a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[December 2019 Vol. 37 Issue 6]

Big picture


-MLA President Mary Anne Hansen introduces this issue of FOCUS and discusses some upcoming events at the MSU Library and programming for the MLA Conference.

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

Division and Committee News

-MLA Message from the Board

-MLA Awards Call for Nominees

-MPLA Updates - Leadership Institute Applications Open, Info Session Scheduled

-Offline Update

-Conference Update from Debbi Kramer

-FOCUS co-editor Star Bradley recaps the Chico Fall Retreat.

MLA Interest Group News

-Trustee Interest Group, submitted by Pam Henley

-Consider Donating Your Car to MLA! Submitted by Jim Kammerer

Affiliate News

-YALSA News and Updates

-MT State Library Consultant Update


-New Strategic Track for State Certification, submitted by Joann Flick

Programs, Promotions & Projects

-UM News Release- Kaimin Digitization Project, submitted by Patricia Mckenzie

-Lincoln County Library wins Code Club in Small & Rural Libraries Grant, submitted by Alyssa Ramirez

-Children’s Festival of the Book, submitted by Cindy Christin

-Lewis & Clark Library Plans Remodel, submitted by John Finn

-Book Pals at Hawthorne Elementary School, submitted by Andree Anderberg

-Fun Fall Things at the Bozeman Public Library, submitted by Carmen Clark


-New Content on Montana Newspapers

-Please submit your news to the February 2020 FOCUS issue by January 20!


Happy December, everyone!

As I’m guessing many of you also do this time of year, I’m trying to step back from the hustle and bustle to be mindful about all that I have to be grateful for. For starters, I’m so grateful to work in this wonderful profession of educators, helpers, technology specialists, readers’ advisors, program planners, creative thinkers, and so much more! What a breadth and depth of expertise among you all! I’m so inspired by library colleagues across the state and beyond. As you’re offering cool programs and outreach, tackling challenges of any type, etc., think about sharing what you’re doing in an upcoming issue of Focus! One of the most important connectors among Montana libraries is communication about our best practices and First Attempts In Learning (a powerful acronym I recently encountered for the word “fail”, and I love it!). Please think about sharing your stories, both positive and perhaps not-so-positive (what did you learn?!) as Sarah and Star put out the next call for Focus articles.

What’s happening this fall at the MSU Library? For one, in recognizing the popularity of our Paws to De-Stress partnership with Intermountain Therapy Animals and Pet Partners to bring therapy pets into the library during Dead Week and Finals Week, we’ve also added at least one afternoon of “Pop-Up Therapy Dogs” last week, and it was a big success. So many students appreciate the opportunity to drop everything for a few minutes and sit down with a snuggly pooch. We so often hear students tell us how much they miss their beloved family pets back home and having therapy pets in the library gives them a quick pet-fix! Dogs are the most common therapy animals to visit our library, but we’ve also had Xavier, the therapy cat (the most mellow cat I’ve ever seen), as well as Oliver, the therapy donkey. Oliver welcomed his snuggles right out in front of the library, though he was invited into our lobby for a quick photo op! We hear from Oliver’s owner that he acts up a little bit when she takes him home from such events because he loves interacting with people so much! Last year the MSU Library also sponsored a visit from Alpacas of Montana; their handlers brought a couple mamas and a couple babies. Did you know that alpacas hum when they’re a little bit nervous? So adorable! These alpacas are out and about in the Gallatin Valley frequently with their handlers, so they’ve gotten used to admiration and petting from onlookers.

What’s ahead during MLA 2020? Here are a few programs to watch for on the final agenda for our Missoula conference, April 1 – 4! No foolin’!

  • Transforming Teen Services – Using Connected Learning in Your Library Work

  • Engaged and Active: Building Support for the Library

  • A Better Banned Books: Bozeman’s Trivia Bash

  • Caring for the Mind: Providing Mental Health Information at Your Library

  • Mixing Up a Book Club Cocktail: New Ingredients for a Happier Hour

  • What the Heck is Semantic Web Identity? Helping Search Engines Understand your Library.

  • And many more great programs…… stay tuned!

Finally, here’s a fun image for you, taken by one of our student employees, Andrea Benson (we couldn’t run the library without our students!). MSU and UM have a friendly rivalry for donating the most to our respective local food banks each fall. The MSU Library accepts cans of food to pay off library fines during this drive!

Mary Anne Hansen, MLA President

Professor/Research Services Librarian, Montana State University Library

(Photo by Andrea Benson)

[ Mary Anne Hansen can be reached at ]

Did You Know?

By Debbi Kramer
MLA Executive Director

Did you know in the Governance section of the MLA website: you will find a list of all of your Board of Directors, division officers, committee, interest group and task force chairs, meeting minutes, financial report and meeting reports. All of these reports are up to date and will keep MLA members informed as to how the association is governed. At the Fall Board meeting on October 14th many important topics were discussed and decisions were made that will change the course of how MLA will be governed in the coming year. Please take a few minutes to read the minutes and accompanying reports so you are informed as to the direction MLA is moving. Please contact me or a board member with any questions or concerns. You will also notice that MLA does not post the email addresses of board members for privacy reasons, but I can certainly send you any email address you request.


Message from the Board

Greetings Montana Library Community,

As most of you know, over the past year, the MLA Executive Board has been discussing future directions for the governing of MLA business upon the retirement of Deb Kramer from her role as Executive Director. This has not been an easy process as there are multiple options to consider, as you saw if you took the survey we sent out. Thank you so much to those who did, along with anyone who contacted Executive Board members directly.

At our Oct. 14, 2019 meeting, we decided that the most prudent course of action would be to pursue a one-year interim agreement with our lobbying organization, Smith & McGowan, in Helena. This was a unanimous vote among Executive Board members. By July 2020, the Executive Board will draft a Request For Proposals (RFP), inviting all interested parties throughout Montana, whether individuals or organizations such as Smith & McGowan, to submit a proposal. It is our hope that this year will give us more time to draft the best possible RFP to represent MLA’s needs, as well as elicit multiple proposals to arrive at a strong solution going into the future.

The Executive Board would like to express our sincere thanks to Gavin Woltjer for his ongoing communications with Smith & McGowan to finalize this interim solution.

We would like to also express our sincere thanks to Debbie Kramer for her tireless efforts in serving as Executive Director, managing membership, budgets, and so many other behind-the-scenes duties in her role.

We will share more details of our interim year agreement with Smith & McGowan as we have them.

Please let any of us know if you have any questions.


Your MLA Executive Board

Mary Anne Hansen, MLA President

Gavin Wolter, MLA Vice President/President Elect

Elizabeth Jonkel, MLA Past-President

Megan Stark, MLA Secretary/Treasurer

Stephen Licitra, Chair of the Academic & Special Libraries Division

Shari Curtis, Co-Chair of the Public Library Division

Kit Stephenson, Co-Chair of the Public Library Division

Brittany Alberson, Chair of the School Library Division

Matt Beckstrom, American Library Association Representative

Rachel Rawn, Mountain Plains Library Association Representative

Corey Fifles, Pacific Northwest Library Association Representative

Carmen Clark, MLA Director-at-Large East

Kendra Mullison, MLA Director-at-Large West

Mary Anne Hansen

Professor/Research Services Librarian

Montana State University Library


MLA Awards and Honors Nominations OPEN

‘Tis the season for giving thanks! Please take this opportunity before the rush of the holidays to show your gratitude to the library lovers in your organization that make a big difference for your community! It is easy and rewarding to submit their nomination to the Montana Library Association’s Awards and Honors Committee. Carpe diem! Nominate them TODAY!!!

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

The Montana Library Association confers the following awards and honors:

  • Honorary Life Membership Award

  • Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award

  • Interest Group Excellence Award

  • Media Award

  • MLA Champion Award

  • School Administrator of the Year Award

  • Special Friend to Libraries Award

  • Trustee of the Year Award

  • Legislator of the Year Award

  • Outstanding Support Staff Award

  • School Library Program of the Year Award

  • Librarian of the Year Award

  • Library of the Year Award

  • Library Program of the Year Award

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

MPLA Update

Please consider applying for the Mountain Plains Library Association's Leadership Institute! Montana's own Eileen Wright is one of the mentors this year. While you do not have to have been a member of MPLA for two years to apply, you will be eligible for a hefty discount if you have been, and for other professional development grants from MPLA. One workaround: You can still get two years of membership under your belt before the 2020 Leadership Institute, and qualify for that discount, if you sign up for MPLA membership now call out that you’re registering as a member for 2019 (otherwise it will be considered membership for 2020 at this point). Sign up for MPLA membership here, and see the message below for more information about the MPLA Leadership Institute.

When you look out across your library (or look in the mirror), do any of the following come to mind . . . .

  • A seasoned professional who needs to get to that next level in their leadership abilities?

  • Maybe a colleague who is faced with a particularly difficult professional challenge?

  • What about a budding leader who has the intangibles but maybe lacks self-confidence?

Leadership comes in many forms and everyone has something to learn.

Join four mentors: Mickey Coalwell, Annie Epperson, Aubrey Madler, and Eileen Wright plus our expert facilitator, Mark Puente for 5 days of intense personal and professional leadership development.

The 2020 Mountain Plains Library Association Leadership Institute will take place June 7th - 12th, 2020 at the beautiful Yavapai College campus in Prescott Arizona.

Apply now to be one of the 30 fellows that will be accepted for this thought-provoking - even life-changing experience.

New Deadline: December 15, 2019

Learn more and access the electronic application at

Address your questions to Aubrey: or join us for an information session on December 3:

LI Coordinator, Aubrey Madler will host this informative session via Zoom web conferencing. Numbers are limited for the live event, so please register in advance. If seats fill, please email Aubrey at to receive a recording and/or ask your questions directly.

When: Dec 3, 2019 11:00 AM Mountain Time

Register in advance for this meeting by 5:00 PM Monday, Dec 2nd:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the session.

For more information about MPLA's Leadership Institute, go to

If you have any questions about this or the Leadership Institute, you can email Aubrey at her email address above, or myself.

Rachel Rawn | Library Director

Havre-Hill County Library

402 3rd St | Havre, MT 59501

tel (406) 265-2123 | mobile (406) 399-0289

Offline 2020 Planning Continues and Call for Program Proposals

The Next Offline will take place in Helena at Helena College on Friday and Saturday February 7/8. A very special keynote speaker is in place. Mark Sheehan will be making his triumphant return to Montana and Offline. Mark is the former Executive Director of Information Services at MSU - Bozeman and former Research Fellow and Senior Research Analyst for EDUCAUSE. Mark will make us all think and laugh and ponder recent trends and the future of library technology.

The Offline planning committee is working on the program for Offline 2020. The committee has identified several potential program ideas, which I have pasted below. Most of these ideas are searching for a presenter, or perhaps some fleshing out AND a presenter. I was just shown the lineup for Computers in Libraries 2019, and wow, they are doing some interesting things there. You may want to look at that program for inspiration. If you want to bounce an idea or two off of someone, please feel free to reach out to me.

Offline Planning Committee ideas:

  • Panel for iPad and hotspot checkout – who, what, when, why, where, and how

  • Open Educational Resources

  • Security, online safety, and privacy

  • Computational Thinking

  • Chromebooks in libraries

Are there any libraries using global connectedness to increase the degree to which their libraries are local?

Do Montana libraries, rural and more ‘urban’, have a role in tele-medicine?

How do you plan for statewide two-day delivery of paper materials on a Montana-sized budget? (Logistics; mixed mode)

In regards to Montana Memories style projects, what is the role for local libraries to help community members publish? Are libraries publishers or something else?

Is there a place for libraries to build knowledge-object maker spaces?

What role if any do libraries have in bringing high speed Internet to their end users? Should libraries build municipal wireless networks as a normal part of library service? How is this different, in terms of what’s being accomplished, to libraries promoting high speed internet to communities? (The last mile is the hardest mile, but without last mile service, what’s the point?)

Is there a divide in Montana between the connected and less- or un-connected? Where is this divide and how does it play out?

If any of these ideas spark your interest and you’d like to put together a program, please download the proposal from the MLA Annual Page (the “Program Proposal Form”):

John Finn, Director

Lewis & Clark Library

120 S Last Chance Gulch

Helena MT 59601


Cell Phone: 406-475-5548

Annual Conference 2020 Update

Planning for the Montana Library Association annual conference April 1-4, 2020 is well underway. MLA President Mary Anne Hansen has chosen “MLA 2020, Beyond Hindsight: Envisioning a Collaborative Future” as the theme. MLA is pleased to have as our Keynote Speaker, Karen Munro, President of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. Debra Magpie Earling, Native American author and UM professor will be our Author Brunch speaker.

The conference steering committee for the 2020 conference consists of Rachel Rawn, Havre-Hill County library director, Mary Anne Hansen, MLA President, MLA member Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson and retired MLA member Karen Gonzales. I am so excited to be working with these competent ladies. Their help and insight will be most valuable and appreciated in the coming months.

The conference program selection committee met on October 13th at Chico Hot Springs Resort to select the programs for inclusion in the annual conference. Committee members included Stephan Licitra, Chair of the Academic and Special Libraries Division, Brittany Alberson, Co-Chair of the School Library Division, Rachel Rawn, representing the Public Library Division and conference steering committee, Mary Anne Hansen, MLA President, and Joann Flick, CE coordinator for the Montana State Library. The selection of programs was difficult with all of the educational program proposals sent in from across the state by MLA librarians, OPI staff, and others. The committee feels there will be something for every library worker attending the annual conference. Four pre-conference programs were chosen, for which there will be no additional charges to attend, and another forty+, sixty and ninety minute programs for all attendees to enjoy. All speakers have been notified and a conference schedule, program descriptions and speaker biographies will be added to the conference website in the coming weeks. Early registration for the annual conference will open on Monday, January 6, 2020.

Exhibitors have been notified; a few have already signed up for vendor slots and several more have pledged door prizes that I know will be well received by all those attending.

As in the past all meals except the Awards Dinner will be included in your registration fee. Meals included will be a boxed lunch on Wednesday, buffet breakfasts both Thursday and Friday, Thursday’s Keynote Luncheon, Friday’s Division Luncheons, and Saturday’s Author Brunch. MLA will also have coffee available Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. The Steering Committee is busy finding sponsors to help with the coffee bars.

The MLA Directors at Large Kendra Mullison and Carmen Clark are hosting a New Member Reception on Thursday evening, April 2nd from 5 to 6 pm. It will be an informal reception to welcome new members and all MLA members are cordially invited to attend to meet the new members and renew old friendships.

The Sheila Cates Scholarship Committee is once again busy planning the Cates Event and arranging for the Cates Raffle. The Cates Event will be held on Thursday, April 2nd at 8 pm and as always it will be well worth attending. As more information is available it will be on the MLA conference website.

Debbie Kramer -


Trustee Interest Group

Did you know there is a special interest group just for library trustees? The group has been meeting off and on at the annual MLA conferences for several years, and it's been a great way for trustees from around the state to informally network and discuss issues relevant to their position. But after the conference there is very little activity - a disappointing loss of momentum! It would be wonderful if the group could continue between meetings, providing support to each other as well suggesting training topics that are of interest and useful.

Public library directors can help. Here are some ideas:

  1. Please share this information with your trustees if they don't already check the MLA website and read the FOCUS (have you mentioned becoming a member of MLA? Trustees get a great rate!)
    -Editor’s note: FOCUS can be sent directly to them if they do not subscribe to WIRED email list, have them email us at to sign up-
  2. Help them register in ASPeN (they will be able to contact other trustees and register for events)
  3. Then encourage participation in the library trustee certification track (the Excellent level of library standards includes several points related to trustee CE and certification)
  4. At a board meeting ask about training needs and share those with your consultant so appropriate sessions can be developed (state library staff have some ideas but want to hear more!)
  5. Decide who will come to the 2020 MLA conference in Missoula next April - and make sure they plan to attend the trustee interest group meeting! (the conference schedule will have the specifics)

Both experienced and newer trustees can benefit from this group, and together everyone can help their libraries thrive. Please contact me with questions, and I look forward to seeing lots of trustees in Missoula!

Pam Henley, Trustee Interest Group Chair -

Support MLA by Donating Your Vehicle!

"I don't want to deal with it"

Do you want to get rid of an old car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle, but without the hassle of cleaning it, fixing it, or selling it? Consider donating it to Vehicles for Charity. The donation process is safe, simple, and fast. You get rid of your vehicle. You may qualify for a tax deduction. And BEST OF ALL your donation supports the Montana Library Association. Find out more about donating your unwanted vehicle whether it runs or not at Just click on DONATE.

Submitted by Jim Kammerer,

Big picture


YALSA News and Updates

2019 Teens’ Top Ten Official Titles

The 2019 Teens’ Top Ten titles were announced last month. Download the full list with annotations now and share them with your teen patrons. Have your teens read a good book recently? They can submit it to be considered as a nominee for the 2020 Teens’ Top Ten.

Plan Your Summer Learning Program with our Publication!

Winter is just beginning, but it’s never too early to start planning your summer learning program. Whether you’ve just started transitioning from summer reading to summer learning, or have already completed it, our book, Teen Summer Learning Programs: From Start to Finish can help you think through the nuts and bolts of designing, implementing, and improving your summer learning program to ensure success. Available now in print, e-book, or as a bundle.

2019 YALSA YA Services Symposium Highlights

YALSA’s 2019 YA Services Symposium took place the first weekend in November and was a great success. If you couldn’t be there or would like to look back at sessions, check out a few highlights from American Libraries:

YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium will take place November 6-8 in Reno, NV. Registration opens in April. Interested individuals can sign up for updates about the symposium here.

Teens First: Basic Learning Outcomes Guide

Setting specific, practical learning goals for your teen program is important to ensure quality learning for teens. Our free basic learning outcomes resource makes it easy for you to identify and set them. View the quick, one-page guide now. Need additional guidance? Check out our Teen Programming Guidelines.

Blog Post Round-Up

· Reaching out to Teens in Group Homes

· Offsite Programming Extends Opportunities for Youth

· Grant Gives Local Teen an Inspiring Work Experience

· Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, November 12 Edition

· Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2020) Nominees Round Up, November 13 Edition

· Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, November 14 Edition

· NaNoWriMo Inspiration for Teens

Anna Lam

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

50 E. Huron St. Chicago, IL 60611


Statewide Consulting Team

The consultants have been busy this fall, attending several gatherings of other groups to spread the word about the services available from the Montana State Library. Here’s a brief summary of where we’ve been:

Tracy Cook ( attended the Montana Association of County Officers (MACo) conference in Great Falls. She had several conversations with Commissioners about libraries, the future of libraries, and Census 2020. The conference covered a wide variety of topics from recreation to finances to health. The highlight was a presentation from Representative Llew Jones. He shared data about the funding sources that currently support services in Montana as well as data about new and upcoming industries and how the current tax structure doesn't represent changes that have occurred in Montana's economy. The conference was very interesting, and the opportunity to build relationships with county officials helped meet a desired outcome of libraries in Montana. Someone from the consulting team will also attend next year's conference.

Pam Henley ( joined GIS Coordinator Erin Fashoway at the League of Cities and Towns conference in Billings, promoting all the resources available from the State Library. There were great conversations with town leaders from across the state. Many are big fans of their local libraries and services like MontanaLibrary2Go. An interesting keynote was “Transform Your Outcomes by Transforming Your Communication” by Tim Pollard, who offered lots of tips for improving presentations. We hope to continue attending this conference to continue developing relationships with local leaders. (inset photo by Pam Henley of their table)

Suzanne Reymer ( attended SHLB (Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition) AnchorNets 2019 Conference in Arlington, VA in October where she presented some initial findings from the Broadband Libraries Toolkit.

Suzanne reports: “I learned a lot about fiber projects in various states. I was particularly interested in one from New Mexico where they connected a number of tribal libraries to fiber. We heard from several FCC Commissioners, including Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, who was very supportive of libraries. I was also able to connect with a number of my colleagues from the ALA E-Rate Task Force. Several of the staff from the ALA Washington Office came to Arlington to meet with us immediately following the conference.”

Digital Inclusion Panel (left to right): Suzanne Reymer (Montana State Library), Abigail Waldrupe (State Library of North Carolina), Amy Huffman (Broadband Infrastructure Office, North Carolina Department of Information Technology), James Neal (IMLS).

Photo taken by Malavika Muralidharan of Arizona State Library

Pam and Suzanne also attended the Regional Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL). Tracy provided logistical support. RIPL is an intensive learning opportunity that walks attendees through identifying community/customer needs, using that data to design services, developing evaluation plans for evaluating library services, and using data to plan, make decisions, and tell the library's story. We attended and supported RIPL because the State Library is developing a data driven culture, and because we find the concepts apply well to public libraries particularly helping them reach their goal of telling their story.

We wrapped up the fall with field visits to libraries, federation meetings, some strategic planning, a little board training, public library statistics, and continued work on helping libraries address their broadband Internet and hardware needs.

Big picture

Digital Inclusion Panel

(left to right): Suzanne Reymer (Montana State Library), Abigail Waldrupe (State Library of North Carolina), Amy Huffman (Broadband Infrastructure Office, North Carolina Department of Informatoin Technology), James Neal (IMLS).

Photo taken by Malavika Muralidharan of Arizona State Library


by Star Bradley, Co-Editor of Focus

The Fall Retreat was once again at Chico Hot Springs, and speaking for myself it was a great time. Programming was excellent, with a little something for all library types. Information on Government Sources, Using Social Media in your library, Book Clubs, Banned Books Trivia, Montana's Carnegie Libraries and more!

If you haven't made it to a Fall Retreat, I highly encourage you to go. Chico is a beautiful location, and fun to boot. It's a wonderful opportunity to get to know new people from around the state in a relaxed setting. I was fortunate to meet some new faces and reconnect with some familiar ones this year.

The high point for me was the Banned Books Trivia, what a fun presentation! Thank you to all of the people involved in putting that on (I won't name them because I'm sure to forget someone), not only was your presentation informative but it was also really, really fun.

On a more somber note the final presentation was on Youth Mental Health, while it was quite well received this is a topic that hits home for a lot of libraries. Kellie Kahtani, the presenter, gave us some great tools to use moving forward to help youth in need. Sometimes it can be as simple as just changing the way we word things, using more positive language. A big thanks to Kellie for a great presentation on a difficult topic.

I'm looking forward to next year's retreat, and all of the great programming that it will bring. If you have ever wanted to present at a conference but haven't done it yet, the Fall Retreat is a great place to start. Consider presenting next year, you will be glad you did!

(photo of Chico by Mary Anne Hansen)


New Strategic Track for State Certification

Over the past year, the Montana State Library (MSL) has piloted a new pathway to certification. Several libraries signed up to test the process for the strategic pathway, and with modifications to the original plan, the Montana State Library Commission approved the new track last August. Now, the work to update ASPeN with forms to support applications to the new track and a revised manual for those that choose this new track are underway. The new track utilizes a professional development plan in place of the minimum credits in each of 4 categories as a metric for earning certification. This change reflects what many librarians have noticed, that some categories are not central topics for the professional development of many of our librarians, especially seasoned ones.

Here's what you need to know about the new track:

- librarians that choose the strategic track must take the time to plan their professional development in advance and complete a form in ASPeN before they begin to collect credits. Each learning activity in the plan must be addressing their library's strategic goals.

- the strategic track is available only to librarians in Montana that are currently working at a library and have already achieved MSL certification via the staff or administrator track. It is intended for seasoned library professionals.

- librarians may design alternative, self-paced, learning experiences in the strategic track such as mentoring, research, project-based learning, or exploring leadership activities for up to 20 credits.

- A minimum of 60 credits is still required on the strategic track.

- It is expected that the strategic path will require more time to complete the requirements, but librarians may eliminate the need to attend classes simply to bag a credit to fulfill requirements in a certain category. So, it is intended that the learning experience to be more meaningful and useful.

- In the strategic track, a librarian may amend their professional development plan at any time during the course of their learning pursuits. This is likely to occur if a librarian changes libraries or takes a new job at their current library.

- Libraries that do not have a strategic plan on the books, will need to create one first before staff may consider the strategic pathway. ​

Watch for more information in early 2020 and plan to attend the MLA session at MLA Annual in Missoula that explores how to develop a professional development plan and to get started in the new track.

- Joann Flick, MS Ed., Continuing Education Coordinator, Montana State Library

Photo by Aman Upadhyay on Unsplash

MSU Library Acquires Collection of Materials from Fly Fishers International

By Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service
November 1, 2019

BOZEMAN — A new collection of materials available to the public at Montana State University’s Library covers numerous aspects of the popular sport of fly fishing, from the motivations of why individuals fish to casting and how to tie a fly.

The collection, acquired from Fly Fishers International, consists of books, periodicals, promotional materials and other items that relate to the study and practice of fly fishing. It includes an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 volumes dating from the 19th century to today. Fly Fishers International is a nonprofit based in Livingston that focuses on conservation, education and community.

“The material is a wonderful addition to our Trout and Salmonid Library Collection, which is the largest on the species in the world,” said James Thull, MSU Special Collections librarian. “The (Fly Fishers International collection) is one of the most comprehensive collections on fly fishing in existence, and its addition to our library makes our collections wider in scope and more useful to researchers and anglers alike.

“While we focus on the fish themselves, so collect everything from scientific reports on fish diseases to children’s literature, the (Fly Fishers International) library is focused on a particular fishing style that is, of course, very popular in Montana and the Western states,” Thull added.

Thull said the collection is valuable because it adds to the library’s materials on fly fishing, fills gaps in its subject areas and will offer “a bounty of information for anyone looking to get a line wet in Montana’s trout waters.”

The MSU Library acquired the collection after informal discussions throughout the years. Thull noted that many individuals at Fly Fishers International contributed to the efforts and helped make the acquisition possible.

“Our collection represents an extensive repository of publications and materials authored by many of the most important luminaries in the sport of fly fishing, some of whom were founding members of our organization,” said Patrick Berry, president and CEO of Fly Fishers International. “The collaboration between Fly Fishers International and Montana State University’s Special Collections and Archives represents a truly synergistic partnership as we merge part of our respective strengths.”

“This is a win-win for both institutions in that Fly Fishers International can focus on (its) museum collections and free up valuable space, and MSU gets to add an amazing collection to our library where it will be cataloged, stored in archival conditions and available to the public,” Thull said.

The collection will be available for the public to view in MSU Library’s Special Collection and Archives.

The MSU Library’s Special Collections and Archives has more than 800 active collections. It specializes in collections related to Montana agriculture and ranching, Montana engineering and architecture, Montana history, MSU history, Native Americans in Montana, the author Ivan Doig, prominent Montanans, trout and salmonids, U.S. Sen. Burton K. Wheeler, and Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone ecosystem. More information is available online at

Contact: James Thull, 406-994-5305 or


UM News Release

UM Places 120 Years of Montana Kaimin Student Newspapers Online

MISSOULA – Kaimin is a Salish word that means “paper that brings news,” and since 1898 the Montana Kaimin newspaper has covered the University of Montana with an independent student voice.

Now that 121 years of accumulated news coverage is available online in a searchable database ( courtesy of UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library and its ScholarWorks service.

“The Kaimin is a valuable resource with demonstrated significance and use by the UM community,” said Wendy Walker, UM’s digital initiatives librarian. “The Kaimin is quite unique in that it is very independently student run and intended to be student-centric. So it is an important historical and current publication that documents the student perspective and the college student experience at UM and in Missoula. There’s nothing else quite like it.”

She said the library’s Digital Production Unit launched its ambitious plan to digitize the Kaimin six years ago. After a few setbacks and thousands of hours of work by UM students, staff and faculty members, this unique historical record is now complete.

“The library’s motivation for digitizing the Kaimin was that it would support administrative, popular and scholarly research related to the University of Montana, its people and activities,” Walker said. “We intend to continue adding new issues as they become available.”

UM’s student newspaper started as a magazine that was published monthly during the school year from 1898 to June 1909. It became a weekly in December 1909 and finally a near-daily publication in January 1939. The print publication returned to a weekly in April 2015. Walker said issues from 1898 to 2002 in the new online collection were digitized from physical print issues held by the library’s Archives and Special Collections. Issues from 2003 to 2019 were supplied as digital files by students in the Montana Kaimin office.

She said the Kaimin archive is frequently used by students, faculty and administrators seeking historical information about campus events, programs and services. It also is used by alumni looking for information about themselves or their peers during their time as students. The archives also are used to answer questions related to the history of campus buildings and grounds, administrators and faculty, and programs.

The new database complements the UM news release database, which can be found on ScholarWorks at Walker said the public now can contrast and compare the UM administrative perspective of topics in news releases with the student-centric focus of the Kaimin.

Submitted by Patricia Mckenzie,

Project Contact: Wendy Walker, UM digital initiatives librarian, 406-243-6004,

Lincoln County Library Wins Coding Club Grant

Lincoln County Library was awarded a grant to start a coding club at the library. We are really excited to start this in the new year!

We were selected as a recipient for the Code Club in Small & Rural Libraries Grant through IMLS, North Dakota State Library, Linda Braun, Crystle Martin, and Prenda.

There were over 250 applications for only 50 spots, so we feel very proud. We join 50 other libraries from previous cohorts as we learn about and support coding in the smallest and most rural libraries in our country.

The grant value is $4500 for each library selected. This covers coaching, training, and Prenda's code club software for one year. We are responsible for providing a facilitator, computers, space, and a dedicated meeting time for code club throughout the next year beginning in January or February, 2020.

Submitted by Alyssa Ramirez, Lincoln County Library Director

Children’s Festival of the Book Celebrates 12th Year

Bringing together the most talented writers and illustrators with Montana kids and families is the goal of this annual Festival, and introducing Caldecott winning illustrators Sophie Blackall and Brian Floca was another highlight for this event. Sophie and Brian arrived from Brooklyn on November 6 to do six school visits in area elementary and middle schools, and then spent a day in Yellowstone National Park with fellow writer/illustrator Eddie Hemingway. From 9am to 5pm on Saturday, Sophie, Brian, and Montana writer Susan Adrian, delivered lively presentations, signed piles of books, talked to kids and librarians, and enjoyed getting to know their Montana fans. Over 600 people attended on Saturday, and over 100 students entered the Writing and/or Illustrating Contests. Twenty prizes were awarded by Sophie and Brian. Festival organizers are grateful to the Library Foundation and supporters for making this treasured event possible. Save the date for November 14, 2020 with Chris Barton and Don Tate!

All photos by Cindy Christin

Submitted by Cindy Christin, Bozeman Public Library,

Lewis & Clark Library Remodel Project

Submitted by John Finn, Director of Lewis & Clark Library,
Big picture
Big picture

Book Pals at Hawthorne Elementary School

In conjunction with the Lewis and Clark Literacy Council, Hawthorne Elementary School Library in Helena, MT is participating in “Book Pals,” a literacy program for elementary school students. The council partnered with several Helena elementary schools to connect community volunteers with young elementary students. Book Pals meet once a week in the school library before the start of the day to read together for half an hour. The Book Pals volunteers have made an incredibly important commitment to helping local children become more proficient readers.

For more information on the Literacy Council

Andree Anderberg, NBCT Librarian,

Fun fall things at the Bozeman Public Library

The Bozeman Public Library was recently awarded a grant from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists to celebrate National Radiologic Technology Week (November 3-9, 2019).

More information on the grant can be found here:

The next round of funding will be available in January 2020. I encourage you to apply!

(Photo by Carmen Clark)

Fermented vegetables and Sauerkraut classes at Bozeman Public Library

This November the library offered classes on fermentation. The first one was a great hit with our patrons and the Sauerkraut class is scheduled for November 21. Patrons learned how and why to ferment foods as well as health benefits of fermented foods from a local health food coach. Each patron then assembled a jar to take home.

(Photo by Carmen Clark)


New Content on Montana Historical Society Site

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

Just when we thought The Madisonian project was finished the Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library discovered we were under budget and approved adding 1960-1963 to website.

Another new paper and city has joined Montana Newspapers. The Melstone Area Foundation has made it possible to include The Melstone Graphic (1911-1912) and The Melstone Messenger (1914-1916, 1918, 1922-1939).

Also I’d like to draw you’re attention to a recent blog post about our current National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant. Title selection has been completed, and this post both has the list of titles and date ranges selected (check to see if your paper has been included) but it also has a discussion of a few factors that go into determining if a newspaper title is worth digitizing. If you ask me about digitizing your newspapers, these are some of the things I’m checking.

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

Natasha Hollenbach

Digital Projects Librarian

Montana Historical Society


Submissions Open for the February 2020 Issue!

REMINDER: The submission deadline for the February newsletter is January 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: