a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[February 2019 Vol. 37 Issue 1]
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(Left hand photos from Google Images, in public domain. Right hand photo by Elizabeth Jonkel)

by Elizabeth Jonkel, Missoula Public Library

Whenever I meet someone new, there’s a predictable moment when I mention my profession and the other person pauses. Uncertainty flashes on their face before they compose themselves and, most of the time, break into a smile. Some proudly respond that they regularly go to the library and rattle off a list of their favorite authors. Others proclaim their love of libraries and, regarding me now as the arbiter of their bibliographic soul, point out how much they love to read, it’s just that they never have the time these days… The odd few, though, will screw up their face and go for broke, stating suddenly with great authority, that no one goes to libraries anymore.

Let’s call it ‘booksplaining’. It makes me wonder if other professionals have similar conversations: There’s no need for USPS now that there’s email. There’s no need for doctors now that WebMD helped me diagnose myself. There’s no need for lawyers since throwing rocks solves most problems. We don’t need libraries anymore because… you know… eBooks.

Some of you may remember last summer when an economist called down the Wrath of the Librarians with his ill-informed Forbes op-ed entitled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” Panos Mourdoukoutas, a professor of economics at LIU Post in Brookeville, New York wrote:

At the core, Amazon has provided something better than a local library without the tax fees. This is why Amazon should replace local libraries… The move would save taxpayers money and enhance the stockholder value of Amazon all in one fell swoop.

A lot of readers suggested Forbes should have hired a librarian to fact check the editorial. One pointed out that Forbes might just be mad you can download issues of its magazine for free using your library card. By the way, an internet search for this article will now get you a 404 Page Not Found message. That’s what you get for rattling the cage of a digitally savvy, outrageously connected group of professionals.(1)

Regardless of the response I personally get, I usually drag out a favorite quotable fact: there are more public libraries than Starbucks in the U.S. (16,568 versus 8,575).(2) You might have heard about this before using McDonalds or Subway as examples instead of Starbucks, but they are both similarly true. The ALA reports there are 116,867 libraries (public, academic, special, and school libraries) in the United States, which means there are 2.5 libraries for all three chain establishments combined.(3) Surprised? A moment’s reflection shows how these statistics can be true.

When one travels through vast swaths of Montana a pattern develops. The usual businesses found in small towns will be at least one church, a gas station (if you’re lucky), a bar or two or three, and a library. Some of these businesses may share the same building, or be side by side, or face off on Main Street. Following the highway to the next small town reveals the same pattern. In none of these small towns will a Starbucks or McDonald's be found; nor will one be found within the next 100 miles down the road.

Our participation in libraries shows that as a society we have decided that our souls receive nourishment there. Reading and literacy are important to us. So when I see you in Helena this spring for the MLA annual conference (save the date!), let’s all make an agreement: we can meet to talk about how our profession impacts our communities. We’ll decide what is and isn’t true about our jobs. And we’ll leave the coffee and burgers to the ones behind the counter.

Cheers and see you all in Helena.


(1) Ha, Thu-Huong, “Forbes deleted a deeply misinformed op-ed arguing Amazon should replace libraries,” July 23, 2018. . Quote from “'Twaddle': librarians respond to suggestion Amazon should replace libraries,” Both accessed on January 18, 2019.

(2) American Library Association, Quotable Facts About America’s Libraries, . Accessed on January 18, 2019.

(3) According to American Library Association, Number of Libraries in the United States, versus 8,575 Starbucks, 14,027 McDonalds and 26,982 Subways, according to numbers available via Both accessed on January 18, 2019.

[ Elizabeth can be reached at ]


News from MLA

-Reminder from Debbi Kramer to register for the annual conference in Helena, Montana.

-Call for Sheila Cates silent auction items, and the announcement of the Sheila Cates event on Thursday of the annual conference.

-FOCUS Co-Editor Sarah Creech looks ahead at the coming year.

Affiliate News

-Call for PNLA conference proposals

-PNLA quarterly call for submissions and author instructions

-Fulbright scholar, Marjorie Doyle, tells us about her residency in Northern Ethiopia

-Montana State Library is one of fourteen libraries selected as NASA@ My Library partners

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-Participate in the Missoula Writes contest! Contact Desiree Funston for more information.

-Consider submitting a proposal for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries 2019 Conference. Contact Jennie Garner for more information.

-Montana Historical Society Conference is accepting proposals. Contact Kirby Lambert for more information.

-MSL has received $2,400 in LSTA funding for the Montana Memory Project. Have a project that needs funding? Apply now – deadline is Feb 15! Get in touch with Jennifer Birnel if you have questions.

-IMLS launched a new initiative called Accelerating Promising Practices for small libraries – deadline to apply is Feb 25!


-Kathy Mora Retires after Long Library Career at Great Falls Public Library

-One job isn’t enough for Della Yeager!

-ImagineIF Libraries’ Megan Glidden selected as ALA Emerging Leader

-Listen to NPR’s This American Life to hear Aaron LaFramoise in the “Room of Requirement” episode.

-A fond farewell to Lauren McMullen


-MSL consultant news

-New content on the Montana Historical Society available

-Apply for the Excellent Library Services Award before March 1

-Montana Historical Society Trustees are looking for nominees for history awards

-Two legal tips related to filing taxes and sexual harassment

-Mini grant is available to Montana libraries

-Submissions open for the April 2019 FOCUS


Montana Library Association logo and mission statement

MLA 2019 Annual Conference Registration is OPEN!

On the MLA conference website < > you will find speaker bios, conference schedules and program workshop information, information on the exciting tours available, conference extras and much, much more. One fee will provide attendees with meal tickets to the Keynote Speaker Luncheon, Division Luncheon, Pre-Conference lunch and Author Brunch.

MLA is excited to have as our Keynote Speaker, Helena Mayor Wilmont Collins. He will share his inspirational story. Author brunch speaker is Montana author, Rick Bass, a very entertaining and congenial speaker. MLA is also pleased to present pre-conference workshops by Rick Harwood of the Harwood Institute and Montana State Library Statewide Projects Librarian Cara Orban. Both workshops will be free to participants thanks to a very generous grant from the Network Advisory Council at the Montana State Library.

Conference committee chairs Mary Ann George and Stephan Licitra have lined up several exciting activities for Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon.


Trolley service will be available between the Delta Colonial Hotel and Downtown Helena between 5:00 and 8:00. Cost is $10.00. The trolley will run (on the half hour. This will allow time to head downtown and be back to the hotel for the Cates event at 8:00.

Blackfoot Brewery Tour: The Blackfoot Brewery is located on Park Ave in downtown Helena and has been open since 1998. The goal of the brewers is to provide a comfortable community-oriented taproom. Tours of the brewery are available at 5:30 and 6:30 and will be 45 minutes. The tour is free but advance registration is required. Limit of 15 people per tour.

Helena: Destination Downtown: On Thursday night, come downtown and enjoy all that the historic Helena Walking Mall has to offer. Last Chance Gulch is not only home to Lewis & Clark Library, but also a host of restaurants, bars, breweries, a world class ice cream parlor, wonderful shops, and an independent bookstore. Most establishments will be offering discounts for conference attendees. Look in your registration bag for a map, and discount information.


Behind the Scenes Tour: The Montana Historical Society is the guardian of Montana's memory. Established in 1865, it is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the West. Join MLA on Saturday, April 13, at 1 pm, for a tour of the Montana Historical Society. Learn more about their work to promote an understanding and appreciation of Montana’s cultural heritage while exploring the library and archives. The tour is free but advanced registration is required. Limit: 30 people.

There is a direct link to the hotel on the conference website to book your room, but don’t wait too long as Legislature is in session.

MLA is delighted to have several new exhibitors attend this year’s conference. Please take time to interact with the exhibitors during conference. Our exhibitors are who make the MLA annual conference affordable. Without their support, MLA would have to raise fees substantially to pay for the conference.

As always the Sheila Cates Scholarship Committee is putting the finishing touches on the Cates Event and Silent Auction. The Sheila Cates Scholarship Fund has helped dozens of Montana librarians receive their advanced degrees. Please plan to attend the Cates Event on Thursday evening and donate an item to the Silent Auctions. Sheila Cates was a hard working member of MLA for most of her librarian career and these events are a change to “pay it forward.”

Also don’t forget to go to the MLA website and look over the Awards categories at <>. There are so many deserving librarians, trustees, and support staff in Montana that are ripe for nomination. Please nominate one you know.

Debbi Kramer, Executive Director

Montana Library Association, Inc.

33 Beartooth View Drive

Laurel, MT 59044

Cell: 406-579-3121



Call for Cates Silent Auction Items

Items needed for the Cates silent auction at the MLA Conference! The Cates silent auction is hugely popular, super fun, and more importantly, it raises much needed money for scholarships for Montana librarians to attend graduate library training or receive school certification. If you can donate a basket or item to the Cates silent auction, please contact MLA Cates Chair Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson at Thank you so much!

Submitted by Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson

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FOCUS Editor's Message - Looking Forward

by Sarah Creech, FOCUS Co-Editor

Since this issue of FOCUS is another kind of start of the year, I had a pleasant time thinking about all the activities and changes coming that I'm looking forward to at the library. Here's a short list of these things:

  • Changing library hours in March at the Belgrade Community Library, where I work as the adult services coordinator - every day at 11am there is at least one person waiting to be let inside. Our board recently approved a shift in open hours to 10am opening and 6pm close during the week, and a Saturday open time from 10-2. We're hoping this lets the public know we're listening to them and we want them to continue to utilize the library at the times that work for them.
  • Going the Whole Way Annual MLA Conference - I can't wait to laugh until the tears come at the Cates event on Thursday night of the conference, celebrate all of the MT nominees and awardees at the dinner on Friday night, and get all of my original cataloging done on Saturday morning at the Island of Misfit Items 2 workshop!
  • Getting my master's degree! I am in my final semester of studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and can definitely say I'm looking forward to having some extra time on my hands, and I'm sure my boss would like me to stop using the library as a case study for every single project I work on for school.
  • Partnering with local groups on community programs. Right now I'm planning an event called "Aging Well" with the local senior center, HRDC (Human Resources Development Council), and Bozeman Health bringing a lot of different resources and services for seniors to one spot - the library! - and allowing time for education, signing up for services, and some mini-talks on health topics of interest.
    • Universe of Stories Summer Reading - I can only start to imagine all of the awesome promotional material, photos of programs, and the stories of the successful events. Wouldn't it be fun to have an August FOCUS issue full of summer reading photos and stories? And finally...
    • My first passport stamp! I'll be heading to Ireland in September with my husband for a long overdue celebration of scholarly accomplishments for both of us (he got his Ph.D. in ecology in 2016!). On that trip I'm most looking forward to walking historical tours of the cities we stay in and the libraries. Keep an eye out for a trip report in the October issue of FOCUS.

    May this issue of FOCUS bring you joy and peak your interest in Montana library updates and information. Let us know if you hear of something cool we should feature, bonus points if you write about it for us and submit it for the next issue!

    [ Sarah can be reached at ]

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    PNLA Call for Conference Proposals


    Consider presenting at the PNLA conference this summer.

    You are invited to submit program proposals for the 2019 PNLA Conference in Spokane, Washington on August 7-9th. The theme for the conference is Libraries Leading the Way. PNLA is seeking programming that focuses on:

    • Library leadership skills such as communication, conflict resolution, strategic planning, etc.

    • Outreach to diverse and underrepresented patron groups

    • Rural and small libraries

    • Young readers and community literacy

    • New library-related competencies and workplace skills

    • Technology and innovation

    • Information literacy and #CritLib

    • Equity, inclusion, and diversity.

    • Reader’s Advisory

    • Sessions of interest to school, public, academic, and special libraries.

    Program sessions will be either be 75 minutes, 45 minutes, or 10 minutes lightning talks. PNLA is also seeking proposals to be considered for longer pre-conference sessions as well. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2019 and submissions will receive a response from the planning committee by March 31st, 2018.

    To submit a proposal please visit this link.


    You will be asked for program and contact information including a 100-250 word abstract.

    For more information please visit the conference website: or contact Rick Stoddart ( 2019 Conference Chair.

    Corey L. Fifles

    Reference, Programming, and Outreach Librarian

    Bozeman Public Library


    PNLA Quarterly Call for Submissions and Author Instructions

    Digital Equity, Access, and Inclusion: Challenges Across Contexts is the focus of the Spring 2019 issue of PNLA Quarterly. We invite library practitioners, students, and educators in the PNLA region (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, and Washington) to submit articles that deal with any aspect of digital equity in our profession, including (but not limited to) information and social justice, case studies relating to inclusive excellence, issues particular to the Pacific Northwest, digital equity in libraries, archives or museums, and unique collaborations. Articles may be theoretical, research-based, or practice-focused. Articles will be peer-reviewed upon author request.

    The deadline for submissions to is February 28, 2019.

    Authors are asked to:

    • Submit manuscripts of between 1,000-6,000 words electronically in Microsoft Word file format;
    • Use Times New Roman 12 point font and 1.15 spacing;
    • Adhere to guidelines in the 6th edition of the Manual of Style of the American Psychological Association (APA). This rule applies in terms of format and references;
    • Obtain any necessary written permission to use copyrighted material, and to pay any and all relevant fees. Appropriate credit should be provided in the manuscript;
    • Submit original work that has not been previously published and is not under consideration for publication in another journal;
    • Contact the PQ editors at with any questions regarding these instructions, the publication process, schedule, or the appropriateness of a proposed article topic.

    PNLA Quarterly is an open access journal. In that spirit, PQ authors retain the copyright to their works. PQ facilitates the distribution of its authors’ intellectual property in a professional manner to enhance the process of scholarly communication, and to advance the sharing of information in and beyond the library profession and the PNLA region.

    As PNLA Quarterly moves toward re-implementing the peer-review process for selected sections of its content, we invite library professionals in the region to serve as peer reviewers. Please contact the PQ editors at if you are interested.

    ISSN: 0030-8188

    Contact Samantha Schmehl Hines with questions.


    Final Report by Fulbright Specialist in Library Science Marjorie Doyle, MPL

    Submitted by Marjorie Doyle, Missoula Public Library

    Ethiopia was an amazing experience, culturally, historically, and professionally. Some of the historical sites my husband and I visited were the castle complex in Gondar, the rock hewn churches in Lalibela, and Ethiopian Orthodox monasteries at Lake Tana. We have shared slides of this experience with various groups since returning to Missoula.

    Most of those slideshows centered on the historic and cultural experiences of our stay in Ethiopia. There is much to share about my professional experience. First, I will never complain about slow internet speeds again. The libraries at the University of Gondar experience multiple power outages daily, most lasting last than half an hour. Even though they have in place a backup system that functions for up to four hours it is a far cry from the reliable internet access we have here in the United States.

    The libraries at the University of Gondar (U of G) are near the end of their conversion to an online catalog using the KOHA system. Stef at Butte-Silver Bow Public Library who gave me the orientation I needed to understand this conversion. As far as I can tell, the KOHA system at the U of G will be the country’s first library system with an online catalog. Prior to this they have used a printed book version of their catalog rather than card catalogs. Another new project at U of G was setting up an RFID system. The library is in the process of tagging their materials for this system.

    The university library collections are primarily curriculum support, including readings students must do for their coursework. Several of the branch libraries on campus contain sections called Bookstores which are term course reserves. These readings for classes can be checked out for extended periods of time by groups of students to share during the semester. Usually there is at least 1 copy per 4 students enrolled in the course available. Since students have little or no money for purchasing books or materials these ‘bookstores’ meet a critical need. The general library collections tend to be textbooks or old course reserve materials available to students to help with studying dating from the early 1970s on up to more current resources. Since part of my visit was to share my expertise I recommended weeding the outdated material that contains information which is no longer accurate.

    Universities are run very differently than they are here. The government provides free education for all students who pass the national matriculation exam at the end of their high school careers. Their field of study is determined by aptitude exams and the needs of the country. The aptitude exams are meant to direct students into fields where their strengths could best be used. Study at both the undergraduate (usually 3 years) and graduate levels allow students to earn both undergrad and grad degrees in the same field, like an LLB and LLM for law degrees. Once students graduate they are required to give a year or more of service to the government to pay back the cost of their education. We had several tours of students doing their year of service in state run historic areas as pay back for their undergraduate degree in tourism or eco-tourism.

    The libraries are quiet places for students to study. I was shushed the first day in the library while being given a tour of the KOHA and RFID systems. The university libraries are often full of students. They are open 24/7. In fact, during my first week, when looking for the toilets I saw a room with RESTROOM over the door. Inside were several bunk beds. Later I learned these rooms are for staff to sleep in during the night shift. Nightshift consists of four staff, two on duty covering the desks while the other two rest.

    Another difference between the campus in Ethiopia and our campuses is the wall enclosing the campus with armed guards on duty at the gates at all times. We become friendly with the guards at our gate, greeting them in Amharic and giving them small gifts. Security required that students were not allowed to wear earbuds when entering the library. They were also subject to having their backpacks searched. I was only stopped once before I entered. It had been raining and my hooded raincoat covered my backpack. Once the staff realized that I was a visiting librarian they did not stop me again. They never searched my backpack either.

    I trained staff from the different campuses in public service, bringing them all together. The staff were very attentive, taking copious notes in Amharic and asking good questions. The university’s visiting scholars asked me to do a presentation on how to do research for the faculty in their department. The presentation covered how to select keywords for searches, using truncation, wild card searching, proper citation, using online citation sites and attribution of sources. We also discussed what resources were available through the libraries on campus. This first presentation was followed by a different version for another department the following day. They were both well received by the faculty. Teaching the faculty library use skills is important. Current research shows that students will ask their faculty for help with research before asking their librarians.

    I was glad I had the opportunity to visit the local public. The current public library building was built with money from the U.S. It has no working plumbing or electricity but is still used heavily with people filling their reading room and lots of high school students reading on the grounds. The current library collection is mostly English books donated from the US, but there is an Amharic reading room. The library books do not circulate, they are read on site.

    The librarian, Habtamu, asked about training opportunities for library staff and options for collection development in the states. Their book budget is zero. My goal is to find out how we might meet collection needs for both the public and university libraries in the near future.

    There are many more stories to tell about the libraries, the city and the country but I was left with these main thoughts: We have a great life here and amazing resources. It is humbling to see how much the people of Ethiopia have done when they have so little. The people we met in were very kind, resourceful, and generous; it was an honor to have worked with them.

    Photos by Marjorie Doyle.

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    View of Gondar from the gates of the University (notice sign to far right).

    All photos by Marjorie Doyle.

    [ Marjorie can be reached at ]

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    Montana State Library one of Fourteen Selected as NASA@ My Library Partners

    Contact: Jennie Stapp, (406) 444-3116

    The Montana State Library was recently selected to be one of fourteen state libraries to receive resources, training and support through NASA@ My Library, a STEM education initiative that will increase and enhance STEM learning opportunities for library patrons in Montana and throughout the nation. Other selected states include Alaska, Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. Activities are planned through 2019 and will support the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme this year, “A Universe of Stories.” Montana’s young readers can experience A Universe of Stories by participating in their local libraries’ summer reading programs. These 14 state library agencies will join Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Washington who were the original sites who helped pilot the project during 2018.

    NASA@ My Library aims to engage diverse communities in STEM learning, including communities that are underrepresented in STEM fields such as those living in rural areas and Native Americans. NASA@ My Library is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Key partners for NASA@ My Library include the Space Science Institute and its National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL), the American Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Cornerstones of Science, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and other organizations.

    The educational support materials and outreach opportunities provided are part of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning program for libraries and their communities ( "The NASA@ My Library program advances public libraries as community centers and critical hubs for lifelong learning," said Project Director Paul Dusenbery (Director of NCIL and STAR Net). "It also helps fill a gap in STEM education and engagement in rural and other underserved areas by increasing opportunities for hands-on experiences for learners of all ages.” Visit to learn more.

    Montana State Librarian, Jennie Stapp, said, “I am thrilled that we can join with NASA to bring hands-on informal science education materials to library patrons throughout our state.” Over the next 12-months this grant will support us in the following ways:

    • Enrich library experiences –Space science expert volunteers will offer programs in Montana’s public libraries through NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network; and

    • Hands-on Activities – Montanans of all ages will learn through two different NASA@ My Library earth and space science kits available at Montana public libraries.

    • Professional development – Montana librarians will participate in professional development opportunities to help them increase their interest in, knowledge about, and confidence in promoting earth and space science programming.

    For more information on this program, please visit the NASA @ My Library webpage on the Montana State Library website at For questions regarding this program, please contact Amelea Kim, Lifelong Learning Librarian, at


    The Montana State Library helps all organizations, communities, and Montanans thrive through excellent library resources and services. For more information about the Montana State Library, visit

    The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) ( is dedicated to developing and implementing projects and initiatives that improve formal and informal STEM education and the evaluation/research foundation on which they are based. NCIL works with national partners to develop STEM exhibitions for public libraries, science centers, and museums; conducts professional development for informal educators; and creates educational games and apps that can be deployed on websites, mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) and multi-touch tables and kiosks. NASA@ My Library is an initiative of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country ( STAR Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing “science-technology activities and resources” (STAR) and training to use those resources. Over 8,000 library and STEM professionals have joined STAR Net to access its STEM Activity Clearinghouse, blogs, webinars, workshops and meet-ups at library conferences, partnership opportunities, information about upcoming national STEM events, and the STAR Net online newsletter. Partners include the Afterschool Alliance, American Library Association’s Public Programs Office, American Society of Civil Engineers, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Cornerstones of Science, Education Development Center, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and many others.

    NASA@ My Library is based upon work funded by NASA under cooperative agreement No. NNX16AE30A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the NASA@ My Library initiative and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


    Missoula Writes

    Calling all writers! Missoula Public Library’s 11th annual writing contest begins January 2, 2019. We will accept fiction, non-fiction and poetry entries from writers age eight and up through February 15, 2019. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners in each category and age group (8-10, 11-14, 15-18 and 19+). Full rules brochure and submission link will be available on this page on January 2.


    Writing Contest Rules [PDF]

    All residents of Montana are qualified to submit. You do not have to be a resident of Missoula.

    We realize there is not much time to send a submission so get writing!

    For questions contact:

    Desirée Funston

    Reference Librarian

    Missoula Public Library

    301 E. Main Street

    Missoula, MT 59802

    406-721-BOOK (2665)

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    Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) 2019 Conference Call for Proposals

    Share your talents with your fellow ARSL members at the 2019 Conference Tap Into Libraries! The conference will be in beautiful Burlington, VT, Sept 4-7, 2019. Have a unique service you offer at your library? Have you completed a successful fund-raising campaign or a great remodeling or building project? Do you have a tried and true approach to getting increased funding from your funding sources? Are you an expert grant writer?

    Bring your best to Vermont and share your expertise. Registration discounts available to those who are selected to present at conference.

    We are accepting a maximum of TWO proposals per presenter, including individual and panel presentations.

    FIRM DEADLINE: Proposals are due by 10pm CST, Sunday, February 10, 2019. Please be sure to keep a copy of your proposal! Find more information at <>. Contact Jennie Garner, Program Chair, with questions at


    See you all in September!

    Jennie Garner, Library Director

    North Liberty Community Library

    PO Box 320

    North Liberty, IA 52317

    Office: (319)626-5778

    Cell: (319)321-8056

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    2019 Montana Historical Society Conference Proposal Invitation

    The Montana Historical Society invites session proposals for the 2019 Montana History Conference. The conference will be held September 26–28 in Helena at the Delta Hotels Helena Colonial where we will be Keeping Up with the Past! All topics relating to Montana’s past are welcome.

    What you need to know before submitting:

    • The initial deadline for submitting proposals is March 4, 2019. Late proposals will be considered as space allows.

    • After the March 4th deadline, the History Conference Committee will meet to evaluate the proposals and put together a comprehensive program. You will be notified by March 30 whether your proposal has been accepted (please note that we generally receive far more proposals than the schedule will accommodate).

    • Our conference is primarily comprised of three concurrent sessions that last a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes each. Normally, each session has two speakers who each present for 25 minutes with the remaining time used for introductions and joint Q&A (if there are three presenters, each gets 20 minutes). The program committee pairs speakers together so that their topics relate in some way or, if you prefer, you can submit a panel proposal comprising an entire session.

    • Although we greatly appreciate the time and effort that a presentation at the history conference entails, we are, unfortunately, not in a position to pay for speakers’ travel or lodging expenses. We do, however, provide speakers with a complimentary, full-conference registration, including all meals and events.

    To submit a proposal:

    For more information, contact:

    Kirby Lambert, Outreach and Interpretation Program Manager

    Montana Historical Society

    P.O. Box 201201

    Helena, MT 59620-1201

    (406) 444-4741

    Montana Memory Project LSTA Project Funding Announcement

    Deadline is February 15, 2019.

    Time is short—apply now!

    The Montana State Library has $2400 in Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds available for adding special collections to the Montana Memory Project (MMP). Funding awards can be up to $1,500 per project and must be used for costs specific to scanning and digitizing materials. No match is required, but libraries are asked to track the time and funds contributed to the project.

    All Montana libraries are eligible to apply for these funds. Museums, historical societies, and archives in the state may also apply to have collections added to the MMP working in partnership with a local library. The Project Funding award will be made to the partner library.

    Project Funding Applications will be accepted until Friday February 15, 2019. Selection of projects receiving funding will be done by the MMP selection committee. Please see the Project Funding Application Form for selection criteria. The Project Funding Application is separate from the MMP Collection Application submitted by all contributing institutions for each collection. You can find the Collection Application and all other MMP materials at:

    The LSTA Project Funding awards can be used for:

    • Paying a vendor for scanning collection materials

    The library will arrange to have digitization done using a central vendor working with MSL.

    The LSTA Project Funding awards cannot be used for:
    • purchasing equipment
    • paying for an employee's time

    Requirements for Project Funding:
    • Libraries must submit an MMP Collection Application and receive approval from the MMP selection committee with the funding application.
    • A Project Funding Application must be submitted by February 15, 2019.
    • The metadata spreadsheet must be filled in with the basic collection information prior to items being shipped to the vendor of digitization.
    • The project must be shipped to the vendor for digitization no later than March 22, 2019.
    • All project funds must be expended by September 13, 2019.
    • At the end of the project, the library will submit a short narrative report detailing the time and funding required for completing the project as well as any challenges or lessons learned. This report is due no later than October 30, 2019.

    Grant applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:
    • Project is significant to the intended audience.
    • Project enhances the larger Montana Memory Project, per goals as outlined in the MMP Collection Policy.
    • Grant funding is important to the project.

    Notification of Project Funding awards will be made in February 2019.

    Jennifer Birnel

    Montana Memory Project Director

    Montana State Library

    W: 855-259-0894 C: 406-438-2041

    Big Opportunities for Small Libraries: IMLS Launches New Special Initiative

    Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries

    Deadline: February 25, 2019

    Grant Info: IMLS’ Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP) is a special initiative of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. The goal of this initiative is to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries and archives to serve their communities. IMLS invites applications that focus on transforming school library practice, community memory, or digital inclusion and are clearly linked to an individual institution's broader community needs

    Application: FY 2019 Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF 384KB)
    Grant Amount: $10,000–$50,000
    Grant Period: Two years
    Cost Share Requirement: None

    For More Information: Press release, Grant information, FAQ on Grant

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    Kathy Mora Retires after Long Library Career at Great Falls Public Library

    After 31 years of service in several different departments, Kathy Mora retired as Director of the Great Falls Public Library (GFPL) the end of 2018. Looking ahead to 2019 Mora felt it was time for new adventures.

    The legendary Alma Jacobs was the Head Librarian when Mora made her frequent visits to GFPL growing up. Jacobs’ leadership in both the library and community was an inspiration for Mora. She started her library career working at the CMR High School library under Lynn Ellison’s supervision in the 10th grade. Mora also worked part-time at GFPL, shelving books and staffing the circulation desk in the evenings.

    After the birth of her daughter Mora took some time out of the job market, but the library and its books lured her back. In 1986 when the library was plunging into automation, 30 temporary clerks were hired to do inventory—“every book had to be touched!” At the end of the summer, all but 2 of the 30 were let go. Mora was one of them. Her temporary job lasted 2 years. At that point Mora enrolled in Business classes at the then-Vo-Tech, withdrawing when she was offered a full-time job at GFPL in Technical Services. When that position was abruptly eliminated Mora moved to a part-time permanent job share which later became full-time.

    Interested in learning all aspects of library service, Mora took over Interlibrary Loans, then joined the Reference Department for 5 years. Continuing on the learning path, Mora studied IT on her own, then did a 2 year Cisco Networking course. After that, Mora gained a B.S. in Computer Information Systems. In 2005 Kathy used a full scholarship through the State Library to start working on her MLS through the University of Northern Texas. She earned her degree in 2007. By this time, Kathy was the head of IT—indeed, she was the entire department.

    In 2009, Jim Heckel then Library Director, felt GFPL retired, allowing Mora to become the interim Director for over a year, as well as continuing her IT duties. In May of 2010, Mora moved into the Director position, which she commanded for 9 years. When asked about her greatest accomplishment as Director Mora mentioned the new boiler system as well as addressing staffing issues. The biggest frustration was the layoffs that the City required in 2014. Helping the staff was always Mora’s greatest concern and source of satisfaction. The layoffs, most of which were permanent, were devastating to everyone.

    Over the years, Mora received great pleasure from meeting and working with her staff, other librarians, interest groups and the many library patrons. She has never lost her interest in learning and gaining new skills, and is looking forward to new challenges, both in her personal life and work possibilities.

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    Kathy Mora enjoying a good laugh with Jessie Damyanovich

    Photo by Jude Smith.

    Congratulations and best wishes to Kathy Mora on this new stage of her life journey.

    From an interview with Kathy Mora by Carole Ann Clark, Great Falls Public Library.

    One job isn’t enough for Della Yeager!

    Congrats to Della Yeager!

    Congratulations to Della Yeager on her second job at Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. She started working at the William P. Sherman Library and Archives last fall as Library Technician. Yeager continues as Director of the Public Library in Choteau. Her new position includes cataloging collections and processing archives through the National Park Service Co-op Agreement. Yeager says the sunrises and opportunity to listen to audiobooks on her 2 hour daily commute is an added bonus to her new job.

    Selfie of Della Yeager kayaking on Eureka Reservoir

    ImagineIF Libraries’ Megan Glidden selected as ALA Emerging Leader

    ImagineIF Libraries’ Senior Librarian, Megan Glidden, has been selected as an American Library Association Emerging Leader for the Class of 2019. The American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders (EL) program is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity.

    As head of the Community Engagement Team at ImagineIF, Megan has brought forth many innovative projects to the Flathead Valley, including a Seed Library located at ImagineIF Columbia Falls, the result of a partnership with the Good Seed Co. She has also been a key leader in helping launch Making Montana, a two-day festival of invention and creativity featuring a Manufacturing and Technology Expo alongside the Kalispell Mini Maker Faire. This event takes place at the Flathead Valley Fairgrounds Expo Building each February and houses all kinds of makers, manufacturers and tech companies all under one roof. Her proven ability to find new ways to connect with the community by offering more interactive and hands-on programming makes her the perfect candidate for ALA’s Emerging Leaders program.

    Photo of Megan Glidden, ALA Emerging Leader. Photo by Lune Axelsen

    Kudos to Aaron LaFromboise

    Ann Ewbank sent this news to our WIRED list the first week of January:

    Aaron LaFromboise, Director of Library Services at Blackfeet Community College, was featured in the first week of January episode of This American Life. The episode was all about libraries. See it at


    Congratulations Aaron!

    Photo: Aaron LaFromboise, showcasing archival collections to students during Days of the Piikani 2016. Photo by Mandi Henderson.

    Farewell, Lauren!

    Photo of Lauren McMullen. Courtesy of Montana State Library.

    Thoughts and memories from some MSL colleagues.

    Tracy Cook, Library Development Director:

    Lauren started her career at the State Library as our trainer, conducting training across the state on the various electronic resources MSL provided. She moved into the role of Statewide Consulting Librarian where she quickly grew as a consultant, providing advice and guidance to libraries throughout Montana. Lauren has a passion for the role libraries can play in their communities. She worked with libraries on strategic planning – always encouraging them to incorporate community feedback in the process. She believed in the power of planning and the importance of identifying how the library could make life better for community members. She was just as at home with the day-to-day questions that libraries would ask about law, library boards, policies, and various library services. Throughout her time at the State Library, she never lost her interest in supporting privacy and intellectual freedom issues. She served as a strong chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee and left a legacy both there and in her work at MSL. We will miss Lauren’s commitment, independent spirit, and thought-provoking questions. She was just as famous for asking us tough questions as she was for asking librarians and board members. We always knew that if we took the time to think about her questions, we would create a stronger program or service. She has earned the right to enjoy her retirement – although we suspect we will still be able to call upon her for advice when we need it!

    Jo Flick, Training and Development Specialist:

    I have a great respect for Lauren’s passion for learning and for promoting intellectual freedom. She’s an avid learner herself, one of the best people that you can have in the room to generate productive discussion and to get people to be really engaged in learning. Her work on the Intellectual Freedom Committee for the MT Library Association has benefited every librarian who has ever experienced a challenge to a policy or a book. This is very important stuff – bedrock, foundations-of-democracy stuff.

    Lauren is the go-to person for a good idea or a creative take on an idea. She has a way of coming up with something that will make a new project or program ten times better. I think that is because she is a rare combination of the creative and the practical – she has an artist’s creativity, but a shepherd’s ability to focus on the essential need of the moment. Perhaps her most remarkable skill is in coming up with a theme or a title: the rest of the team at MSL will be struggling with a title for a program, and she rings in with just the perfect one, every time. What a gift.

    Pam Henley, Statewide Consulting Librarian:

    I learned a lot from Lauren when starting as a consultant as she showed me the ropes of travelling the state. From interesting places to stay in rural, remote areas to waiting out a blizzard in Missoula and presenting at conferences, we had great adventures. And, it was always fun to hear about her lambing experiences each year. With her sheep and various cats and dogs – she’ll have plenty to keep her busy!

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    Amelea Kim, Lauren McMullen, and Aaron LaFromboise. Photo courtesy of Medicine Spring Library.


    Consultant News

    Submitted by Pam Henley, MSL Consultant

    Many of you are aware of Lauren McMullen’s recent retirement from the State Library, but Suzanne and Pam want you to know we’re still available for any assistance you might need! Don’t hesitate to contact either of us. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you at spring Federation meetings and the MLA conference in Helena this April.

    In the meantime, Suzanne is working on helping libraries get their E-rate applications in for FY2019 and on implementing a plan for rolling out the Toward Gigabit Libraries Toolkit for libraries to help librarians and boards assess their library's current and future broadband needs.

    We've also made use of the data you provided us on trustee training needs and preferences, and are excited to be bringing you a workshop on planning for your library to be held on Wednesday, April 24 in Butte. We're bringing in Stu Wilson from Library Strategies to lead the workshop. They offer a Rapid Results planning process that has been used by several of our libraries and should give everyone some new ideas and perspectives on planning. So mark your calendars and watch for more details upcoming.

    The Montana Historical Society New Content Available

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

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

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

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

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

    Natasha Hollenbach
    Digital Projects Librarian
    Montana Historical Society


    Excellent Library Services Award (ELSA) application now open

    The Montana State Library Commission annually recognizes libraries for achieving excellence in serving their communities through this award. Each year, academic, public, school, and special libraries have an opportunity to apply for the award using a checklist of the “Excellent” level of library standard recommendations. The checklist for the award is adapted from Montana’s current Public Library Standards which serves as a measuring tool for libraries in the state.

    All library types are eligible for the award. The application process is now open in ASPeN – the new directory. You will need to login to see the application. It can be found under the “To Do” list on the library director or designee’s “ASPeN Admin” page. To begin the process, please visit and login. Then click on ASPeN Admin. If you have any problems, please let us know at

    The DEADLINE to complete the ELSA checklist is March 1. The State Library Commission will present the ELSA awards at the MLA Conference, in Helena, April 10-13, 2019.

    Montana Historical Society Trustees Seek Nominations for History Awards

    The Montana Historical Society is seeking nominations from across the state to honor the people who are the backbone of local and state history.

    Every community has a person, or an organization, to whom they turn with questions about the history of the people and the events that have shaped the cities, towns and rural areas in which they live. Each year at the Montana Historical Society's History Conference the MHS trustees present two Heritage Keeper Awards to honor those guardians of local history.

    Nominations must honor living individuals who have demonstrated commitment to significant local or statewide history projects or to the identification and preservation of objects, buildings, or sites that tell important stories about the Treasure State’s past.

    Examples of potential nominees include educators, authors, genealogists, historians, preservationists, archivists, or any other person or group devoted to the preservation and interpretation of Montana's heritage and culture.

    Nominations must include the official nomination form, a brief explanation of the extent and significance of the body of work of the nominee, and can include supporting documentation of things like news articles, commendation, letters of support, photographs, and other examples of thenominees’ work.

    Nominations can be made online at then click on top of the page "About MHS," and then click on Montana Historical Society Trustees, and at right of that page click on "Trustees Heritage Keeper Award." Those who don't have access to computers, or who have questions, can contact Joy Lewis at 406-444-1799 for the nomination form or other information.

    Nominations for the Heritage Keeper awards must be submitted by March 16.

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    Two Timely Legal Tips This Issue

    1. How to report sexual harassment in housing to the US Department of Justice (DOJ)

    You can file a sexual harassment report anonymously if you don't want to give your name. After you report, the DOJ will investigate to see if there is a pattern and practice of harassment by the housing provider. You can file an individual discrimination complaint with HUD or Montana Human Rights Bureau, as well as to the DOJ. To make a report with the DOJ, you can call 1-844-380-6178. Or email

    For more information, visit the Housing section on If you can't find the information you want, click on the LiveHelp button. Or, apply for help from Montana Legal Services Association at or 1-800-666-6899.

    2. Filing Income Taxes for Free

    Did you know that you can file your income tax refund for free? The fastest way to get your whole refund is by filing directly with the IRS. To find out where to get free tax help this season, go to

    For more information, please visit the Taxes section of If you can’t find the information you want, click on the LiveHelp button. Or call the Montana Legal Services Association HelpLine at 1 (800) 666-6899.

    Alex Clark
    Community Outreach Assistant
    (406) 543-8343 ext. 220

    Pronouns: he/him/his

    Montana Legal Services Association

    1535 Liberty Lane

    Suite 110D

    Missoula, MT 59808

    Toll Free: (800) 666-6124
    Websites: / /

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    Submissions Open for the April 2019 Issue!

    REMINDER: The submission deadline for the April newsletter is March 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