian Natasha Hollenbach announces new Montana Newspaper content

-Amelea Kim submitted instructions on how to get one of the mobile medical kiosks from Missoula Aging Services

-Jo Flick brought information on the Fall Workshops in Billings

-The 2019 MLA Program Committee brings you information on proposals for programs


-Lewis & Clark Library won one of 79 Big Read Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

-ImagineIF Libraries is going through some leadership changes with the retirement of Kim Crowley, promotion to director of Connie Behe, new staff members Kat Wilson and Ellie Newell, and promotions for Megan Glidden and Martha Furman who join Sean Anderson as senior librarians in their area


-Have a job you want posted on the MLA recruitment site? Debbi Kramer tells you how to get it noticed

-Submissions open for the October 2018 issue of FOCUS!

-MLA Updates-

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executive director report

by Debbi Kramer, Executive Director

Another membership year has begun for the Montana Library Association. It is again time to renew your membership dues or join the Montana Library Association. Together we can make MLA an organization that benefits all Montana librarians, library staff and trustees.

The association held its annual Leadership Retreat at the Montana Learning Center on Canyon Ferry Lake, June 7-9. It is a beautiful location and the MLA board had a very productive meeting. Those attending included: Director at Large-East Gavin Woltjer; School Library Division Co-Chair Angela Archuleta; President Elizabeth Jonkel; American Library Association Representative Matt Beckstrom; Public Library Division Chair, Mitch Grady; Public Library Division Vice Chair Kit Stephenson; Pacific Northwest Library Association Representative Corey Fifles and Government Affairs Committee Chair John Finn; MLA lobbyist Nanette Gilbert and 2019 Conference Committee Co-Chair Stephan Licitra. Also attend via GoToMeeting were State Library Jennie Stapp; Mountain Plains Library Association Representative Rachel Rawn; Past President Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer Megan Stark, Director at Large-West Kend Mullison; Academic and Special Library Division Chair Jerusha Shipstead and Public Library Interest Group Chair Jonna Underwood.

The draft minutes of the June board meeting have been posted to the MLA website for your further review at The 2018-19 MLA budget is also available.

After many months of work the MLA Handbook has been updated. A convenient Table of Contents has been added to help you find information. Updates on the handbook will be done on a quarterly basis so that all files are current. If you have any suggestions, please contact me.

A new addition to the MLA website will be a “Recruitment” section. The section will be under the Resources link as well as “What’s New.” It is hoped that all Montana libraries as well as other states will send their job postings to me and they can be added to the site.

Planning has begun on the 2019 Annual Conference slated for April 10-13 at the Radisson Colonial Inn in beautiful Helena. Co-Chairs Stephan Licitra and Mary Ann George met with President Elizabeth Jonkel, John Finn, Trish Sternberg and Debbi Kramer for lunch and a preliminary planning session. Elizabeth has chosen “Going the Whole Way” as her conference theme. Please check the website for more information in the coming weeks and months. A program proposal form and further speaker information can be found in this issue of the FOCUS.

[ Deb can be reached at]

Call for Proposals - Fall PLD/ASLD Retreat

by Mitch Grady, Public Library Division Chair

This year's Fall Retreat will be October 14th and 15th at Chico Hot Springs, but first things first: we need your session proposals!

Please use this link to submit your proposal by August 25th. Any topic relating to academic, special, and public libraries is fair game.

The Fall Retreat has often been described, entirely without hyperbole, as the greatest library-centered event in the history of the universe. Help us make it even greater!

join the public relations and marketing committee

by Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, PR and Marketing Committee Chair
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Your MLA PR and Marketing Committee is in search of some new committee members. A desire to enthusiastically champion Montana libraries is the only major skill required. This position will take several hours a month of your time. We've got some good ideas for the year to highlight MLA's libraries. We'd love to have you join us! We are looking for five members, from any type of library. Please contact PR and Marketing Committee Chair, Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, as soon as possible, if you are interested in joining this fun, and happy committee!

[ Lisa can be reached at]

FOCUS Editor's Message

by Alice Ebi Kestler, FOCUS Co-Editor
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In the Portable MLIS Dr. Ken Haycock asks the question “What does it mean to ‘think like a librarian’?” (1) Haycock argues that the five laws of librarianship formulated by Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganthan in 1931 (listed above) form the foundation for thinking like a librarian. This issue has examples of each of the 5 laws from libraries in our state. The laws are briefly explained below with reference to an article, photo or report that illustrates that law.

First law: books are for use. For a book, or any library resource, to be used it must be accessible. This applies to the physical library building, library hours, the online catalog as well as the resource itself. We gather resources not to hoard them but to make them available and ‘findable.’ In this digital age access includes digital access. MontanaLibrary2Go is an excellent example of extending digital access to books. The Montana Memory Project is an example of making historical materials accessible online. The photo of “Most Wanted” books at Bozeman Public Library shows a display that is aimed at getting books in use.

Second law: every reader their book. The second theme of this issue is National Book Lovers Day. It is fair to say that every reader has ‘their’ book, that book that struck a chord with them, took them away to a better place, taught a life lesson, or made an impact in the reader’s life in some other way. Be sure to read about some of our Montana readers’ favorite books. You might discover one that becomes your favorite as well!

Third law: every book its user. Debbie Stewart has written an essay about the importance of this third law using the example of graphic novels.

Fourth law: save the time of the user. In the age of people expecting instant answers to information queries it is imperative that we save the time of the user. Behind-the-scenes catalogers save everyone time. Ben Chiewphasa has written an article about the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana finishing a Cataloging and Metadata Contributor partnership for materials held in the UM collection. This story demonstrates how one library is saving the time of their local users as well as library users around the country by making their materials digitally accessible.

Fifth law: the library is a growing organism. Today libraries are growing in physical and virtual spaces. As people increasingly turn to social media for information needs it is imperative that our libraries are in that space to meet them. Increasingly libraries take activities out into the community. One recent example of this was the MSU Library Ivan Doig Archive exhibit at the Big Sky Country State Fair in Bozeman last summer. Janelle Zauha offers a news report about the event.

The second theme of this issue is National Book Lover’s Day, August 9, which just happens to be Ranganathan’s birthday. Look for micro-reviews of favorite books scattered throughout the newsletter.

Finally, this month we also focus on new MLA members. See the survey results to learn some interesting facts about these colleagues.

(1) Ken Haycock and Brooke E. Sheldon, Eds, The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts. Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. Page xvi.

[ Alice can be reached at ]

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Photo by Erin Mock of the Bozeman Library's Most Wanted Collection, a great example of "Books are For Use"

Time for MLA

by Kend Mullison, Director At Large (West), North Lake County Public Library

Not too long ago, my name was floating around in the FOCUS ether in my capacity as a former co-editor. These days, the FOCUS is in the incredible hands of Alice and Sarah, and I’m here in my capacity as your newly elected Director At Large (West) to encourage you in joining the Montana Library Association or, as is the case with many, in renewing your longstanding membership with MLA.

For those of you who have yet to join (or rejoin) MLA, it’s worth answering one all-important question: What, exactly, is the value of a membership?

The answer, of course, is lengthy and multiple. Not only does an MLA membership provide discounts for all MLA retreats and conferences—including Offline, the Fall retreat, and the annual MLA conference—but it also makes you eligible for travel grants. The networking opportunities at these events are priceless, of course, but the financial assistance and access to educational opportunities are also valuable. And speaking of educational opportunities, the Montana Library Association offers leadership trainings by way of service at the Division Officer, Interest Group Chair, Committee Chair, and membership levels. MLA distributes thousands of dollars in Conference Travel Grants, Professional Development Grants, and PNLA Professional Development Grants each year—all of this in addition to the MLA Cates Scholarship. If you haven’t heard of one or more of these grant resources before, you can check out the guidelines at

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The Montana Library Association works hard to champion the Montana State Library in fighting to secure and maintain available funding for programs through legislative lobbying. As a part of that effort, MLA funds help pay for these lobbying costs. It has been estimated that MLA spends more than $13,000 on lobbying during legislative years—advocacy which ultimately helps increase (or at least offset decreases) in State Aid to our libraries, and to cover the costs of databases and other essential shared library services. MLA is also front and center in advocating on behalf of all Montana libraries, librarians, and library users in the midst of book challenges and other intellectual freedom cases. If you haven’t already caught up on the work being done by MLA’s fantastic Intellectual Freedom Committee, I recommend taking a peek at their incredible wiki.

Needless to say, this State Aid and intellectual freedom work is critical to all of our libraries, not just those with members in the Montana Library Association. Nevertheless, MLA’s ability to further this work is tied to its membership. MLA is a gateway to a world of dedicated librarianship, and it just so happens to provide a great return on investment in financial, educational, informational, and social terms. Joining MLA and working alongside those wonderful human beings who have dedicated themselves to this organization is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made—and I hope you’ll join me and join (or rejoin) MLA this year. Hop on to, click on the "About" drop down button to find the join link on the homepage. Follow the prompts to either pay online with PayPal or to print an application form that you can mail in with a check.

That’s it for my first fireside chat as your new Director At Large (West)! If you have any questions about getting plugged in at MLA or about what I’ve written here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email at or by phone at 406.883.8225. I’ll be back in the next issue of the FOCUS to discuss some additional ways and means you can use to get involved with this great organization!

Warm regards,


[ Kend can be reached at ]

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Ranganathan’s Canons of Cataloging

Submitted by Laura Tretter, MLA Technical Services Interest group

In addition to formulating the Five Laws of library science, Ranganathan had a lot to say about cataloging. He has been credited as the first person to fully develop and express the Canons of Cataloging. These principles are deeply rooted in the Five Laws but apply specifically to cataloging to guide us in our work.

While I cannot honestly say the Technical Services Interest Group referred to the Cannons of Cataloging as we developed our Montana Treasures project, I can say the principles were very much alive in our hearts. The lofty, yet plain, goal of the project is to put all of our unique Montana materials in the hands of our readers by working together to create uniform, consistent, and accurate catalog records. I believe Ranganathan would be pleased.

Information about the project and a submission form can be found on the MLA website at:

Recently cataloged Montana materials include:

Racing the flame by Lisa Phipps

The Lazy BB Ranch: Libby, Montana

Great Falls High School class of 1946 silver anniversary reunion.

Wurtz homestead, est. 1913 by Louise K. Wurtz and Gary L. Haverlandt.

About Spud by Alan Joscelyn

Heavy Metal by Alan Joscelyn

Pipe Dream by Alan Joscelyn

[ Laura can be reached at ]

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-mla affiliate news-

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Mountain Plains Library Association & Kansas Library Association Joint Conference

by Rachel Rawn, MPLA Representative, Library Director at Havre-Hill

The Kansas Library Association/Mountain Plains Library Association joint conference will be October 24-26 in Wichita, Kansas. You can keep up to date with conference details at

Check out our website at, for information on what's going on in the Mountain Plains region, job opportunities, and how to become a member. Please feel free to reach out to me with any comments, questions, or concerns!

[ Rachel can be reached at ]

Nominations Now Open for the 2018 MPLA Awards

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Do you know a colleague or organization in your area that deserves region-wide recognition? Has work been done that needs recognition beyond its immediate impact in your library or community? If so, please consider nominating that person, library, or organization for one of MPLA's six awards.

MPLA members are eligible for the Dan Chaney Unsung Hero Award, the Beginning Professional Award, and the Distinguished Service Award. Everyone in the MPLA member states are eligible for the Innovator Award, the Carl Gaumer Champion Award, and the Literary Contribution Award. More information on each award can be found at

Let us recognize and honor the amazing work that is happening in our region. Please take the time to complete a nomination form so we can share and celebrate the contributions our colleagues are making to the library world. Nominations forms are available at

Nominations close on August 31, 2018.

Spread the word - I love my librarian 2018 award nominations are open

Meet the Montana State Library Consultants!

Welcome to what we hope will be an ongoing column in the FOCUS: news from your statewide consulting librarians. This month we’d like to introduce ourselves by mentioning some of our favorite books.

I’m Pam Henley and work from Bozeman, helping libraries in the Sagebrush and South Central Federations. I’ve worked in school and public libraries, in children’s and adult services, and enjoy seeing how libraries everywhere are able to come up with ways to support the specific needs of their communities.

A few years ago I discovered Ivan Doig and a few of his Montana writings: The Whistling Season, Work Song, Sweet Thunder (all set in Butte), and his final novel, Last Bus to Wisdom. As I travel around the area, I like to recall his descriptions and characters, and consider how life must have been in those earlier times for the adventurers who came to settle our state.

[ Pam can be reached at ]

I’m Lauren McMullen, Statewide Library Consultant for the Montana State Library. From my office near Big Timber, I work with public libraries in the Tamarack and Pathfinder Federations, and other areas around the state.

I have been involved in ranching since I came to Sweet Grass County 40 years ago. Because I love history and I love literature, one of my favorite books about Montana is Hope and Dread in Montana Literature, by Ken Egan. It’s a window into the history of the state, understood through a particular theme in our literature. Yep, it’s what it sounds like; life in Montana has its ups and downs and in the end it can be pretty tough. In ranching especially, the cycle of hope and dread continues to play out today. With each new season, everybody starts fresh, bringing their hopes and dreams. Once in a while, things go great. But all too often – and ultimately – some aspect of the environment kicks our butts (blizzard, drought, fire, hail, grasshoppers, etc.). This makes us who we are, and we keep on… and it’s comforting and validating to read about others’ experiences, real or imagined.

The theme of this book is very discuss-able, and Hope and Dread is also a wonderful introduction to many Montana authors and titles you might not already know. This book’s author can be found at Humanities Montana, where he is Executive Director, or sometimes at library conferences presenting on literary topics.

[ Lauren can be reached at ]

I’m Suzanne Reymer. I’m based in Billings and have been working with Montana libraries on behalf of Montana State Library since 1999. I’ve often been known as the one to call about E-rate or various tech gadgets and trends. In a previous life I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Poland, teaching English as a Foreign Language mostly to pilots and engineering students. I’m always interested in learning about other countries and cultures so I was very pleased to discover the Diverse Voices section for audiobooks in MontanaLibrary2Go. While driving around the state of Montana, I get to enjoy our magnificent vistas and visit with warm and wonderful people who care about libraries and their communities, and appreciate fascinating stories of people’s lives from around the world.

I’ve been able to share the experiences of writers in Iran (Censoring an Iranian Love Story), the challenges of a Japanese American family during World War II (When the Emperor Was Divine) and the lives of villagers in Sierra Leone trying to survive and prosper in a world torn apart by war and greed (Radiance of Tomorrow). They each offer a fascinating glimpse into places and times different and yet not so different from our own.

[ Suzanne can be reached at ]


Ranganathan's Third Law of Library Science - Every Book its Reader

by Debbie Stewart, Great Falls Public Library

*“The third law of library science “Every Book its Reader” references those books that have a place in the library even if a smaller demographic might choose to read it”.

Even though they only make up less than 1% of our collection at the Great Falls Public Library graphic novels are trending right now. Both youth and adults enjoy the quick reads with text and images. They fit a niche in each collection, engaging readers like a magnet with each panel-style illustration of storytelling.

What is the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel you ask? Most agree the comic is a periodical, produced monthly with the action progressing through each issue. A graphic novel has a beginning, middle and end and focuses more on character development and consistent details. Reading a graphic novel is a good change of pace and like a movie you can see the character faces and body language. On the other hand unlike reading a standard novel there is minimal opportunity for imagination.

I interviewed an eleven year old girl in the library reading, “Roller Girl” by Victoria Jamieson. She stated, “Regular books make me have to think too much. I love the pictures; they help the story flow better.” A nine year old boy checking out “Drama” by Raina Telemeier said, “I love to read them (graphic novels) before I go to bed because they are short.” I experienced my first graphic novel by reading, “American Born Chinese” by Gene Yang (winner of the Michael L. Printz Award). A really good graphic novel has to pair great illustrations with clear dialogue; the language and the images work together to create the story. What impressed me the most was the fact that with so little space for words they have to be chosen with a great deal of care for maximum impact and Gene Yang achieved this feat.

“Every book its reader” is a good mantra to remember to become more open minded and diversified in choosing what we read, understand, and enjoy.

*Wikipedia definition

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Graphic novels for Ranganathan's third law.

photo by Debbie Stewart

[ Debbie can be reached at ]

ABC's of DNA

Helping patrons unravel the mystery of genetic information

by Carolyn Martin, US National Library of Medicine

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Opioids: Can a Genetic Test Identify an Addict in the Making?

Signing up for 23andMe? You Might be Exposing Your Family to the FBI

Birth of Baby with Three Parents’ DNA Marks Success for Banned Technique

Diabetes in your DNA? Scientists zero in on the genetic signature of risk

Perhaps you have seen similar news headlines in recent years. Sometimes a headline seems to herald a great scientific advancement. At other times it seems a little unsettling—more like something out of science fiction. How does a person judge what is important information for their lives?

Few Americans have the genomic health literacy levels needed to understand what genetics has to do with their health. And yet many of our health conditions have a genetic component. Some are inherited, some are caused by a gene alteration, and most are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. In fact, of the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) top 10 leading causes of death, only unintentional injuries are not affected by genetics [1].

Genetic testing has been around for a number of years. It is used for a variety of health care uses including prenatal testing to help identify certain health conditions in fetuses and pharmacogenomics testing to help assist in prescribing effective medications. A person can use genetic testing throughout their lives, or as one journal article put it, from pre-womb to tomb [2]. Understanding those genetic tests, however, isn’t always easy. Testing is complex; people are complex. Results can change over time due to a number of factors, including gains in research.

This brings up the recent launch of the All of Us Research Program which is a key part of the Precision Medicine Initiative that President Obama announced in 2015. Precision medicine approaches health by taking into account the genetics, environment and lifestyle of each person. By doing so it allows for health care to more accurately decide which treatments and preventative measures will be best for patients rather than the current one size fits all approach. Though genetics isn’t the only factor in precision medicine it does play a crucial role.

The All of Us Research Program, launched on May 6 2018, is inviting the public to consider contributing their data to this long term research in order to improve health care for all. The program seeks to reflect the diversity of this country with participants from a range of geographical locations, ethnicities, ages, and abilities.

Direct to consumer testing has grown in popularity. Many people think nothing of spitting into a tube and sending it off to one of these companies. Sometimes people purchase these tests for their children, parents or other family members. Some test companies advertise testing for athletic ability or super hero powers or even for finding the love of your life.

Various health and medical organizations recommend patients and the public pause and ask themselves some questions before proceeding with a direct to consumer genetic test. Here are some suggested questions:

  • What do I hope to find out from this test?

  • Am I prepared to hear something I never expected?

  • What happens to my genetic information?

  • Who else will be affected by these results?

  • What are the company’s claims?

These are important issues. Take for example that you learn you have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer. Whether this information is correct or not, do you tell your daughters? If so, how will that affect their mental health or how they live their lives? Will they have children based on this information? Do you have the right to withhold or to impart this information beyond yourself? It is difficult to know what the impact can be.

There is also the issue of online security. Right now there are some protections provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, also known as GINA. GINA protects people from discrimination by health insurers and employers on the basis of DNA information. However, it does not offer protection for life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance policies. Even with protection from health insurance and employment discrimination, there is still the question of how much protection the act truly offers. Neither does GINA address the potential for hackers to obtain your private genetic.

Finding the tools needed to keep up with genomic medicine and science is becoming increasingly important. Libraries can play a role in providing authoritative genetic information resources. Four reliable online sites offer free information. These are GeneEd, Genetics Home Reference, MedlinePlus, and the National Human Genome Research Institute.

GeneEd is an educational resource for students and teachers in grades 9-12 from the National Library of Medicine. This site focuses on research, labs, experiments, videos and more to enrich classroom curricula. It also provides information for student projects.

Genetics Home Reference is a National Library of Medicine resource specifically for the consumer. It provides information on a number of health conditions with a genetic component, information about specific genes and chromosomes, helpful resources, and a comprehensive handbook to better understand genetics. This is an excellent resource, for instance, to guide a patron to reliable information for a family member newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

MedlinePlus covers a variety of health conditions, information about genetic testing and related topics through a basic search on its website or through specific health topics.

The National Human Genome Research Institute provides information for the general public and health professionals covering a wide range of educational, health and issues associated with genetics.

Two other ways to advance genomic health literacy in your community would be celebrating DNA Day, or using the CDC’s “Think Before You Spit” material in your library’s social media. All these resources will help patrons learn the ABCs about DNA so they can become more aware and informed about their genetic health.

[1] “Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic and Genomic Science.” National Human Genome Research Institute, 5, July 2018,

[2] Topol, Eric J. “INDIVIDUALIZED MEDICINE From Pre-Womb to Tomb.” Cell157.1 (2014): 241–253. PMC. Wed. 5 July 2018.

[ Carolyn can be reached at ]

A Book Can Spark a Movement

by Sarah Creech, Belgrade Community Library, and Jo Flick, Montana State Library

Photos by Jo Flick.

A book can spark a movement . . . this book, Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky, has inspired thousands of parents, caregivers, educators, and librarians to help preschool-age children to develop social skills that help them to be successful, in school and in life. These photos are from the Mind in the Making training held in April 2018 at Bozeman Public Library for librarians and their community partners, sponsored by the Montana State Library, Bezos Family Foundation, and the Edwards Foundation.

Over that long weekend at the end of April, librarians and community partners from all over Montana attended a workshop led by Erin Ramsey, a senior manager for Mind in the Making. Tracy Cook, with MT State Library, sent out applications and background information to all of the MT libraries in January, asking us to think of community partners (i.e. museums, childcare providers, doctors, United Way, etc.) that we could partner with to bring the seven essential life skills every child needs to our communities in a more thoughtful and thorough manner. She very eloquently outlined the importance of this training and the potentially huge impact it could have on Montana.

Tracy said, “We believe libraries play a critical role in ensuring that our youngest citizens have the best chance at a successful life. It is not an easy job which is why it helps to include other community members like early childhood educators, pediatricians, day care providers, counselors, and others who work with families with young children. When all of us work together, we have a greater chance of improving life for members of our community.”

That weekend was full of laughter, connections, insightful discussion, and intense learning. Fifty people, from 19 libraries and their community partners, gathered and learned the seven essential life skills every child needs: focus and self control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning. Each of these skills builds on the previous ones and each of these skills is not only essential for children, but for adults and any successful human-being!

Ramsey led the group in WOOP-ing (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) so we were able to immediately think about what we want to work on related to each life skill, our desired outcomes, potential obstacles that could get in our way, and finally a plan to deal with those obstacles. This process was developed by Gabriele Oettingen and outlined in her book Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation. I have personally used this WOOP process after the Mind in the Making training for other goals. It has worked as described. If you are able to think about what could stop you from achieving your desired outcomes and come up with a plan to avoid those obstacles, you are more likely to achieve your desired outcomes. Seems simple, but the plan can only be things that YOU have control over. None of this “if they do this then I will do this;” it has to be “if I feel this or do this, then I will do this to get back on track.”

This was a train-the-trainer type of workshop and while there was a lot of material to cover, Ramsey provided participants with the tools needed to run with the information and share it far and wide. Part of the outcomes for this workshop include a year-long project for each library and community partner. You can get more information on the participants and their ongoing projects here:

Belgrade Community Library and Bozeman Public Library’s partnership is one project example. They are working with Greater Gallatin United Way, Childcare Connections, and Thrive to bring the Mind in the Making training to the United Way Early Childhood Community Council participants in October. This step is critical in getting childcare providers and library staff to use the same language related to the seven skills. After the training in October advertising will start in full force for a series of training events to be held over two months in early 2019. These training events will be open to anyone that wants to attend, and incentives will be available for people that complete the training.

Since the training last April, Amelea Kim has joined the MT State Library staff and is coordinating the follow-up with Mind In the Making trainees, working with CE Coordinator, Jo Flick. For more information about MITM, contact Amelea or Jo

[ Sarah can be reached at ]

-FOCUSing on new mla members-

Six new members responded to the new member survey; their responses are recorded here. Welcome to MLA!

Name and where you work:

What do you enjoy most about work in a library or supporting libraries?

  • Suzanne: I enjoy engaging with my community and developing relationships with our patrons.
  • Alyson: Working with the various people who come in everyday
  • Stewart: Help bringing services to the community (as a volunteer and as member of Friends Board)
  • Kerri: The diversity of the day. Each school day offers new opportunities to teach students and support colleagues.
  • Sierra: The friendly atmosphere and the knowledge that I am helping people!
  • Ben: Cataloging and working with metadata! I get to increase the awareness of and access to historic materials in the Federal depository library community and beyond.

What do you wish more people knew about your library or the work you do?

  • Suzanne: I wish more people knew about the vast amount of free sources we have to offer, such as our digital and print resources, our Ancestry subscription, our printing services for job hunting, our weekly versatile program, and the various events we hold around town, such as Books and Brews and other events.
  • Alyson: Our little free libraries
  • Stewart: How many volunteers and staff support the services
  • Kerri: School librarians are certified teachers with a diverse skill set. We have experience with collaborative teaching, sharing strategies and resources that support subject areas and content.
  • Sierra: We offer so many more materials and services than people realize!
  • Ben: As Montana’s regional depository via the Federal Depository Library Program, we house a diverse collection of historic government documents and maps that date back to 1793. Ranging from children’s health books published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to environmental assessment reports for Glacier National Park, there’s something for everyone!

What do you enjoy when you are not at the library?

  • Suzanne: When I'm not at the library I am generally outdoors with my two dogs, Owen and Misty.
  • Alyson: Read, surprise! Watch mysteries on tv, play with my cat Dewey.
  • Stewart: Fishing, hiking
  • Kerri: Being with my family, camping, hiking, gardening, and traveling.
  • Sierra: Reading, writing, drawing, and being outside.
  • Ben: CrossFit, paddleboarding, hiking, and watching pop music videos.

What is something people may find surprising or unusual about you?

  • Suzanne: That I love rock climbing and ice climbing. The higher, more exposed the climb, the better. I enjoy exploring nature and climbing is a diverse way for me to engage with our environment.
  • Sierra: I have been learning Brazilian jui-jitsu for four years now.
  • Ben: I can finger count the number of family members who live in the States. The overwhelming majority reside in Thailand.

Describe something in your library/trustee career that you are proud of accomplishing.

  • Suzanne: I am very proud that our library has expanded our Library of Things to include a Seed Library and our brand new Tool Library!
  • Alyson: Getting my little free libraries up and running
  • Stewart: Supporting the terrific work of BPL's Friends group
  • Sierra: Our float/performance last year was absolutely the best in the parade.
  • Ben: Giving a presentation during my first MLA Annual Conference.

-Programs, Promotions, Projects-

GPO and University of Montana Cataloging Partnership

by Ben Chiewphasa, Mansfield Library University of Montana
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The Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana recently concluded a Cataloging and Metadata Contributor partnership for materials held in our collection. Over 720 bibliographic records from small Federal agencies, such as the Maritime Labor Board and the Federal Radio Commission can now be found in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). The collaboration has eased access to and increased the awareness of historic government documents for the state of Montana, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) community and beyond. We are tremendously honored to have assisted the GPO in completing a portion of the National Bibliographic Records Inventory Initiative, an effort to create, enhance, and distribute bibliographic records for pre-1976 Federal publications.

[ Ben can be reached at ]

Taking the Library to the Fair

by Janelle Zauha, Montana State University
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Doig Exhibit. photo by Janelle Zauha.

The MSU Library took the Ivan Doig Archive to the Big Sky Country State Fair in Bozeman last summer. We were given 1600 square feet to construct a walk through exhibit with hands-on opportunities for all ages. Our risk paid off: we had about 2,300 people come through. People who had read one Doig book, people who had read every single Doig book, people who had never read any Doig—we attracted all sorts. To make sure people got to experience archival materials we made manuscript facsimiles, had a writer's desk area, made copies of pictures, had manual typewriters available for use, and borrowed wool shearing gear and spinning supplies from a local supporter. Doig is all about sheep, after all.

It was great fun to take the archives (by way of facsimile) out of the building and make it real. I encourage all libraries to try something similar, even if you do not have an archive. Do some programming, take some of your craft books and get people to donate supplies, tell and gather stories. Or perhaps there is a community memory project you want to launch.

The exhibit was a lot of work for us but in a smaller space it might be less daunting. I know many libraries don't have the resources we do but you might be surprised who is willing to lend you things and collaborate.

[ Janelle can be reached at ]

Montana Tobacco Quit Line

submitted by Caroline Campell, Missoula Public Library
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Did you know your patrons are eligible to receive free help to quit tobacco? Libraries can easily promote the services of the Montana Tobacco Quit Line -- there are amazing resources available including assistance in obtaining FREE nicotine replacement therapy, coaching and reduced cost prescriptions!

This program, under the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), offers Quit Tobacco related pamphlets, posters & more free of charge. To display or disperse these materials at your library, fill out a brief order form on the DPHHS’s online store. Look for the ‘QuitLine Materials’ – these will be shipped to you free of charge!

READ ON to learn more about the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program services, or contact Cessation Health Education Specialist Jennifer Floch at (406) 444-5687

[ Caroline can be reached at ]

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New Montana Newspaper Content from Montana Historical Society

submitted by Natasha Hollenbach, Montana Historical Society

The Montana Historical Society is pleased to announce that new content is available to search and browse on the web site MONTANA NEWSPAPERS.

The Winifred Times is a brand new addition to Montana Newspapers. This digitization project sponsored by The Winifred Museum covers June 22, 1923-July 10, 1936.

The Big Sandy Cultural Fund concluded a second newspaper digitization project, which provides access to The Mountaineer (1921-1936), which is a continuation of The Bear Paw Mountaineer (1911-1921), the subject of their first project.

The Big Horn County Historical Museum in Hardin, Montana has sponsored a project digitizing an additional 15 years of The Hardin Tribune-Herald. With this extension, The Hardin Tribune and The Hardin Tribune-Herald is now available from 1908-1933.

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

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Medicare Outreach and Education in Libraries: A Mobile Kiosk

by Amelea Kim, Montana State Library
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The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) from Missoula Aging Services has created a mobile kiosk to circulate at community organizations and is looking for library partners to participate! Statewide partners of Missoula Aging Services will each be receiving a mobile kiosk. The partners will distribute the kiosk to area libraries. Each kiosk contains educational information about Medicare and how to prevent Medicare fraud. The kiosk includes:

  1. A 1’ x 2’ hardboard MSN (Medicare Summary Notice) that stands up and has removable parts people can move to explain what the different parts mean/what you should pay attention to.
  3. Brochures

If you are interested in participating, you can learn more by contacting Renee Labrie-Shanks (, the SMP Program Manager, or you can attend a webinar hosted by the Montana State Library on August 14th, from 11 am – 12 pm. You can register for the webinar here:
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Photo of the mobile kiosk by Renee Labrie-Shanks

Fall Workshops in Billings! September 17-18

submitted by Jo Flick, Montana State Library
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Plan now to attend. No charge, meals are all on your own. Registration in all sessions is limited. Popular sessions often fill up on the first day of registration, so mark your calendar for the first day of registration to get the sessions you really want:

Registration opens August 8th – plan ahead for the sessions you want to attend. See all the info here:

Book your room at the DoubleTree Hotel in Billings – ask for the Montana State Library conference room rate: $93 Call 800-588-7666.

See you in Billings!

MLA 2019 Call for Proposals - "Going the Whole Way"

Dear Program Presenters,

The Montana Library Association invites you to send in program proposals for the 2019 Montana Library Association Annual Conference, April 10-13, 2019 in beautiful Helena, Montana at the Radisson Colonial Inn.

Both 60 and 90 minute workshops will be selected and workshops for pre-conference are still half and full day formats.

The Program Proposal Contract Form has been changed slightly also. Please fill out the form in Microsoft Word. Forms not in the Word format such as PDF’s and other formats will not be accepted. The form is fill-in format. A link to the form is provided below.

Forms must be filled out completely. Please complete all sections as well as bio information, program description, equipment needed, room arrangement if not theatre seating, and all other speakers or panel members information. If special provisions are not included in the initial form, accommodations will not be made at conference to address any changes. Please be very thorough and precise with your forms.

All speakers and panel members affiliated with or working in libraries must register for at least one day of the conference. By signing the Program Proposal Contract Form principal speakers acknowledge they are aware of all co-speaker and panel member obligations. No allowances will be made if program proposal is accepted.

Please direct all questions or concerns about the Program Proposal Form Contract to Debbi Kramer, Conference Planner. Email: or 406-579-3121.


2019 Conference Planning Committee

Link to new Proposal Form

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submitted by Patricia Spencer, Lewis & Clark Library

Helena and Lewis and Clark County will come together to Read and Celebrate “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast During September 2018

Your Lewis & Clark Library is a recipient of a grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Helena and Lewis and Clark County. A national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The Lewis & Clark Library is one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2018 and June 2019. The NEA Big Read in our community will focus on Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. Activities will take place during September.

“We are honored to be selected for a 12th NEA Big Read Grant,” stated Lewis & Clark Library Director John Finn during a press announcement at the Library on Tuesday. “During the month of September, we will host a series of events and programs focused on the themes of the book, including being part of the “sandwich generation,” aging well, and telling our life stories with art and words.”

The Lewis & Clark Library is pleased to welcome #1 New York Times bestselling author Roz Chast for the Keynote presentation on Wednesday, September 5th at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Chast will discuss her memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Her presentation will be followed by a signing. “Being able to bring the author to Helena for a discussion and signing is a privilege and something we couldn’t do for the community without the support of the Lewis & Clark Library Foundation and the NEA Big Read Grant,” explained Finn.

Adult Services Librarian, Suzanne Schwichtenberg explains why the Library selected Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?; “We offered a community survey and this title came out on top. The themes that Roz Chast touches on are relevant to all adults: the emotional-not to mention financial-strain on caregivers is huge; the uncertainty of the path towards the end of life for everyone; the collection of memories and stuff and how we sort and keep or discard seems at times insurmountable. Roz Chast’s candid tale does exactly what we want the Big Read to be about: breaking individuals out of isolation and bringing us together through a book.” Patrons will be able to pick up copies of the book from the Library beginning in August.

As in years past, the Library’s website will be the primary communication tool to let everyone know the schedule of events. From book discussion groups to lectures and films, this Big Read will have something for everyone. Finn encourages everyone to visit as the Big Read draws nearer.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for communities across the nation, both small and large, to take part in the NEA Big Read,” said NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “This program encourages people to not only discuss a book together, but be introduced to new perspectives, discuss the issues at the forefront of our own lives, and connect with one another at events.”

The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $44 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 82,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit

Transitions at ImagineIF Libraries

by Kim Crowley, Former Director at ImagineIF Libraries

If you were to join the team at ImagineIF, one of your first assignments would be to read William Bridge’s book, Managing Transitions. It’s one of our pillars of sanity here; a book we refer to on the daily. Bridges writes:

"Change is the situational; the move to a new site, the retirement of the founder, the reorganization of the roles on the team, the revision of the pension plan. Transition on the other hand, is psychological; it is a three-phase process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that change brings about."

Well, there are changes afoot at ImagineIF, and we are all working through the transitions framework to move into a brighter future with our best selves.

Two new librarians. Three promotions. One retirement.

First, we are thrilled to welcome Kat Wilson and Ellie Newell to the ImagineIF Team. Kat comes to us from Great Falls Public Library where she has been managing the Public Services Department. Kat will lead the Customer Experience team, focusing on services to adults, beginning July 16th. Kat brings a wealth of management experience from her time at GFPL, as well as a passion for excellence in adult and information services.

Ellie is fresh out of her Master’s Program at University of Washington where she has been involved in innovative programs for children and teens at Seattle area libraries as part of her capstone project and in volunteer efforts. Beginning July 30th, Ellie will fill a newly created Youth Services Librarian position, leading library advisors to develop cutting-edge programs and services to infants, children and teens. Ellie’s enthusiasm for libraries, youth and social justice is infectious.

Megan Glidden, Community Engagement Librarian, and Martha Furman, Youth Services Librarian will be promoted to Senior Librarian in their respective areas. Megan’s stellar leadership over the past two years, most notably with the Making Montana Expo, has impacted the community in numerous important ways; while Martha continues to be a visionary leader in the provision of services to young children. Megan and Martha will join Sean Anderson, whose position will change to Senior Librarian for Support Services, as close advisors to the Library Director in setting and carrying out our strategic vision.

The Senior Librarian transitions will take effect on August 3rd as Connie Behe takes the helm as Director of ImagineIF Libraries. Connie and I have been co-leading this organization for the past few years, and all of us are thrilled to see her step into the Director role at ImagineIF as I head into retirement. I know that Connie’s vision of the transformative power of libraries, learning and relationships will generate many successes for our organization and the community.

Transitions are inevitable and, when managed correctly, can be very positive both personally and professionally. We always look at change as an opportunity to step back and assess, bring out a new paint palette, and begin painting from a new perspective. I invite you to keep an eye out for new and vibrant work from ImagineIF. I know that I look forward to seeing the amazing transformations taking place as two new librarians join, three librarians ascend and one rides off into the sunset.

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Connie Behe, Director and Kim Crowley, former Director, ImagineIF Libraries (the transition takes place on August 3rd).

Photographer Lune Axelsen, Marketing and Communications

Review of "The Feather Thief" by Kirk Wallace Johnson

by Debbie Stewart
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True crime without the gore! The Feather Thief is a fascinating adventure that starts with the history of bird preservation at the time of Darwin in 1823; then progresses to the fashion industry of feathered hats and coats, culminating with the heist of endangered and extinct bird feathers from a history museum.

Have you ever heard the story of an audacious heist of rare bird skins from the Natural History Museum at Tring England in 2009? Neither had the author who sums up the book in this fashion; “Initially, the story of the Tring heist—filled with quirky and obsessive individuals, strange birds, curio-filled museums, archaic fly recipes, Victorian hats, plume smugglers, grave robbers, and, at the heart of it all, a flute-playing thief—had been a welcome diversion from the unrelenting pressure of my work with refugees.”

The author tells an absorbing tale of how he first heard about the incident, and then how he follows the trail to find out how and why the thief did what he did. I don’t know which was more intense, the author’s obsession with finding the truth or Edwin Rist’s obsession with finding rare feathers for tying salmon flies.

I loved this book just for the fact that the author took five years to do research and I could benefit from his work and knowledge. Although the story was written well and very engaging, I learned many interesting facts such as in 1886 an informal survey was taken as a prominent ornithologist was strolling an uptown New York shopping district. Among the many fashionable hats was a shawl made from 8,000 Hummingbird skins! This book is a great story within a story; a very unforgettable tale about an obscure topic.

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MLA Recruitment Site is Live

Submitted by Debbi Kramer, Montana Library Association

Are you thinking about a job change or do you have a friend who is looking for a career change? MLA can help! Check out the new Recruitment Information link on the MLA website:

MLA will be adding job opportunities from area libraries as well as others across the nation. If you have a job opportunity at your library or know of a job listing, please sent it to me at and it will be added to the MLA job site. Let’s all work together to help our library communities!

Submissions Open for the October 2018 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: