a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[April 2019 Vol. 37 Issue 2]

Annual Conference Edition
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-Elizabeth Jonkel introduces this issue of FOCUS with a look ahead at the MLA Annual Conference scheduled for next Wednesday through Saturday in Helena.

Division and Committee News

-John Finn introduces the newly rejuvenated Government Affairs Committee and shares plans for this year’s legislative session.

-The MT Book Award Committee is looking for two new readers in the Silver Bow and Gallatin County regions.

-Submit a proposal to the MLA School Library Division Summer Retreat!

Interest Group News

-Join the Technical Services Interest Group at the annual conference!

-FOCUS co-editor Alice Ebi Kestler shares insight on the International Transgender Day of Visibility

MLA Conference Updates

-Mary Ann George builds interest for the MLA Annual Conference Keynote Speaker Wilmot J. Collins

-The Sheila Cates Scholarship Committee invites you to participate in the Cates Cow Tipping Comedy fundraiser on Thursday, April 11.

-If you can’t join in at the fundraiser, consider donating something to the silent auction to support Montana’s librarians.

-A big thank you to the MLA Conference Sponsors: JanWay Company, Noah’s Ark Animal Workshop, MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Lyngsoe Systems, and Northwestern Energy

-Announcement of the 2018 MT Book Award Winner: One-Sentence Journal by Chris La Tray

-Top Ten Reasons to attend the MLA Conference

-Invitation to the New Member/Past Presidents Breakfast at MLA

Affiliate News

-Young Reader’s Choice Awards voting is underway!


-National Library Week is April 7-13 and Melinda Gates is the Honorary Chair

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-Lewis & Clark Library is planning celebrations throughout the National Library Week

-North Valley Public Library listening sessions help identify future plans for the community and update the library’s mission statement and goals.

-Contact Amelea Kim if you need assistance downloading the online version of the Collaborative Summer Library Program manual.


-Congratulations, Susie McIntyre, on your promotion to Director of Great Falls Public Library.

-Belgrade Community Library’s Meghan Salsbury wins the YALSA/Baker & Taylor collection development grant.

-Aaniiih Nakoda College Library is one of 30 finalists for the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service!

-Cheryl Heser, former Director of Rosebud County Library and 2014 Sheila Cates Librarian of the Year has published her book “Walking at the Speed of Light”

-cbeppa, ImagineIF Libraries staff member, has written and illustrated the book Hop & Vetiver: Accidental Anarchists.


-The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services offers annual awards with a July 31 deadline. Consider applying!

-Northwest Archivists Annual Conference is in Bozeman from May 15-17, 2019.

-Submissions open for June 2019 Issue of FOCUS!


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(Google images, labeled for reuse.)

It’s that exciting time of year again when librarians from across Montana, from all kinds of organizations and institutions, gather together for their annual conference. This year the MLA conference will be hosted in beautiful Helena, MT at the newly refurbished Delta Colonial Inn. I look forward to seeing all of you and celebrating this year’s theme “Going the Whole Way” through our activities, our conversations and our sharing of knowledge.

I’ll call your attention to some of the planned highlights. First, MLA is honored to have Rich Harwood from the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in attendance for a pre-conference on his national initiative “Turning Outward.” Through this national tour, Rich has helped solve some of the most challenging problems in the hardest-pressed communities in America. He works on the ground to build capacity and coalitions for change to bridge divides. Rich will lead discussion on themes related to capacity building, civic engagement, awakening the human spirit, and finding your narrative for change. This pre-conference is included in member registration and is a unique opportunity for Montana libraries to be an active, collective force for community change.

We are also most fortunate to have Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins join us as our keynote speaker. Mayor Collins is an inspiring individual and politician who will share his story as a champion of social justice and force for local change. Eminent Montana author Rick Bass will close the conference at the Author Luncheon. A contributor to the New Yorker, winner of the O. Henry Awards and frequently recognized as a notable contributor to American non-fiction writing, Rick will share with us his views on nature writing and Montana.

Interspersed with these events, attendees will be lucky to hear from colleagues from across the state as they discuss their programs, initiatives and theories on librarianship in Montana. There will be fun activities like the Sheila Cates annual auction which raises funds for scholarships and is directly responsible for nurturing and sponsoring new Montanan librarians. The local planning committee has arranged for the fun tours and networking opportunities you’ve all come to expect.

I am so proud of Montana and the vibrant, inspiring community of librarians that strengthen their communities and citizenry every day. When we celebrate ourselves, we celebrate this great state. I’ve been happy to serve as your president this year. I will cherish the opportunities it has granted me to work and brainstorm with the Board on improving the Association and its mandate.

See you in Helena!
Elizabeth Jonkel

[ Elizabeth can be reached at ]


Legislative Session News and Notes

Greetings fellow Montana librarians. It has been a positive and productive Legislative session so far in 2019. We’re past the half way mark and winding down toward the finish line. MLA Lobbyist Nanette Gilbertson, State Library staff, and the Government Affairs Committee continue to monitor bills that might have potential interest or impact for MLA.

The newly rejuvenated Government Affairs Committee has done some great work this session reaching out to librarians in their geographic areas about needed action. We’re still not comfortable knowing that librarians are following through with requests. The committee has a Government Affairs member in each geographic region, who makes contact with Librarians. They would love to get feedback about what contact looked like when the local librarian reached out to their legislators. Did you reach out? Did you hear back? Was the interaction positive? Were there questions that you couldn’t answer? Please let your local Committee member know what you found out.

Please be ready to act on requested action from your Government Affairs representative. Your support is needed and recognized. Also, please take a look at the following Montana Libraries and Legislative Districts Web App created by the State Library. The app matches your library’s district to your legislator.

The Committee members are:

Anita Scheetz - James E. Shanley Tribal Library/Fort Peck Community College - Poplar

Ann Ewbank - Montana State University - Bozeman

Connie Behe – ImagineIf Libraries - Kalispell

Elizabeth Jonkel – Missoula Public Library - Missoula

Gavin Woltjerg – Billings Public Library - Billings

Honore Bray – Missoula Public Library – Missoula

Rachel Rawn - Havre

Jennie Stapp – Montana State Library - Helena

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson – Montana Innocence Project - Missoula

Nanette Gilbertson – MLA Lobbyist - Helena

Pamela Benjamin – TRAILS Libraries - Bozeman

Susan Gregory – Bozeman Public Library - Bozeman

Tracy Cook – Montana State Library – Helena

John Finn – Lewis & Clark Library - Helena

The Government Affairs Committee has monitored and acted on the following bills so far this session; HB 439 - Revise laws related to misrepresented service animals. MLA provided testimony in support of this bill to clarify the definition and purpose of service animals; HB 633 -Create digital library services state special revenue account. MLA offered strong support for this bill to provide additional revenue streams for the State Library; LC 3073 a bill to support Net Neutrality. MLA Government Affairs team met with Senator Bryce Bennett to offer support for this Bill when it is no longer in re-draft; Early on in the Legislative Session MLA was among opposition to House Bill 354: A bill to Restrict sexually explicit materials and sexually oriented businesses, which was a problematic bill concerning monitoring for sexually explicit materials in schools and libraries. It gave little guidance and imposed fines. The bill was quickly tabled in committee; and finally of course, MLA continues to support the State Library’s budget. The House Appropriations Committee completed their work on House Bill 2 and the bill will be heard by the full House. House Appropriations made no changes to the State Library budget so it still contains all of the Governor’s recommendations including funding for FTE.

We have high hopes for a positive budget outcome for the State Library this session. Jennie Stapp will keep us all updated.

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

John Finn, Chair - MLA Government Affairs Committee

Call for Montana Book Award Committee Members

Are you an avid reader of literature who always wished they could judge who is the best Montana writer of them all? Or, do you know someone who always recommends to you the best books written by a Montanan author or about Montana?

The Montana Book Award Committee is looking for two new readers from throughout the state to join in the fun of reading and reviewing books which are written by or illustrated by someone who lives in Montana, or which deal with Montana themes or issues. The Committee is most interested in finding readers from the Silver Bow and Gallatin County regions so that the Committee has good representation from across the state.

New readers would join up to nine others in reading approximately 20-30 books between Spring 2019 to Late Winter 2020. As a perk, you will attend an expenses-paid weekend in Chico Hot Springs in February 2020, when the winner of the Montana Book Award is selected.

If this appeals to you, please send me an email stating your interest in joining the Montana Book

Award Committee and why you would like to join. Or, if you would like to nominate or suggest someone as a reader, please send me their name (and contact information). I am accepting names until April 20, 2019. Please email your submissions to Visit for additional information about the Montana Book Award.

Elizabeth C. Jonkel

Chair, Montana Book Award

Call for Proposals: Diving into the World—School Librarians take it On: Fake News & Beyond

Proposals are being accepted for the MLA School Library Division Summer Retreat on July 23. This retreat is open to all librarians. The theme is Diving into the World—School Librarians take it On: Fake News & Beyond.

Each session is approximately one hour long. We can conduct a working lunch as well if you have an idea. Please throw your name in the pool!

Email your proposal with a summary of your talk- to Erin Regele at or Angela Archuleta at no later than April 30, 2019.

For those who can stay an extra day Dr. Faith Rogow will be speaking on Introduction to Media Literacy at the Bozeman Public Library on July 24 from 9:00-12:00

Dr. Faith Rogow, Ph.D., is the co-author of The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (Corwin 2012). She was the founding President of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, a founding editorial board member of the Journal for Media Literacy Education, co-author of NAMLE's Core Principles for Media Literacy Education in the U.S., and an original advisor to Project Look Sharp. A popular speaker, award-winning curriculum developer, and master teacher, Rogow is known for her creative yet practical approaches to teaching with children's educational media and for her groundbreaking work in developing media literacy education that is developmentally appropriate for early childhood. As a professional development specialist she has taught thousands of teachers, students, child care professionals, administrators, and parents to understand and harness the power of media. In the world of independent documentary film, she is also known for writing discussion guides with clarity, depth, and sensitivity - the "go to" person for handling controversial topics like racism, social justice, homophobia, human rights abuses, and more.





Technical Services Interest Group

Attending the MLA 2019 conference? The Technical Services Interest Group has two offerings to put on your schedule:

  • The Technical Services Interest Group meeting on Thursday, April 11 from 4:50-5:50 in the Helena Room. We’ll look at how the first year of our cataloging project has gone and where we see the project going in the future. We’ll also have time to discuss other issues the group raises in an informal and collegiate space.

  • Island of Misfit Items on Saturday, April 13 from 8:15-10:20 in the Helena Room. For the second year the IG is sponsoring an original cataloging session. In this session you will work with expert catalogers to create original catalog records in OCLC Connexion Browser. Bring any item that requires an original MARC record along with a photocopy of the title page and prepare for hands-on work.

Even if you are not able to attend the conference this year, you can still check out information about our cataloging project and find an online submission form on the MLA website at:

Recently cataloged Montana materials include:

  • One windy day by Mary Strachan Scriver.

  • Blackfeet paper trails: time-lines and bibliographies by Mary Strachan Scriver.

  • The Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project: helping our valley thrive.

  • Clifford Peterson interview, 1985. (oral history)

  • City of Helena and jurisdictional area parks & recreation plan.

  • Joint brand book of the Carbon Stock Protective Association and Clarke Fork Stock Growers' Protective Association.

  • When and how to go. Great Northern Railway, Montana Central Railway.

Submitted by

Laura Tretter
Technical Services Librarian
Montana Historical Society


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International Transgender Day of Visibility: March 31, 2019

(images from Google, labeled for noncommercial reuse.)

You may have missed it but March 31 was International Transgender Day of Visibility. Before I go further let me identify myself. My gender expression is cisgender (my gender matches the sex I was assigned at birth) female. I use the pronouns she/hers/her and I consider myself a transgender ally.

Perhaps you wonder why we need an International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The Human Rights Campaign website <> gives the following reasons for celebrating this day:

“Transgender people come from all walks of life. We are your coworkers, family and neighbors. We are 7-year-old children and we are 70-year-old grandparents. We are a diverse community representing all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as faith backgrounds.

“International Transgender Day of Visibility is honored every year on March 31 and is a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face.”

As librarians we come from a long tradition that celebrates diversity. The American Library Association (ALA) advocates Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) services are described on the ALA website.

“The Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) serves the Association by identifying and promoting library services that support equitable access to the knowledge and information stored in our libraries. ODLOS provides resources to library and information workers who serve traditionally underrepresented groups. Our outreach areas include:

“Additionally, ODLOS offers opportunities for libraries and librarians to highlight and share their outreach ideas through the Intersections Blog and through the Diversity and Outreach Fair held annually at the ALA Conference.” <>

In Montana the diversity of our communities is often made invisible or ignored. As librarians we see this diversity. However, gender non-conforming diversity is less obvious. The LGBTQ+ community is around us and with us. If we do not identify as LBGTQ+ we can identify as an ally. In order to do that we need to be open to learn about all people in our community. Otherwise we cannot serve them.

Here at ImagineIF Libraries we had the opportunity to do a workshop with Claire from EmpowerMT. She led us in some group discussions about gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, sexual attraction and romantic attraction. Claire gave us the handout “LGBT-erminology” developed by EmpowerMT and the UM Allies Program of University of Montana. The terminology used by LBGTQ+ people today is fluid. Although I had previous diversity training I found our session very helpful, especially the terminology discussion.

Beyond the basics of terminology we talked about the use of pronouns and names. Some library software allows card users to list a preferred name. The name can differ in gender from the name on a patron’s ID. When this information is available it is welcoming to every patron to use their name and pronouns of choice when addressing them. Using the pronoun that does not match the identity of the patron is unwelcoming.

If you would like to learn more about the diversity training available from Empower MT contact them at 2300 Regent Street, STE. 101, Missoula MT 59801 / 406-541-6891 / /

Of course as librarians we not only want to address people in a respectful way we also want to offer a broad range of resources for all our constituents. I would like to recommend two books.

The first is Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin.

A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book, Beyond Gender presents six transgender youth in their own words or interview format with photographs by author Susan Kuklin. These are each unique coming of age stories that help us see a glimpse into their emotional and physical journey to find their authentic selves. Kuklin makes clear that gender identity and sexual orientation are two separate variables. An appended interview with Dr. Manel Silva, clinical director of the Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) program at the New York City-based Callen-Lorde Community Health Center gives more information about trans issues.

The second book is Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani with beautiful illustrations by Monique Le.

Imani presents seventy one-page biographies of women and nonbinary advocates of justice and social change. These trailblazers come from communities that are traditionally left out of the history books or amended to fit society’s norm. You will find here women, people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, young people and people of faith—each one in vibrant color with phonetic pronunciation of their name. In the back you will find a glossary of terms, events, phrases, organizations and hash tags. Prepare to be amazed with the audacity found in each one of these biographies. A hopeful and celebratory book.

You can learn more in the article “Trans Info: A Primer on Transgender Issues”

by James Parrott published in the June 2018 FOCUS issue.

Submitted by Alice Ebi Kestler

[ Alice can be reached at ]


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MLA Annual Conference

Wednesday, April 10th, 9am to Saturday, April 13th, 12pm

2301 Colonial Drive

Helena, MT

Keynote Speaker: Wilmot J. Collins

We are honored to have our mayor, Wilmot J. Collins deliver the Keynote speech on Thursday April 11. He is a dynamic and engaging speaker.

Photo from

A short bio from the City of Helena Webpage follows.

“Wilmot Collins was born, raised and partly educated in Liberia, West Africa. Wilmot, a former refugee, arrived in the United States in 1994 and now resides in Helena with his wife, who’s a registered nurse at VA Montana and also an Army Reservist. Their daughter is Active Duty Navy, and their son is a senior at the University of Montana, Missoula.

“Presently, Wilmot is a Child Protection Specialist with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Montana, Helena College, and a U. S. Navy Reservist. Prior to working with MT DPHHS, Wilmot worked at VA Montana for many years as an Administrative Officer for Facility Management and also as a Public Affairs Specialist and Minority Veterans Program Coordinator. Wilmot is very active on several boards: United Way of Lewis and Clark Area, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance. Wilmot holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management.”

Submitted by Mary Ann George

Ready for some cow patty pitching?

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Or how about pin the tail on the bovine?

We hope you're ready for some down-home fun as the Cates Committee is bringing you COW TIPPING COMEDY at the 2019 Sheila Cates fundraising event at MLA on April 11!

The hilarious crew from Lewis & Clark Brewery has put together a show just for us librarians and will be providing some cow tipping fun for us in the Legislative/Judicial Rooms from 8:00-9:30 PM on Thursday, April 11.

Prizes for best farm-themed costumes! There is also the opportunity to win prizes for the best farm-themed table centerpiece. Librarians are clever--we know you'll come up with something amazing for your tables! Toss a cow patty, play pin the tail on the bovine, drink, eat, whoop it up! All to help support Montana librarians pursuing advanced degrees.

$10 now or $15 at the door. All the money raised from Cow Tipping Comedy goes to support Sheila Cates scholarships for Montana librarians. SPECIAL GUEST THIS YEAR! Dennis Cates, Sheila's husband, will be joining us for the event, as will past Cates scholars! Let's show them some love!

Please come join us. We need your help raising funds for scholarships! Plus, we know you will have so much fun! It's what everyone will be talking about the next day at don't want to miss it!

The MLA Sheila Cates Committee

Lisa, Jo, Jim, Anita, Della, Mary Anne, Mary, and Cherie

Would your group consider donating to the Cates auction?

If you can't attend the Cates Fundraising Event on April 11, you can still help support MT librarians pursuing advanced degrees!

Are you part of a:



-interest group?

-MLA committee?

Please consider getting together with your peeps to put together an auction item for the Cates Silent Auction at MLA (April 11-14, 2019). Exercise your creativity and help raise funds for scholarships for Montana's librarians.

Creativity at the individual level also welcome.

Please let Lisa know if you can donate to the Cates auction or if you have any questions! The Cates Committee would be so appreciative of your assistance!

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson

MLA Cates Committee Chair

[ Lisa can be reached at ]


MLA is pleased to announce that it has secured several sponsors for the April conference. Coffee will be available both Thursday and Friday, a Friday morning break will be provided, appetizers during the happy hour preceding the Awards Dinner will be available and speaker gifts will all be paid for by the following wonderful conference sponsors:

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2018 MT Book Award Winner

The Montana Book Award Committee met in Chico Hot Springs on Saturday, February 2 to select the 2018 winner. There was an outstanding list of nominees this year. After much discussion, One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large by Chris La Tray, published by Riverfeet Press, was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Montana Book Award.

An award ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 10 from 6:00-8:00 in conjunction with the Lewis & Clark Public Library reception at the 2018 Montana Library Association Annual Conference in Helena. Please also join us at the Montana Book Awards session on Saturday, April 13 at 8:15 at the MLA conference to hear about the award and the 2018 nominees.

See more about the rest of the book award selections in the article elsewhere in the newsletter.

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One of the best things about MLA's Annual Conference!

There are many, many wonderful things about the annual Montana Library Association Conference, but do you want to know what one of my very favorite events is at our annual conference?

The New Member/Past Presidents Breakfast!

This get-together has typically been held the Thursday morning of conference and this year is no exception. This year's New Member/Past Presidents Breakfast will be held Thursday, April 11 from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the Executive Room at the conference hotel. And it is open to anyone (new members' meal costs are covered). What I think is so fabulous about this breakfast is seeing all the new folks that have joined our profession and are so excited about their libraries and the work they are doing in them. This breakfast is a super supportive, engaging environment. New librarian members even get cheered! It's also amazingly meaningful to see the past leaders of our association, all in one place. You forget about all the astounding people who has served as MLA's President but when you see them in one place, you realize what a brain trust we truly have. Glimpsing Bruce Newell, Eva English, Renee Goss, and so many other rock stars of our Montana library world interacting with new librarians who may one day BE like them, is truly a wondrous and happy experience (well, no one will ever BE like Renee, but you get the idea).

Please consider attending the New Member/Past Presidents Breakfast at MLA, You will leave inspired. For our past--and for our future.

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson

MLA PR & Marketing Chair (and breakfast attendee)


Young Reader's Choice Award voting is underway. Young Montana readers in grades 4-12 are eligible to vote. The voting window is from March 15 until April 15th. Please have your young readers vote during this time and enter your votes online or send the totals to LouAnne Krantz by April 15th.

Montana's online YRCA voting site is now available:

There are 24 nominated titles in 3 divisions.

Junior Division (Grades 4-6)

  • The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

  • The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

  • Restart by Gordon Korman

  • Refugee by Alan Gratz

  • The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

  • The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey

  • The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Intermediate Division (Grades 7-9)

  • Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  • Exo by Fonda Lee

  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

  • Invictus by Ryan Graudin

  • The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturb

  • Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

  • Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

Senior Division (Grades 10-12)

  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Link to Paper Ballot created in Google Docs:

Thank you to all the Montana librarians who give their young readers an opportunity to vote.

LouAnne Krantz


Polson Middle School
111 4th Avenue E
Polson, Montana 59860 Phone: 406-883-6335

PNLA YRCA Representative Montana
YRCA Montana website

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Libraries = Strong Communities 2019 National Library Week April 7-13

Submitted via ALA Website by Alice Ebi Kestler, ImagineIF Libraries

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. The theme for this year is Libraries = Strong Communities.

April 7-13, 2019 is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and communities. Libraries are at the heart of their cities, towns, schools, and campuses. They have public spaces where people of all backgrounds can come together and connect.

Celebrations during National Library Week include:

  • Monday, April 8: State of America's Libraries Report released, including Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2018.

  • Tuesday, April 9: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, administrators, and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers. #nlwd19

  • Wednesday, April 10: National Bookmobile Day, a day to recognize the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make high-quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities. #BookmobileDay2019

  • Wednesday, April 10: Library Giving Day is a one-day fundraising event with the goal of encouraging people who depend on and enjoy public libraries to donate to their individual library system. #LibraryGivingDay

  • Thursday, April 11: Take Action for Libraries Day, a day to speak up for libraries and share your library story. #MyLibraryMyStory

  • Saturday, April 13: is Citizen Science Day, coinciding with the final day of National Library Week. SciStarter has a free guide for how libraries and library workers can get involved.

Melinda Gates is the 2019 National Library Week Honorary Chair

Over the last 20 years, Gates has invested more than $1 billion through her foundation’s Global Libraries initiative to enhance the power of libraries to improve lives. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she sets the direction and priorities of the world’s largest philanthropy. She is also the founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States.

On April 23, Gates will debut “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment. The candid and inspiring book traces Gates’ awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. It introduces us to Gates’ heroes in the movement toward equality, offers startling data and shares some of the moving conversations she’s had with women all over the world. Gates details the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge” change, and she provides simple and effective methods that each of us can use to make a difference.

(images and text from ALA National Library Toolkit Site)


Libraries strengthen their communities: celebrate National Library Week April 7-13

Submitted by Patricia Spencer, Lewis & Clark Library

During the second week of April, the Lewis & Clark Library joins libraries of all types in celebrating the many ways libraries build strong communities by providing critical resources, programs and expertise.

Library programs encourage community members to meet to discuss civic issues; work together using new technologies like 3D printing; or learn alongside one another in a variety of classes. Library staff also partner with other civic and service organizations to actively engage with the people they serve, always striving to make sure their community’s core needs are being met.

“Libraries are cornerstones of democracy, promoting the free exchange of information and ideas for all,” explained Lewis & Clark Library Director John Finn. “Libraries are the community’s living room. They also foster civic engagement by keeping people in formed and aware of community events and issues and libraries serve as a place where everyone can gather.”

In the spirit of community, the Lewis & Clark Library will offer Food for Fines during National Library Week to support Helena Food Share. “Each year during National Library Week, we offer an opportunity for individuals with fines to clear up their accounts,” explains Finn. “Simply bring in non-perishable food items, along with your overdue items, and we will waive your fines.” There are some restrictions to this annual fine-amnesty however, all materials must be returned and the patron’s account cannot be in collections.

For more information, visit the Lewis & Clark Library at 120 S. Last Chance Gulch or one of the branch libraries in Augusta, East Helena, Lincoln, and the Bookmobile. Visit the Library’s website at

North Valley Library Listening Sessions

By Scharyn Way, North Valley Public Library
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Following the Montana State Library’s Public Library Standards, “every two years the library gathers feedback on library services from library users and nonusers,” North Valley Library asked library patrons and community members to fill out a survey two years ago to share what they like about the library, and what they would like their library to be. In 2018 the survey was followed up by inviting representatives of community organizations to two different listening sessions. The listening sessions were hosted by Lauren McMullen from the State Library. The 51 attendees were asked about their hopes and dreams for the community. The answers focused on local businesses and developing the town.

At the conclusion of the listening sessions North Valley Library decided to work with local businesses hosting classes that are business related. Examples of classes include working with volunteers, classes on Excel spreadsheets and other basic business practices. The library is working with the Ravalli county economic development authority to host a series of classes. The first is Small Business Planning (specifically how to write a business plan). The library also developed an information reference sheet for patrons about local business training opportunities.

The information from the listening sessions and survey was also used to review the library mission statement and 3 year goals.

The new mission statement of the North Valley Public Library is to strengthen and support our community by:

  • fostering a welcoming and comfortable setting for all people to gather, explore, and discover;

  • promoting literacy and lifelong learning;

  • providing exemplary programming, service, and quality, timely materials.

The new strategic goals are listed on the library website

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Lauren McMullen and invited guests at one of the North Valley Public Library Community Listening Sessions.

(photo by Michael Howell)

[ Scharyn can be reached at ]

2019 Summer Reading Program Manual

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If case you have not yet downloaded the online version of the CSLP Summer Reading manual, there is still time to do that.

For space/science programming, take a look at the Montana State Library Summer Reading Webpage: There is a list of Earth and Space Science resources that you can use for your Summer Reading programming this year.

Each purchase of any CSLP “A Universe of Stories” program manual will also give access to the on-line version. For any further questions contact Amelea Kim:

Amelea Kim (she/her/hers)

Lifelong Learning Librarian

Montana State Library

P.O. Box 201800

Helena, MT 59620

Office: (406) 444-0224

Cell: (406)-431-0685

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Congratulations to Susie McIntyre New Director of Great Falls Public Library

Great Falls Public Library announced on March 20th that Susie McIntyre has been named the new Director of the Great Falls Public Library. Susie was the Information Services Librarian at GFPL for 9 years and the Collection Development Librarian for 3 years, as well as the Interim Director since the retirement of Kathy Mora in December 2018.

Susie's academic credentials include an administrative certification from the Montana State Library, Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington, and Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Montana. Her experience prior to coming back home to Great Falls includes serving as the Health Educator/Resource Librarian for Seattle & King County Public Health Department for 9 years.

"I’m a Great Falls girl—born and raised. The Great Falls Public Library was built the year I was born; I grew up coming to this Library and spending my nights voraciously reading. I am so honored to follow in the footsteps of Alma Smith Jacobs and the great leaders that have made the Library such an important part of our community. I look forward to building on that legacy and serving the people of Great Falls"

"So far, the hardest part of the job is cutting the ice-cream cake!" added Susie McIntyre.

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Kudos to Meghan Salsbury, YALSA Award Winner

Martinez and Salsbury win YALSA’s 2019 Baker & Taylor Collection Development Grant

(photo of Meghan Salsbury by Caitlin Wedding)

In a February 15 news release, ALA Member News announced the two winners of the YALSA 2019 Baker & Taylor Collection Development Grant: Elise Martinez, the Teen Services Specialist at the Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, Illinois and our own Meghan Salsbury, Youth Services Librarian at the Belgrade Community Library.

Martinez and Salsbury will each receive a grant of $1,000 for collection development.

Salsbury responded to the news: “I am delighted and honored that the Belgrade Community Library has been chosen as a recipient of the YALSA 2019 Collection Development Grant. This grant will help us build our young adult audiobook and non-fiction sections so we can provide new and diverse resources for the teens in our community.”

See the full news release at

IMLS Names Finalists for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Social media campaign to feature stories of museum and library excellence

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Congratulations to Aaniiih Nakoda College Library for being selected as one of 30 finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service!

Throughout March and April, IMLS will celebrate the excellent community work of the 30 finalist institutions through its six-week Share Your Story social media campaign, beginning March 12. Anyone with a story to tell about these libraries and museums is encouraged to share comments and pictures with #IMLSmedals and tag IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

For full article see

Cheryl Heser has Book Published

Cheryl Heser, former Director of Rosebud County Library and 2014 Sheila Cates Librarian of the Year, had her book Walking at the Speed of Light published by Morgan James Publishing. The book offers help for people dealing with grief, depression and other forms of darkness.

Cheryl is offering a free copy of the book to any public library in Montana, particularly those with budget challenges. Libraries can help with shipping by contributing $4.00, but this is not required. Contact Cheryl at for your library's free copy. More information is available at

Hop & Vetiver: Accidental Anarchists by cbeppa

In a post-apocalyptic America Vetiver Westing's family is moving to New New York; her parents think it is best for her. Vetiver just wants to go home. While on the journey to New New York a stowaway phantom named Hop smashes into her life, asking for help to escape those who pursue him. Hop helps Vetiver escape her parents and the two head west to Former California. First, however, Hop advises Vetiver to join a violent rebel faction. "As they travel through a riot-ravaged city, a desolate plain and a portal into a war on the other side of reality, Vetiver begins to wonder if Hop is helping her at all . . . or leading her deeper into danger. If she follows him, she might never get home. If she doesn't, she risks losing her only ally." (From summary on back of book.)

This coming of age story is written by an ImagineIf Libraries staff member who goes by the penname cbeppa. She also illustrated the book. The fast-paced action will keep you reading as you follow Vetiver’s dual-world adventures on her journey home.

ImagineIF Libraries will be hosting a book signing event on May 17th from 5-6 in Kalispell. Please join us!

Submitted by Alice Ebi Kestler


The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services

The Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) offers annual awards that recognize outstanding service, support for conference attendance, and the education of a student currently enrolled in a Library Science degree program. Consider applying for one of the awards.

John Philip Excellence in Outreach Award - $300

The ABOS John Philip Excellence in Outreach Award is given to recognize outstanding contributions and prominent leadership by an individual in Bookmobile and Outreach Services. John Philip, known to all as “Mr. Bookmobile” spent his long and honorable career as an advocate of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. John Philip passed away on February 1, 2016. He is the “Father” of the National Bookmobile Conference which started in 1986 and has now evolved into the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. Through his strong leadership and high profile advocacy, Bookmobiles have been recognized as a viable library outreach service. This award honors his dedication and tireless work and serves as a pinnacle for all Bookmobile and Outreach staff to aspire to reach.

Carol Hole Conference Attendance Award - Five (5) $500 travel grants

Carol Combs Hole provided exemplary leadership on behalf of libraries, bookmobile and outreach services throughout her 32 year career as a professional public librarian. She retired from distinguished service to the Alachua County Library District on March 1, 2006 and died on October 1, 2007. The five (5) $500 travel grants include free conference registration and a stipend for travel expenses and/or accommodations for the conference. The winners automatically will be registered for the conference.

Bernard Vavrek Scholarship - $1,000

In order to contribute to the education and training of library staff working in the area of bookmobile and outreach services, ABOS has created the Bernard Vavrek Scholarship. It is awarded annually to a student who has been accepted into or is currently enrolled in a Library and/or Information Science graduate degree program at an ALA accredited school, and who is interested in this particular field within the library profession. A check will be sent directly to the ALA accredited library school where the applicant is currently enrolled to be applied to the next term of study. Dr. Bernard Vavrek, Professor of Library Science and Chair of the Library Science Department at Clarion University, retired after teaching at Clarion from 1971-2008. He co-founded with John Philip the “Great American Bookmobile Conference,” running it for many years until ABOS was formed and took over management of the conference. This scholarship honors Dr. Vavrek’s profound commitment to librarianship.

Check out the Awards on the ABOS website at:

The 2019 Conference will be held in Omaha, NE on October 23-25, 2019 at the Embassy Suites Omaha Old Market.

The application deadline for this year's awards is July 31 at 6p.m. EST.

Submitted by

Rachel Rice

Extension Services Manager

Elkhart Public Library

Elkhart, IN


Bozeman will be hosting the Northwest Archivists Annual Conference on May 15-17, 2019

Registration is now live along with tours and the pre-conference workshops. One more workshop is still in the works, so keep checking back for updates at

Submitted by (through WIRED) Heather Hultman

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Submissions Open for the June 2019 Issue!

REMINDER: The submission deadline for the June newsletter is May 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:

Alice Ebi Kestler (Co-Editor)

This will be Alice's last term as co-editor of FOCUS. If you are interested in joining the team as a co-editor for a two year term (starting in June), please contact