a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[ August 2016 Vol. 34 Issue 4 ]
Big image

This issue sponsored by NCCE.

To submit a proposal for the 2017 conference, drop by before September 23rd, 2016. Questions? Contact Sally Bouvia at (208) 292-2529 or by email at

Big image

Click HERE for the full-size image!

**NCCE now offers a full service E-RATE program for schools & libraries!**


Big image

A Fond Farewell.

by Samantha Hines, Outgoing President of the Montana Library Association

Dear MLA members,

I have some good news and bad news. I have accepted the position of Associate Dean of Instructional Resources at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington, and will be starting there September 1. While this is my dream job in my dream location, I am very sad to leave MLA behind, particularly during my presidential term. I've spoken with the Executive Board and we have a plan for Lisa to take on the presidency early and have Dawn serve as vice president until the next election. I really regret not being able to follow through on the many great things coming up this year for MLA—a new public library directors mentoring program, revitalized professional development grants, lots of great advocacy training, and of course the retreats and conference. But I know you are in good hands and I hope to see you around the region sharing about all the things that Montana libraries and library workers do!

Best wishes and until we meet again,

Samantha Hines

Big image

An Unexpected Journey.

by Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Interim President of the Montana Library Association

Although I am taking on the MLA President job a bit sooner than I expected, I am happy to step into the role. A big thanks to Sam for all she did in the few short months of her MLA Presidency term--organizing the board retreat in June, choosing the keynote speaker for our conference in 2017, selecting committee chairs, and much more. Judging by how she started, I trust Sam's term as President would have been exciting and fruitful for the members of MLA. In taking over from Sam, one of my big goals for this year, aided by our trusty MLA Webmaster Stephen Haddad, is to revitalize and upgrade the MLA Webpage. It's been some time since the MLA Webpage has had a new look and I think it is ready for a make-over. Hopefully, we can also organize the materials on the page in a fashion that will make them more attractive and easy to find as well.

I have recently begun thinking of librarians as conduits. Librarians of all types are often the "middle man" in the flow of information between the patron who needs the information and the owner of the information who wants to share it. It is amazing to me the connections that librarians have. I sit on a number of statewide law-related and access to justice committees and inevitably there is a need to get information from that particular group to the citizens of our state. I always volunteer to share the information with librarians because librarians can deliver information into the hands of the people that need it better than anyone else can. Whether that's done through signs on a bulletin board, classes on that topic, or referral from a reference desk--librarians are experts at knowing which individual needs which type of information. And they share just because they can. Because they want to be helpful.

Bottom line--I think we all become librarians because we want to help people. And I love that! I look forward to leading such a helpful and smart group of people. Please let me know if there are things you would like MLA to focus on in the next year. Your suggestions and ideas are greatly welcome. I look forward to seeing you all at some of our upcoming events including fall workshop and the ASLD/PLD Retreat in Chico. By the way, those little twins that I used to haul with me to the Chico retreat--they just turned 13 this week! Forget helping your patrons--help me!

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson


News From Our Affiliates :

- Eileen Wright: News from MPLA

- Tammy Ryan: Montana Magazine Celebrates

News From MLA :

- John Finn: Montana Legislative Session is Fast Approaching

- Cara Orban: ALSD & PLD Retreat Update

- Mary Guthmiller: MLA Executive News

- Jim Kammerer: New Partnerships for the Intellectual Freedom Committee

- Debbi Kramer: Time to Renew Your MLA Membership!

- Carly Delsigne & Jonna Underwood: PLD Interest Group News

- Lynde Roberts: SLD Division Update

News From MSL :

- Sara Groves: Staffing Changes at the State Library

- Jo Flick: MSL Replaces Fall Workshops with New Training Events

Programs, Promotions & Projects :

- Debbie Stewart updates us all on Summer Reading at Great Falls Public Library

- We all ought to Duck & Cover at the Library, according to UM Mansfield's Susanne Caro

- Love the Laptop Cart: insights from Jason Greenwald

- Jonna Underwood reports how Sheridan County Library took home the Rural Gateways STEM education grant

- ImagineIF Libraries hosted a Play Expo in Kalispell

- Eileen Wright brings us notes on Summer Reading Book Bingo at MSU Billings

- New Programs from the University of North Texas

Marginalia :

- Micro-Reviews

- From the Executive Director’s Desk

- From the Editors


Big image

by Eileen Wright, Montana State University Billings Library

  • Registration is open: MPLA is joining with Colorado Library Association for this year’s joint conference: MPLA/CALCON16. The upcoming conference Innovate, Inspire, Connect, is set for Oct. 20-22, 2016 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado. Click HERE to register.

  • MPLA AWARDS: Do you know a deserving individual in the library field who should be recognized for their accomplishments? If so, please nominate them for an MPLA Award! The awards will be given at the 2016 MPLA Joint Conference with the Colorado Association of Libraries in Loveland, CO, October 20-22, 2016. The Awards Nomination Form is available on the MPLA Website:

  • Professional Development Grants: Are you member of MPLA? Remember if you need money to attend the MPLA conference or another professional conference, workshop, seminar, or training? Professional Development money is available for MPLA members, which can be used towards all of these. For full details, check out this link:

(Eileen can be reached at


Big image

Montana Magazine Turns 65!

by Tammy Ryan, Montana Historical Society

This year, Montana The Magazine of Western History celebrates sixty-five years in print. The magazine’s origins date back to April 1950, when the Montana Historical Society (MHS) Board of Trustees decided that a “living magazine” ought to be published. With its first issue in 1951, the magazine carried the motto “to preserve, to publish, and to promote interest in the history of Montana.”

Montana continues to uphold this legacy. Today, the magazine circulates to nearly 8,000 MHS members, subscribers, and newsstand customers. Because it publishes leading scholarship on the history of the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, the magazine is also a membership benefit for many who belong to the Western History Association, which promotes the study and teaching of the North American West.

Each issue contains 3-5 full-length articles, book reviews, and advertisements for friends of the magazine and the society. Widely celebrated for its illustrations, the magazine features photographs, art, and maps, some of which now appear in color, from both collections both public and private, including MHS’s own holdings. Articles are peer reviewed to ensure accuracy, and the magazine is used around the world by educators, authors, filmmakers, genealogists, and researchers in almost every field imaginable. Many readers and libraries take pride in owning complete sets.

The cover of the first January issue in 1951 honored the Treasure State’s heritage of timber production with a wood-grain cover. In similar fashion, April’s cover drew inspiration from the sheep-raising industry, July the cattle industry, and October the mining industry. Some of these earlier issues have been known to sell for as much as $100-$250 apiece!

Accessibility to the reading public remains a chief priority of the magazine’s staff. The MHS web site offers a free searchable index online, and back issues of the magazine are available at hundreds of libraries and electronically throughout the world on the database JSTOR.

Inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and with a growing list of awards from organizations such as the Mountain-Plains Museums Association, National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Center, Western Writers of America, Westerners International, Wild West History Association, Forest History Society, Army History Foundation, Wyoming Historical Society, and Envirotech, the magazine’s success would surely please the board members whose original vision led to its creation!

Happy birthday, Montana! To purchase back issues, order a subscription, advertise, or become a member of MHS, please visit, or friend the magazine on Facebook (Montana The Magazine of Western History).

Big image

(Tammy can be reached at or 406-444-4708.)


Big image

Montana Legislative Session is Fast Approaching

by John Finn, Lewis & Clark Library (Helena)

January will see the beginning of a very important legislative session for Montana’s Libraries and now is the time to reach out to your legislators and your local candidates for the Legislature.

At risk this session is the statutory funding from MCA 22-1-327 or, State Aid - Per Capita - Per Square Mile funding. That statute is set to sunset on July 1, 2017. The State Library has proposed new legislation that would move the expiration date of that funding to July 1, 2023. If passed, that time frame would allow for an increase in funding to individual libraries because the funding is set at “40 cents multiplied by the total number of residents of the state as determined by the most recent decennial census of the population produced by the U.S. bureau of the census.” The 2020 census will show an increase in the number of residents in Montana and thus an increase in funding.

Consider inviting your current legislators and candidates to your library for a tour, a cup of coffee, or a chance to meet with your Friends group or Library Board. Now is a great time. Get them in your doors before their campaigns get too busy to make those personal connections. Make sure the legislators and candidates know how important this vital funding is to your library. Show them examples of the positive effects this funding has had for your community. Experience has shown that personal stories of how the funding has affected your library and patrons is a powerful tool. These stories are the best way for legislators and candidates to know about your library.

Once the session begins, you can keep track of the progress of this bill by using the LAWS system. This is the Montana Legislature bill tracking database. It can be found here:$.startup?P_SESS=20171

And finally, I strongly urge you to come to Helena during the session to attend the Montana Library Legislative reception. This is MLA’s chance to mingle with, and show off to our state’s legislators and it is always an enjoyable evening. Last session there were far more legislators than librarians. We would love to see a great turnout of librarians this coming session.

If you have any questions or concerns about the coming session, please contact me.

(John can be reached at

Big image

ASLD & PLD : An Update on Chico!

by Cara Orban, Montana State Library

The ASLD/PLD retreat planning committee has received a wonderful slate of session proposals! We can’t share details about the program quite yet, but we think that this year’s lineup will have something to appeal to everyone, whether you work in an academic, special, or public library. And, as every year, you will have the opportunity to connect with your fellow librarians and share ideas and inspiration in the rejuvenating setting of Chico Hot Springs. Look for registration and program details in August.

(Want to add some event planning to your resume? Please contact your PLD Chair, Mitch Grady [], or your ASLD Chair, Cara Orban [], to join in the fun!)

Big image

MLA Executive News

by Mary Guthmiller, Montana State University Library

Your MLA Officers and Executive Director met via a conference call on Monday, July 25, 2016 to discuss protocol of filling the positions of President and Vice-President regarding the August 15 resignation of Samantha Hines.

Minutes of this conference call have been posted to the MLA website. You can find them here:

(Mary can be reached at

The MLA Intellectual Freedom Committee partners with the Freedom to Read Foundation

by Jim Kammerer, Montana State Library

The Montana Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) has a membership with the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF).

According to their about page: “The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association. FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect - and individuals to access - information.”

“The Freedom to Read Foundation was incorporated in November of 1969. Its charter lists four purposes:

  • Promoting and protecting the freedom of speech and of the press;

  • Protecting the public's right of access to information and materials stored in the nation's libraries;

  • Safeguarding libraries' right to disseminate all materials contained in their collections; and

  • Supporting libraries and librarians in their defense of First Amendment rights by supplying them with legal counsel or the means to secure it.

“The Foundation's work has been divided into three primary activities:

  • The allocation and disbursement of grants to individuals and groups for the purpose of aiding them in litigation or otherwise furthering FTRF's goals;

  • Direct participation in litigation dealing with freedom of speech and of the press.

  • Education about the importance of libraries and the First Amendment to our democratic institutions.

“The Foundation is devoted to the principle that the solution to offensive speech is more speech, and the suppression of speech on the grounds that it gives offense to some infringes on the rights of all to a free, open and robust marketplace of ideas.”

Browse the FTRF website for more information.

FYI, FTRF is one of the sponsors of Banned Books Week, September 25 – October 1, 2016. Consider having your library do a “Read-Out” event whereby people gather to read from books that have been banned or challenged. Celebrate our freedom to read.

(Jim can be reached at

Big image

Do You Know What Time It Is?

It is time to renew your dues for the 2016-17 Membership year.

July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2016

by Debbi Kramer, Executive Director of the Montana Library Association

How does membership in the Montana Library Association benefit its members?

  • MLA advocates for the Montana State Library. The State Library is not allowed to lobby on its behalf, so MLA hires lobbyists to assure that the State Library continues to be funded. MLA worked very hard to increase the State Aid to Libraries funding and will continue its work at the next legislative session. Your membership dues help MLA in funding the Montana State Library.

  • Member Discounts for conferences, retreats and Offline.

  • Professional Development grants.

  • Travel Grants to conferences, retreats and Offline.

  • Leadership training opportunities.

  • Opportunities to learn from your peers.

  • Chance to work on committees, interest groups or hold an office to govern your library association.

  • 10% Non-Profit Discount at JoAnn's Fabric every time you shop.

Visit the Montana Library Association website:

It's easy and fast to renew your membership. Click on the JOIN link on the MLA homepage and navigate to the bottom of the page to renew your membership online with PayPal or print a membership form and send a check.

Thank you for renewing your membership and please contact other Montana Librarians to join!

(For more information, you can reach Debbi at

PLD Interest Group News

by Carly Delsigne, North Jefferson County Library District (Clancy)

& Jonna Underwood, Sheridan County Library (Plentywood)

At the PLD-IG the directors asked Jonna and I to work on coordinating efforts and educational resources toward getting the Direct State Aid renewed in the coming legislative session. Though we've been through the logistics of many different good ideas, the only thing we know so far is that John Finn (Lewis & Clark, MLA Gov. Affairs) is putting together an excellent session at The ASLD/PLD Retreat in Chico this fall to help educate and coordinate efforts. I don't know that that is FOCUS worthy (especially as the sessions and schedule for Chico is not yet set), but, as there are newsworthy items, we will definitely keep you in the loop.

(Carly & Jonna can be reached at & respectively.)

SLD Division Update

by Lynde Roberts, Sandstone Elementary School (Billings)

Happy last few weeks of Summer SLD Members!

We'd like to let you know that there is still time to register for the Teacher Librarian Retreat at MSUB campus on Friday August 5. 6 OPI credits are available. We will start at 9:30 and go until 3:30 with lunch provided by the MSUB staff. It will be a great day full of professional development by TLs and for TLs. A note on parking that will also come with your confirmation email: you can park in any non-reserved, non-handicapped spot, come in and get a pass, then walk it back to your car. Don't mess with the paid visitor lots, we've got you taken care of.

I'm sad to announce that I will be stepping down as a SLD co-chair following the retreat. My husband has a fabulous job opportunity at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. We will be moving this Fall. I hope to secure a teaching position once we land. It has been great to get to know all of you around the great state of Montana. Thank you for your kindness and support. Dianne Mattila will continue on as chair.

P.S. Please feel free to submit your highlights to the newsletter to share with the Montana Library Community!

(Lynde can be reached at

NCCE Full Service E-RATE Program Available Now

Big image

Click HERE for the full-size image!

**NCCE's call for proposals to its 2017 conference closes on September 23rd, 2016!**

Big image


Staffing Changes at the State Library

by Sara Groves, Montana State Library

At the end of June, Sarah McHugh retired from service at the State Library. Sarah was hired as the director of the Statewide Library Resources Division in May 2011. In her tenure as director, leading staff and the Network Advisory Council, she took on many challenges including helping MSL to think about how we support pilots, projects, and programs to continue to improve library development services around the state. She was instrumental in helping to advise the library development study task force and her leadership continues to be essential as MSL evaluates opportunities to implement their final recommendations and as we look to the future of library development services. Prior to serving as the Director of Statewide Library Resources, Sarah also served as the Statewide Projects Librarian and as the Montana Shared Catalog director.

The Montana State Library is pleased to announce that Tracy Cook will serve as the new Director of its Statewide Library Resources division. The Statewide Library Resources division of the Montana State Library strives to help all Montana citizens receive the information they need in order to improve and enhance their lives by improving public library services and promoting cooperation among Montana libraries.

Ms. Cook will serve as one of the lead managers at the State Library. In her position, she will provide leadership and guidance related to library programs, services, and facilities to libraries throughout the state. She will also lead a professional staff of librarians that plans, develops, and implements programs, projects and pilots, and administers funds for new and improved library services throughout Montana.

The SLR division is also delighted to announce that Sara Groves will be our new Lifelong Learning Librarian beginning Monday, August 22. Sara will shape this brand new position to focus on developing a broader spectrum of literacy programming and resources, and will lead projects that leverage local and statewide partnerships to help libraries offer resources in workforce development, health and social services, and other focal areas pertinent to lifelong learning.

Finally, the Montana State Library is pleased to welcome back Erin Fashoway, a former GIS Analyst at MSL who will serve as the new State Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator replacing Stu Kirkpatrick who retired last October. The Montana State Library was granted authority in the 2013 Legislative Session to coordinate the development of geographic information system standards for creating land information for the State of Montana.

Ms. Fashoway will be the primary point of contact for coordination the State and Library’s GIS activities with partners around Montana. In this role she will will facilitate existing GIS activities in the state and promote new public and private/public partnerships and represent data partners in the conceptualization, development and implementation of land information used statewide.

(Sara can be reached at

Montana State Library Replaces Fall Workshops with New Training Events

by Jo Flick, Montana State Library

The Montana State Library has revised the format for their annual training event formerly called Fall Workshops. Starting in the Fall of 2016, MSL will sponsor two one-day seminar style trainings at different locations in the Treasure State each fiscal year. The intent is to provide hands-on training experiences in essential library-related topics of greatest interest to librarians, especially public librarians, so that every Montana librarian will have an easy drive to a quality free training experience every few years. To accomplish this, MSL will choose locations all over the state. Each event will feature at least one session directed primarily at public library trustees. These new training events are called MSL Workshops.

Like the former Fall Workshops, MSL Workshops will feature several 2-3 hour training blocks to allow for more seminar-style learning and hands-on activities. However, MSL Workshops will not have as many concurrent sessions. Depending upon the location, there may be two concurrent sessions to choose from, or there may only be a single line-up for the day. By scaling down the number of sessions at each event, the MT State Library can afford to offer the training in two different locations each year and visit many small towns around Montana that don’t have facilities for a larger event. Each event will have different training opportunities with a few repeated sessions based upon need. A librarian will be able to attend two or three sessions in a row and always receive new training opportunities. This new model will also clearly differentiate MSL Workshops from the Montana Library Association’s (MLA) Annual Conference, which offers training directed at all disciplines of librarianship and multiple concurrent 90 minute sessions from which to choose.

The first MSL Workshop will take place in Polson at the Red Lion Ridgewater Hotel on September 14th beginning at 9 am. Trustee training is planned for Tuesday, September 13th in the evening at the North Lake County Public Library. The selection of training topics for MSL Workshops is being guided by the recommendations of the 2015-16 Library Development Study Task Force and a subcommittee of volunteers from the Montana State Library’s Network Advisory Committee with input from MSL Library Development staff.

MSL will sponsor a lunch option at the hotel. When you register, you may select lunch and pay MLA directly. MLA will also plan a program for the lunch time. The MT State Library is very excited about this new partnership with MLA!

See for complete details and a full program. Registration is available through the MT Library Directory and opens on August 10th.

A limited number of rooms for September 13th are available at the Red Lion Ridgewater Hotel in Polson for the conference rate of $95 + tax, but must be booked by August 13th. Call (406) 872-2200 to reserve a room. We look forward to seeing you there!

(For more information about MSL Workshops or any of the professional development activities of you Montana State Library, contact CE Coordinator, Jo Flick


Summer Reading at Great Falls Public Library

by Debbie Stewart, Great Falls Public Library

Here at the Great Falls Public Library we had a Book Tasting Party! It was hosted by the "Page Forward" book clubs and sponsored by The Friends of the Library. The patrons were invited to come to the library any time in June and pick up an undisclosed wrapped book with a book tasting menu inside. They were instructed to read the book, come back on July 21st to discuss their book at the party where there would be food, fun, and good company.

We played a game similar to the Wheel of Fortune where they would guess the title out of the 100 non- fiction books that were checked out for the party. It was well attended and we had a great time. This was the 2nd annual Book Tasting Party, last year we did both fiction and non-fiction, this year was non-fiction and next year we plan to do the top 100 best books from the New York Times List.

[All photos by Alice Kestler]

(Debbie can be reached at

Duck & Cover at the Library

by Susanne Caro, University of Montana's Maureen & Mike Mansfield Library

Big image

Mansfield Library Exhibit and University Facilities has people asking: What is in the can?

Sometimes it really is all about timing. When the local newspaper heard that the University of Montana needed to dispose of a large amount of fallout shelter rations, some of those cans were already part of the Mansfield Library exhibit Duck and Cover! Fact and Fiction of the Nuclear Age. Soon the library was receiving questions about the supplies: how old were they? What where they? And how could the public get some before they were thrown away?

The literal contents of the Cold War era fallout shelter can is far less interesting than everything else it embodies. The “biscuits” are made of flour, sugar, and soy but represent fear, survival and hope. After World War II, as more countries developed their own nuclear programs, there was a growing concern that the devastation unleashed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be felt in the United States. As political tensions increased between the United States and first Russia, then China, both our former allies, nuclear war became a palpable threat.

The U.S. government knew the type of devastation nuclear weapons caused and started to develop plans for dealing with an attack. Government officials had to seriously look at how to deal with communication, health, food, transportation and governance should an American city by bombed. There were also the psychological effects of the bomb and the fear of being a target to consider. Even if the nuclear war many feared never manifested, how would the government instill trust and hope in the average citizen?

One answer was to prepare and create plans for dealing with a nuclear emergency. Original plans in the late 1950’s focused on evacuation of a targeted population. But what if there wasn’t enough time to warn a city and implement the mass movement of people? In 1961 the government pushed self-preparedness in the form of home shelters, making booklets containing plans on creating your own shelter available to citizens. These plans were about surviving if one or more bombs were dropped. There was some evidence to support basement shelters effectiveness in increasing a person’s chance of living through a nearby attack but they were not bomb shelters. The basements with water and canned goods were intended to shield the inhabitants from radiation, however, a well-designed and supplied shelter was beyond the resources of many Americans. A better solution was necessary and the answer was the creation of community shelters.

Buildings were evaluated for suitability as shelters and added to local community emergency plans. Court houses, post offices and private business bore signs directing people to basements and maps were mailed to residents to show where they could find the nearest shelter. This was about empowering people and providing a sense that there were steps individuals or families could take to protect themselves. The Office of Civil Defense distributed educational films and booklets on everything from how to wash fallout from fruit to how to assist a birth. With shelters established and citizenry informed the next step was to stock the shelters.

In 1962 the Office for Civil Defense Mobilization contracted with suppliers for 41 million dollars in rations, the equivalent of over $300 million today. The resulting 250 million pounds of food were distributed around the country. By 1964 there, were enough shelters for 63 million people and enough food for 58.8 million people (the estimated U.S. population in 1964 for 191,888,791). Tins containing 14lbs of dense, graham cracker-like biscuits wrapped in brown wax paper and tins of the same size filled with yellow and red lozenge-shaped candies filled shelters around the country.

The nuclear apocalypse never came. The supplies for the shelters eventually were scavenged, thrown away, or left in closets where they were mostly forgotten. Now they serve as a reminder of the past, an example of national emergency planning and a relic of the hope and fear of those living in the nuclear age.

Duck and Cover! Fact and Fiction of the Nuclear Age ran from June 6th to July 29th but you can still see the online exhibit at

(Susanne can be reached at

Big image

East Side Mish-Mash

Non-Profits and Community Partners Host Free, Fun,

Family-Friendly Summer Fundraiser on Library’s South Lawn

by Paula Beswick, Director of the Bozeman Library Foundation

The Bozeman Public Library Foundation, Bozeman Police Foundation, Bozeman Fire Department, Gallatin Art Crossing, and Gallatin Valley Land Trust joined forces to provide an evening of family-friendly fun at the East Side Mish-Mash! On July 27, the Library parking lot and south lawn were filled with food, beer garden, games, live music, and activities for all ages.

Each organization featured special activities with raffle items and give-aways to help raise money and awareness for the important, collaborative work they all do in the community. Funds raised benefit each independently for specific projects. Library Foundation raised money for its bookmobile endowment campaign; Police Foundation for the new community outreach room at the Library; Fire Department for dress uniforms; Art Crossing to purchase pieces of public art; and GVLT for area trails.

Special activities included a kids’ bike rodeo, an egg toss amidst the Sculpture Park, smoke demo truck, fun relay races, giant chess games, and the main event of a Tug-of-War between Police Officers and Firefighters! Everyone who joined in the fun had an opportunity to learn more about each of these organizations who do so much to keep us safe, healthy, engaged, and informed.

Food and libations included MacKenzie River pizza slices, Luxe cupcakes, and Smooth Moves Smoothies, and beer by local brewery Bozeman Brewing Company. A portion of all sales benefited the organizations. As an event sponsor, Bridger Creek Boys played their energetic music steeped in old-time Bluegrass tradition while pushing the genre with “Newgrass.”

(For more information, contact Paula at 582-2426 or by email at

[Photo credits: Sarah DeOpsomer]

Dr. Strangebox or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cart

by Jason Greenwald, Bozeman Public Library

Please pardon the existential kick off, but what is a laptop cart, really? Strip away the locking doors and fancy metal siding and you are left with… a box. With wheels. And did I mention, said box with wheels will likely cost somewhere in the range of $350 - $1000 depending on its capacity and features.

Quick aside: If you or a loved one makes their living from manufacturing, selling, or assembling laptop carts, please understand that this article is tongue-in-cheek and I harbor no ill will toward them. Also, please stop reading right now.

I mean, what the heck? Laptops carts are on par with Ponzi schemes and Ronco products. (Say what you will about the Veg-o-Matic – it had a great name.) That’s why, when faced with the decision to house 12 new Dell laptops for the Bozeman Library’s recently repurposed teaching and meeting space, we chose brand “DIY.”

The team weighed a variety of solutions, but in the end we chose to start with a metal wire cart ($69.99 - sturdy and with casters), attach 3 power strips ($20) with zip ties (laying around) and call it a day.

So how does it work? We haven't hit the road with it yet, but as an immobile set of shelves it gets an A+. With the money we saved we can finally buy that Ronco Beef Jerky machine we've had our eye on. We suggest you try to find your ouwn "out of the box" solution and let us know how it goes.
Big image

(It may not look like much and it isn’t.)

(Jason can be reached at

Big image

Launching STEM Programming With a Rural Gateways Grant

by Jonna Underwood, Sheridan County Library (Plentywood)

The Sheridan County Library in Plentywood is pleased to announce it has received a $3,500 National Science Foundation grant from the Califa Library Group to provide science-based programs for adults. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) are popular topics for children's education, but rarely mentioned in relation to adults.

The programs funded by the grant are essentially “book club meets science café.” Attendees read a pre-announced popular book selection, then to come to the library for an event in which they discuss the book, and then watch and discuss a short human interest video where scientific ideas touched on in the book intersect everyday life.

Rural Gateways is funded through the National Science Foundation and was created through a collaboration of Dartmouth College, The Califa Library Group, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, Dawson Media Group, and the Institute for Learning Innovation.

Big image

(Jonna can be reached at

Play Expo at ImagineIF

by Aspen Bassett, ImagineIF Libraries Kalispell

ImagineIF Libraries hosted an all-day Play Expo for children on June 14 and 15 this year to kick off our annual Summer Experience program. A total of 963 people attended in all three locations, including 659 kids and 304 adults. The Play Expo consisted of multiple stations within the children’s departments of ImagineIF Bigfork, Columbia Falls, and Kalispell. These play stations included magnatiles on the mag wall, a rice bin with PVC pipes and funnels, engineering challenges and even a wind tunnel where kids built and tested their own parachute creations.

Each station not only inspired children with colorful toys and invitations to play but also provided opportunities for learning. Here at ImagineIF, we believe the best way to learn is through playful exploration. The new sensory bin with PVC pipe encouraged kids to create their own pipe systems in order to get the rainbow rice from point A to point B. Kids were unafraid of making messes as they experimented with physics, hand-eye coordination and team work to create their pipelines.

In one area, a simple collection of plastic cups, cubes, and Popsicle sticks were the building blocks for many a kid’s wild imagination. We left this station purposefully open ended so each child could explore the building tools in their own way. As a result, many kids used the tools for different purposes, from sorting colors to building towers, and all were successful. One young girl was so proud of her creation that she grabbed library advisor Deidre and asked that a picture be taken of her next to her colorful pyramid. Nearby, plastic parachute troopers and animals tried out their new gear as kids took turns putting them through the wind tunnel. One mother mentioned that her son loved the wind tunnel so much, they planned to make one at home.

Due to positive feedback, ImagineIF continues the format of themed storytimes with picture books read aloud staggered with songs and movement followed by sensory and open ended art activities. However, we are trying something new this year for children grades 1-6. Instead of a storytime and craft, we’re providing weekly interactive science experiments which capture the attention of mixed aged elementary students. From helping children build their own robots, to using a magnetic pull to balance five hex nuts on the tip of a mug, and even extracting DNA from a strawberry, school age children are oohing and awing through the demonstration before getting a chance to test out experiments for themselves!

Just because the Summer Experience at ImagineIF ends in August doesn’t mean the fun must stop! We’ll continue to inspire learning through play--turning each new day into a new adventure and those looming tasks into exciting quests. As we go about our days, it’s refreshing to stop and think “how can I play today?”

(Aspen can be reached at

Big image

Summer Reading Book Bingo at MSU Billings

by Eileen Wright, Montana State University Billings Library

MSU Billings library decided to do a grand book expedition and run a book bingo this summer. Students and staff have been having fun trying to get a BINGO and win a prize of course. It has turned into a competition on campus to see who can get a black out first? The staff book club has had fun trying to find a book with a blue cover, a book set in their birth state, or read that book that has been on your nightstand forever. The variety of books being read and discussed between friends has been fascinating and fun. Each time the book club meets, they are swapping titles trying to figure out if that one book title will get them their BINGO! The fun is happening all summer long, and it does not end till the students are back on campus.

Big image

(Eileen can be reached at

Big image

University of North Texas Now Offers Rural Library Manangement Certificate Programs

Please follow links to learn more about the online Undergraduate & Graduate certification in Rural Library Management programs now available through UNT:

An excerpt from the undergraduate certificate description is shown below.
Big image
Big image
Big image


From the Executive Director’s Desk

by Debbi Kramer, Executive Director of the Montana Library Association

Summer is certainly buzzing by! I’m in my office every day, but can’t seem to catch up or keep up! I would like to update you on a few things that I have been working on in the last several weeks.

As most of you know the 2017 Conference is set for March 29th – April 1st in downtown Billings at the Crown Plaza, soon to be the DoubleTree by Hilton, and the newly restored Northern Hotel. Conference planners have been selected and arrangements are in the works. In mid-August the request for conference programs will be sent out. Please be looking for the announcement on Wired MT and all will receive an invitation through Constant Contact.

Speaking of Constant Contact! MLA is trying this bulk email service for a year on a trial basis. With the use of Constant Contact MLA will be able to send email reminders for membership renewals, invitations to events, and lots of other uses. The email service is also available to MLA officers and representatives to get the word out.

MLA Board of Directors has added a couple of new links to the webpage. Under “What’s New” there is a new link with financial information. Check out the links and see what MLA has set as its 2016-17 Budget, how 2015-16 Budget looks at the end of the fiscal year and bank statements to relay what MLA has spent on bills each month. Under the “Governance” link, meeting reports from MLA officers, committee chairs, Interest group chairs and others of interest to members are displayed. With these two links, MLA members will have all the information concerning the association, and as always if you have questions or concerns, please contact your MLA President or Executive Director.

The 2018 MLA Annual Conference will be held in the Grantree Inn in Bozeman,

April 11th- 14, 2018. Please mark your calendars and save the date.

One final item, on July 13th the United State Senate confirmed Dr. Carla Hayden as the new Librarian of Congress. It is very important to thank Senator John Tester for his “yes” vote. It is equally important that we contact Senator Steve Daines and voice our concerns about his “no” vote. Dr. Hayden was confirmed by senators from both sides of the Senate aisle. It should have been a non-partisan vote. As Executive Director of MLA I have contacted Senator Daines and ask for his rationale with a “no” vote. I will keep the MLA members updated with any replies I receive.

Have a great remainder of your summer!

(For more information, you can reach Debbi at

Big image

From the Editorial Desk

Hello Dear Readers,

Since taking the reigns as an editor last summer I’ve learned a lot about how MLA functions and the amazing resources that are our individual members. I’ve come to view the FOCUS not only as a communication outlet, but also as a tool for building community within our association. This is something I hope you can agree with and capitalize on. If you find any part of the newsletter interesting or helpful, I urge you to reach out to the contributor and share your thoughts with them. Ask them a question, share praise or offer to partner on a project. Do this and you may discover that networking via the newsletter can lead to interesting possibilities you can’t yet imagine.

As always I express the heartiest of THANK-YOUs to all who responded to the call for news items and articles. Recently I confided to Kendra that as we plan each issue I have to squash down fear that there will be nothing to show for our efforts but blank space. Thankfully this idea is unfounded. When we ask, you graciously give despite having a million-zillion other things to do. You pitch in and we’re all the better for it!

And now for some Team FOCUS behind-the-scenes business:

  • is the new email address dedicated to the newsletter. Please use it if you have any FOCUS related correspondence.
  • We have begun preparing guidelines to pass on to the next set of editors. (Hint: Consider volunteering in 2017!)
  • In order to help the newsletter reflect the interests of all MLA members & help you prepare articles, we plan to adopt this schedule for the duration of our appointment as editors:

OCT: Focus on School Librarians
DEC: Special Year-End Highlights
FEB: Focus on Academic Librarians
APR: Focus on Special Libraries & Librarians
JUN: Focus on MLA Conference & New Officers
AUG: Focus on Public Librarians

  • We are looking for ways to provide content of interest to our Trustees and other library supporters. Please email us with your ideas!

  • We are working to ensure back issues created using Smore software are web archived.

Thanks for reading and sharing this issue with your colleagues! Now go enjoy the rest of your summer!


Caroline Campbell


You really went to the mattresses for us this month, FOCUSers! Whenever I sit down to plug your articles and other contributions to this newsletter, I'm overwhelmed by just how much fantastic work is being carried out every day in this state--work that exerts powerful influence far beyond Montana's boundaries. You make this newsletter great, which is lovely, but each of you is a force for good in the lives of thousands, whether acting as an advocate for intellectual freedom or providing STEM programming to the underprivileged and under-resourced or ensuring a community has access to up-to-date technology or throwing a midnight Harry Potter & The Cursed Child book launch party. (Those who did are too groggy today to write an article about it for us.) And ya'all are just plain fun to work with! I for one am grateful for the mentorship and friendship I have received from my fellow librarians, and want to thank you for doing what you do. You change the conversation. Every day.

Warm regards,

Kendra Mullison



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:

Please send address changes to:

Debbi Kramer (Executive Director)

Montana Library Association