a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[ December 2016 Vol. 34 Issue 6 ]



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Who will you nominate?

by Carly Delsigne, North Jefferson County Library District

We all know people who go above and beyond for libraries, who work tirelessly, and who deserve to be recognized. Nominate them!

The Montana Library Association would like to help you acknowledge them. We want them to feel special, appreciated, and honored by their good library works, but, in order to do that, we need you to nominate them!!

The Awards Committee invites you to send in your nominations for the 2017 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 third Monday in January (January 23, 2017) 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

  • 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

Full NOMINATION GUIDELINES are available via the 'Quick Links' section of MLA homepage:

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

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MLA Photo Contest

by Stephen Haddad, Missoula Public Library & MLA Webmaster

Do you have pictures of Montana’s great outdoors? We are seeking image contributions to be displayed on the MLA website. MLA’s motto is “from the mountains to the prairies” so we would like to feature images which reinforce Montana’s scenic beauty. If you have a great picture from a recent hike, road trip or night on the town then we would love to see it! Selected images will be displayed on the MLA website. Top finalists will be featured on the MLA website and one grand prize finalist will be selected to receive a year’s free MLA membership!


1) Images should feature Montana landscapes or Cityscapes

2) Images should not contain recognizable people

3) Images should be submitted in .jpg or .png format

4) Images should have a file size of no more than 2 mb.

5) Images should be no more than 2000 pixels long

6) Submissions should be emailed to with a subject line: “photo contest”

7) Submissions should include (in the email body):

  • Name and associated library of submitter
  • Approximate location of image subject

Submissions are made with this implicit understanding:

"By submitting this image I allow the MLA webmaster to modify the image as necessary and to display the image on the MLA website."

MLA Handbook on FOCUS

by Yours Truly, the FOCUS Editors

Per the MLA Handbook regarding the FOCUS newsletter:

“The editor(s) should publish the guidelines in brief form at least once a year in the Montana Library Focus itself and they should be distributed to all Board members, committee and interest group chairs at the beginning of each fiscal year.”

Focus - Publication Standards and Guidelines

  1. Montana Library Focus is published by the Montana Library Association as its official vehicle for communications. It is published six times a year in the months of February, April, June, August, October, and December. The deadline for submission of material follows:

  2. January 20 for the February issue

  3. March 20 for the April issue

  4. May 20 for the June issue

  5. July 20 for the August issue

  6. September 20 for the October issue

  7. November 20 for the December issue

  8. Send submissions of reports, news releases, or features to: Focus Editor

  9. Submissions in electronic copy are preferred. Acceptable formats include .doc, .docx, .pdf, .tiff and .jpeg. If an electronic copy cannot be emailed to the editor, a copy may be submitted, via post, on a CD. If no disk copy can be sent, please submit text in clean, scan able copy. Use facsimile only upon request from the editor.

  10. Reports should cover the business of MLA committees, divisions, or interest groups; for example, meetings, activities, announcements, upcoming events. As a general guideline, keep reports to 700 words or less. Please contact the editor prior to submitting any report significantly longer than this.

  11. News releases are brief announcements of interest to Montana librarians, but not related to official MLA business; for example, personnel news, grants received, programs held, new services offered. News releases should be 500 words or less.

  12. Features are any article-length (1000 plus words) essay, discussion, interview, research paper, or other form of expository writhing. Please submit complete manuscript or contact the editor for details.

  13. In general, writing in the third person is preferred for reports and news releases.

All manuscripts must be double-spaced with wide margins. Indicate your name, address, affiliation, and phone number. For other stylistic or formatting guidelines, refer to the Chicago Manual of Style.

Please email submissions to

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ALA resources for MLA

by Heather Dickerson, Lewis & Clark Public Library

Just an FYI about new resources being released by the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy to help familiarize the newly elected officials of the roles libraries play in communities around the country. Have a look:

There is also a YALSA resource about supporting youth in the wake of the election:

Postcard Campaign

by Heather Dickerson, Lewis & Clark Public Library


Show our elected officials how much your library means to you! In the next few weeks, libraries around Montana will receive a packet of postcards. Through the end of the year, complete a “Libraries matter! This is my story:” postcard. After the New Year, postcards will be collected and displayed at the Montana Library Association’s Library Legislative Day. This project is facilitated by the Teen Advisory Group at Lewis & Clark Library. For more information, please contact Heather Dickerson, Teen Services Librarian at Lewis & Clark Library at or (406) 447-1690 x 132.

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MLA Gov Affairs Committee

by John Finn, Lewis and Clark Library

Legislative Session News and Notes:

Greetings fellow Montana librarians. The 2017 Montana Legislative Session is right around the corner. In fact, as I type this on November 22, it is a mere 39 days away.

At the July MLA Board meeting, the Board set the top three legislative priorities for this session. In order of importance, they are:

1. Supporting and passing Per Capita/Per Square Mile State Aid;

2. Supporting, backfilling, and fully funding the State Library's budget, as well as supporting the State Library in the exercise of its full budgetary authority;

3. Track, inform, and lobby all non-budgetary bills that may impact libraries during the session, taking special care about bills that concern coal funding, broadband, filtering, censorship, privacy, intellectual freedom, tax levy sunsets, school librarians, and library districts.

On the first priority, Per Capita/Per Square Mile State Aid, I would like to report that a draft bill has been submitted by Representative Frank Garner of Kalispell on behalf of the Montana State Library. An LC number has been assigned to that bill draft and you can follow its progress on the LAWS database with this number LC0824. The LAWS database can be found here:$.startup?P_SESS=20171

The Government Affairs Committee will keep members informed of progress of bills and actions needed on library related issues throughout the session. You will be notified with clear and detailed instructions from the Government Affairs Committee and the MLA Lobbyist Nanette Gilberston when MLA needs your help.

One action I can make sure you know about right now is that your attendance is needed at the Montana Library Legislative Reception on Wednesday, January 18. Please go to your login page at the Montana State Library Directory to register for the reception and for the two days of CE surrounding Legislative Day. You will learn about the Montana Library Association’s 2017 Legislative priorities with emphasis on renewing the increased state aid to libraries as well as talking points for Library Legislative Day. You will also learn from your peers and from MLA’s lobbyist how to engage with Montana legislators and gain their support for Montana libraries. And finally, you will gain skills on the appropriate role for library staff, trustees, friends groups, and other supporters to maximize your influence and achieve the best possible outcome in the session.

The reception itself is a great way to mingle with elected officials from all over the state. It is a prime opportunity to make legislators aware of what we do, how we do it, and what dramatic effects we have on our communities. The reception will take place between 5:30 and 8:30 on Wednesday, January 18 at the Montana State Library.

This is a very important evening on the Montana Library Association’s calendar. Because it is such a significant evening, we are always grateful for any additional help your Friends groups or Foundations can offer. If you can’t attend, monetary donations for support of the event are also important. We use the funds to host the reception, but more importantly, to hire a photographer to take and process photos of the legislators for their READ posters. At the last legislative reception, MLA made more than 120 READ posters and shipped the posters to the legislator’s constituent libraries, as well as sending electronic files of their posters to their offices to print.

If you wish to make a donation for the reception, please make checks payable to Montana Library Association and mail them to:

John Finn

Lewis & Clark Library

120 S. Last Chance Gulch

Helena, MT 59601

Please visit the State Library’s Directory and sign up for the Library Legislative Day and let us know as soon as you can if you plan to attend. This is an all-hands-on-deck session. We will need to your support and we will need to know you’re ready to help.

If you have any questions about this session, please contact me at

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MLA Tech Services Interest Group

by Laura Tretter, Montana Historical Society Research Center

Did you know OCLC offers free training in Connexion, the software used for finding, creating, and editing bibliographic records? Using live and recorded trainings as well as prepared tutorials, they have you covered.

Training includes MARC record basics, Connexion overview, searching, editing, and original cataloging. They offer a module based series that goes through exactly what you need to know to successfully use the software. I have gone through all the modules more than once.

Training is provided separately depending on the Connexion experience you prefer.

Check it out:

Professional Development Committee

by Sheila Bonnand, Montana State University Library

The MLA Professional Development Committee is pleased to announce its next call for grant applications. The deadline is January 1, 2017 for this round of grants. What’s available?

  • Two $50 grants are available to members who want to attend Offline.
  • Fifteen $150.00 MLA Conference Grants are available for members to attend the MLA annual conference. Priority for up to 5 of the grants is for members who are new to the profession and to MLA.

Professional Development Grants up to $800 are available to MLA members wanting to attend a national or regional conference or professional development event. Grants are available to individuals who have maintained a minimum of three (3) consecutive years of MLA membership and who have not received a national grant from MLA within the last five (5) years.

Before submitting an application, please go to to review the specific criteria for each grant. You will also find the application forms there.

Previous 2016 grant recipients were Abbi Dooley, North Lake County Public Library District, and Nancy Royan, Wedsworth Memorial Library, who both received $50 Retreat grants to attend the ASLD/PLD Retreat and Jim Kammerer, Montana State Library, who received a $500 Professional Development grant to attend the Transparency Camp in Cleveland, Ohio.

Your PD committee,

  • Sheila Bonnand
  • Kirsten Bryson
  • Pam Carlton
  • Jeanne Ferris
  • Diane Mattila
  • Hannah McKelvey
  • Laura Tretter
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Teddy Bear Sleepover

by Cindy Patterson, Billings Public Library
Billings Public Library Teddy Bear Sleepover 2016
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Color Me Beautiful : A Fall-Themed Adult Coloring Program

by Angela Claver, North Lake County Public Library District

On September 21, 2016 North Lake County Public Library in Polson presented a FALL PALETTE coloring program. Twenty-two people attended, enjoyed high quality coloring choices in a relaxed atmosphere, yummy theme related snacks and a virtual walk in lovely fall colors; thanks to the talents of technology specialist Heather Miles. An early evening session has been added to accommodate the after work coloring enthusiast. This later session had the addition of live music provided by local coffeehouse style musician, Charles Lutz.

Amidst all this colorful fun, interesting observations were made regarding participation. There was a variety of age groups including young & old, male and female. Repeat participants from earlier programs came in twos for a fun session together while others came singly and visited with someone new. One participant who had been studying vigorously for nursing boards took a much needed, appreciated break. A mother of small children found the same oasis of relaxation.

One dedicated library volunteer single-handedly distributed 50+ flyers, simply because she loves the event.

Three young boys especially liked the hot cocoa…with marshies!

And one dear male patron who has been battling cancer and is in treatment found us and was much soothed.

We have come to realize that this ‘frivolous coloring phenomenon’ is meeting real needs. We hope to continue offering coloring programs on a quarterly basis.

(All photos by Mary O'Brien)


by Patricia Spencer, Lewis and Clark Libraries (East Helena Branch)
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Eeva Vänskä, a journalist from Finland, visited the main branch of the Lewis & Clark Library in June and after returning home, contacted me about doing a story for their magazine, SAYL. (= a friendship organization between Finland and USA). Through a series of email exchanges, I answered questions about our Library, the services we provide, and a bit about our community. The article was printed in September. It was a fun experience to get to share information about our Library with someone in different county.
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Marshall the Miracle Dog

also by Patricia Spencer, Lewis and Clark Libraries (East Helena Branch)


National Ambassador for Bullying Prevention, Marshall the Miracle Dog will visit the East Helena Library with his message to “Show Courage. Be Kind.”

November 15, 2016 (Helena, MT)— Marshall the Miracle Dog will be “hopping” into town Saturday, November 19th at 10:30AM to visit the East Helena Branch of the Lewis & Clark Library to share his life changing messages of empathy, kindness, and forgiveness.

Cynthia Willenbrock, Marshall’s owner was shocked to learn that prior to 2015, Montana did not have an anti-bullying law and set about trying to connect with schools and service groups so that she could bring Marshall’s message to Montana youth. In the process she read an article about House Bill 284, the Anti-Bullying Bill, and the work done to get the Bill passed during the 2015 Legislative Session. “I reached out and now I’m thrilled to be bringing Marshall and his message to the families of East Helena.”

Marshall brings a message of perseverance and acceptance for all students, “Marshall provides a safe and unique voice to teach young people to be kind to one another; to accept others; and that everyone can overcome their obstacles to thrive,” explains Cynthia of the program.

Marshall, a 3-legged scar faced, rescue dog, found near death in a hoarding situation in Marshall, MO, proves after dying 3 times on the Humane Society’s operating table that he has a purpose to serve. Marshall, now a certified therapy dog, lives his life’s mission every day. Cynthia comments, “I was told Marshall had a reason he fought so hard to survive when I adopted him in 2011. It did not take long to see the connections children, and adults, made with Marshall. It was clear what we had to do. Shortly after writing a children’s book about Marshall’s story, I quit my pharmaceutical sales job, had Marshall trained as a Certified Therapy Dog, and began sharing Marshall and his story with others.”

Marshall’s message is so powerful that a National Social-Emotional Curriculum has been developed for schools and organizations to give Marshall an even larger platform. In collaboration with National 4-H, the Marshall Mentor Program, is a 6 week program to be delivered by trained High School students to bring Marshall’s cornerstone messages to middle school age students in communities across the country. This Mentor Program is the first of kind and has proven to speak directly to children right where they need it most, in their hearts.

Since the launch of his award winning children’s book (Marshall the Miracle Dog, 2012) and his movie (Marshall’s Miracle) released in theaters late 2015, Marshall and his owner have presented to 250,000 students coast to coast in over 550 schools.