a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[December 2018 Vol. 36 Issue 6]
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Photo of a Painting of Andrew Carnegie from Lewistown Public Library

Framed painting of Andrew Carnegie, which hangs on the wall of the second floor in the Lewistown Public Library. Photo by Elizabeth Jonkel.

One evening in 1731, a young Benjamin Franklin walked home from a local ale house with associates of the Junto Club, a local Boston society for “mutual improvement.” While in conversation, he conceived a radical proposal: to address the lack of a good local bookstore and the burdensome expense of ordering books of merit from England, members of the club could pool their joint collections of books and so create a lending library for those in the community. Thus was formed the first ever subscription library: the Boston Library Company.

Franklin’s small endeavor quickly spread, with small lending libraries popping up throughout the colonies. “Reading,” he later wrote, “became fashionable; and our people, having no publick amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observ’d by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.” (1) The Boston Library Company would be foundational for what later became the national Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Franklin’s vision to “render the benefit of books more common” was the consummate American goal. It embodied the founding principles of the American Enlightenment based on human rights, the constitutional freedom of an individual to believe and behave as they deemed fit, and the underpinning necessity of a strong, informed republic. The idea that a just society educates its citizens and seeks to improve their lives through learning is fundamental to the American identity.

In the early 20th century, Andrew Carnegie would further bolster these beliefs. Although Carnegie was a controversial figure for his views on such things as unions, laissez-faire economics and moral absolutism, his endowment of over 1,600 libraries in the United States alone is without question one of the greatest philanthropic benefits this country has ever received. “I prefer the free public library to most, if not to any other agencies, for the happiness and improvement of a community,” Carnegie said. (2) Carnegie’s investment in free public libraries transformed small town America and to this day nearly all of his funded buildings still stand, including fifteen in Montana, nine of which are still in operation.

All of this came to mind when I was recently lucky enough to visit beautiful Lewistown, MT for the Montana Library Association Government Affairs Committee retreat to discuss planning and messaging for Legislative Days in spring 2019. On the top floor of this lovely, intact Carnegie Library, we met under the watchful (and benevolent?) eye of Mr. Carnegie himself (pictured above). His presence seemed fitting to me as we concluded that the most important thing that MLA, the Montana State Library and librarians could say when asked “Why libraries?” is because libraries are the most American of institutions and the cornerstones of the communities they serve.

This is a key message for all of us to share with those who ask why we value, why we matter, why we remain the most relevant of institutions in this country today. From Benjamin Franklin’s vision of shared learning to Carnegie’s actual investment in communities, libraries have contributed “to a future that values and protects freedom of speech in a world that celebrates both our similarities and our differences, respects individuals and their beliefs, and holds all persons truly equal and free.” (3)

Advocacy on behalf of all libraries in Montana is core to the MLA mission. All of us are fiercely proud of what we represent, what we do and who we are. Recently, the Montana State Library launched its Information Powers Growth campaign. Its goal is to help Montanans see the growing relevance of libraries in the 21st century. Libraries are vital to our economy, culture and society. With the State Library, we urge you to assist in increasing awareness among Montana businesses, entrepreneurs, decision makers, and communities about the valuable resources today’s libraries offer. Join in the campaign by sharing information about your local knowledge connection and the heart of your community: your library.

And when you’re asked why, why do libraries (still) matter, remember the simple answer: because nothing is more representative of America and all that it embodies than your local, free library.

For a great overview of the rise of the public library in the United States I recommend the Digital Public Library of America’s A History of US Public Libraries.


(1) Franklin, Benjamin. His Autobiography. Vol. I, Part 1. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14. [11/26/2018].

(2) Annual Reports for ..., Made to the ... General Assembly of the State of Ohio .., Part 3. Ohio: Ohio State University, 1903, p. 617. [11/27/2018].

(3) Libraries: An American Value, American Library Association (Adopted February 3, 1999, by the Council of the American Library Association. [11/27/2018].

[ Elizabeth can be reached at ]


News from MLA

-Reminder from the MLA Awards Committee that the nominating period is OPEN

-Consider submitting a program proposal for Offline, in Butte MT this coming February

-The School Library Division retreat this summer was a success - read about it here!

-The Technical Services Interest Group wants to help you catalogue and archive all MT materials.

-FOCUS Co-Editor Alice Ebi Kestler introduces the final issue of 2018 with some musings on bibliotherapy and reader's advisory.

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

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-Lune Axelson reports on the Kalispell Together project from ImagineIF libraries

-2018 Banned Books Night in Bozeman from Sheila Bonnand

-A summary, from Cindy Christin, of the 11th annual Children's Festival of the Book at Bozeman Public Library

-The first annual Teen Book Fest at Bozeman Public Library by Brittany Alberson

-Megan Bryant reminds us that the Amigos Conference is looking for program proposals


-Dana Carmichael calls our attention to the recognition West Valley School Librarian Renell Wilson Received

-A hearty congratulations to Joy Bridwell at Stone Child College for being one of 10 recipients nationwide of the 2018 ALA I Love My Librarian Award


-Order your Collaborative Summer Library Program catalog now

-Mini grant is available to Montana libraries

-Funding is available for newspaper projects

-Nominate a colleague for the EBSCO Information Services Community College Learning Resources Program Award

-Apply for the Loleta D. Fyan grant

-Office hours for the transition to ASPeN will happen this week (first week of December)

-Submissions open for the February 2019 FOCUS


Montana Library Association logo and mission statement

MLA Award Nominating Season Has Begun

Brrrr . . . Winter is almost here! Warm your heart and ours by NOMINATING those amazing people who mean so much to our libraries!

Please visit MLA's website for the updated criteria for our Montana library awards (we have changed the criteria for Special Friend, Champion, and added a new award for Library Programs this year.

Please submit your completed nominations before Monday, January 28th 2019.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Carly Delsigne at or 406-933-5254.

Call for Proposals for Offline in Butte February 1-2, 2019

Submitted by Stef Johnson

After much work by Deb Kramer Butte will be hosting OffLine on February 1-2, 2019 at Butte's lovely, renovated Copper King Convention Center.

We are seeking proposals for your fascinating programs relating to technology, advancements/changes, best practices, online offerings and new techniques for getting these services to our staff and patrons.

Not sure if your program quite fits the list? SEND IT IN!

As a special request, please email Stef Johnson, YHLM, at with your tech-related concerns, challenges, annoyances and obstacles (minor and major). Let's see what we're tackling and what we can offer each other.

Your mission is to

  1. contemplate that awesome presentation you've been wanting to try (or resurrect that one you wanted to update)

  2. run some numbers on the fun/hassle ratio of traveling in February

  3. search the interwebs for info on Butte & the venue. Butte has Food! Music! Art & Antiques! Shopping at Front St. Market! Plan a hike, ski the pass or the reservoir (bring the dogs)

Montana School Library Retreat 2018

Submitted by Angela Archuleta, School Library Division

Co-chairs, Erin Regele and Angela Archuleta worked with many talented librarians across the state to present the Montana School Library Retreat July 25-26, 2018 at the Montana State University-Bozeman campus. The theme for the year was Librarians- Engaging the World.

Host Ann Ewbank presented the program Advocacy: Montana School Librarians Share Their Stories. She talked about school library successes, challenges and the results of the statewide survey of school library media specialists that was taken in the spring.

With more proposals than time allowed, two librarians were not able to present this time around. Even so, there was still a working lunch. The speakers were all enthusiastic.

Lauren Stephens shared about how to help students publish a book. She also showed how to effectively create curriculum-based products in makerspace.

There was no lack of ingenuity at the retreat. Kay Randall shared how on short notice she planned and executed the 1 Book, 1 Community program in Troy using the book Wonder. Randall shared it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. Her positive energy made all of us want to reduce bullying through literacy and community involvement.

Speaking of community, often the best programs emerge when people from a variety of backgrounds get together to produce programs. Mr. Tim Alzheimer, Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, MSU-Bozeman came to talk about how school librarians could play a role in entrepreneurship education. The presentation at the end of the day was a fantastic way to complete the retreat.

[ Angela can be contacted at ]

Ann Ewbank standing at the front of the room next to a projection of her presentation

Ann Ewbank kicked off the event. Photography by Angela Archuleta.

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Close to thirty librarians attended the event from Broadus to Troy. With the vast distances in Montana many librarians gave up extra time in travel to attend the retreat. Photo by Angela Archuleta.

Image of a book cover showing mountains with an M on one of them.

Lauren’s 4th graders produced this book- imagine what they will be doing in the future? Photo by Angela Archuleta.

Kayleen Randall references her projected presentation at the School Library Division Retreat.

Kayleen Randall walks participants through her plan to unite a community using the book Wonder. Photo by Angela Archuleta.

Technical Services Interest Group Update

Submitted by Laura Tretter, MLA Technical Services Interest group

For the Technical Services Interest Group, 2018 was the beginning of a project aimed at making Montana materials accessible by providing cataloging assistance to Montana librarians. Like most good things we know this project will take time to fully develop, but we are proud to have gotten started. Through this project not only will we make our unique Montana materials discoverable, we also will collect valuable data to be used in assessing cataloging needs throughout the state.

So, get a jump start on your New Year’s resolution to catalog that pile of tricky stuff on that shelf. Reach out and let us know what you have.

Information about the project and a submission form can be found on the MLA website at:

Recently cataloged materials include:

  • Campfire songs: Glacier National Park compiled by Larry Williams

  • Big Sky Indian Market and Exposition : September 8, 9,10, 1989 (poster)

  • Tales from Montana's Teton County : the remarkable people, weather, crimes and events that made the local weekly news by Nancy C. Thornton.

  • James Gregor Burgess "He Talks Up to God" by Tom Jenkins

  • Courtland DuRand and the Big Elk Ranch: N lazy I outfit by Nancy E. Widdicombe; art by Lavonne Rice-Gordon.

  • The garden of everything : poetry by the students of Lodge Grass High School, Lodge Grass Junior High (2004-2005 school year) edited by Mark Fedullo.

[ Laura can be reached at ]

FOCUS Editor's Message - Bibliotherapy and Reader’s Advisory

by Alice Ebi Kestler, FOCUS Co-Editor

A press release from ALA on November 27, 2018 announced the publication of a book titled Bibliotherapy by Liz Brewster and Sarah McNicol. The release says in part that the book “focuses on experiences of mental health and wellbeing, and particularly on how creative activities such as reading may affect mental health.”

I first heard the term bibliotherapy about 15 years ago. At the time I thought it was an odd way of describing what happens in libraries all the time. Reading changes lives—reading has changed my life many times. There have been several turning points in my life directly related to the serendipitous find of the perfect book for that time in my life. Sometimes I found the book at a used book sale, sometimes at a bookstore, but most often these books were found at a library.

In the mental health field the term bibliotherapy has a longer history than 15 years. The Journal of School Psychology (Volume 7, Issue 2, 1968–1969, Pages 36-41) published the article Bibliotherapy: Definitions, uses and studies in 1969. The abstract states that “Bibliotherapy is defined as an interaction between the reader and certain literature which is useful in aiding personal adjustment.”

What I like about both the article’s and book’s definition of bibliotherapy is that they emphasize the transformative nature of reading. Reading at its best is more than entertainment, more than fact finding; it is an interaction, a creative activity, between the reader and the book.

As librarians we have the privilege of impacting people’s lives when we suggest a book to them. The reference interview, when conducted with attention and compassion, can guide our reader’s advisory suggestions in ways that lead to health and transformation. This is true with fiction as well as nonfiction titles.

The second of the five laws of library science articulated by S. R. Ranganathan is every reader their book. That law could be expanded to ‘for every reader, in every situation, there is a book (or books).’ Our task as librarians is to help patrons find that book (or books) that will lead to transformation and health.

My wish for all of us in the New Year is that we will find this task worthy of our best efforts. Good reading to you!

[ Alice can be reached at ]

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available from the state library e-book collection:


Fulbright Specialist in Library Science Reports from Ethiopia

Submitted by Marjorie Doyle, Missoula Public Library

Greetings from Marjorie Doyle in Northern Ethiopia. Did I ever think I would be in Africa as a Fulbright Specialist in Library Science? No, I did not. But here I am nonetheless with my husband, Dan, a Fulbright Specialist in Criminology/Criminal Justice, and I’d like to share some of my observations and experiences. First, a word about myself. While working at the UW Gallagher law school library I received my MLS from UW Library School (before it was the iSchool). I’ve worked in academic, school, public and special libraries over the course of my career and am currently an on-call reference librarian at Missoula PL (my post-retirement gig). I’ve also been involved in MLA over the years in several board positions and at conferences and retreats.

I am here to work with the libraries at the University of Gondar, which encompasses multiple campuses (+45,000 students) near each other in the city of Gondar. As part of my application submitted for the Fulbright program I sent a list of suggestions on what I might be able to do while here. As my background is primarily public service this included offering information literacy workshops and doing book discussions with students to improve conversational and critical thinking skills. After arriving I met with the director of libraries, coordinator of campus branch libraries (11 library branches), and coordinator of technical services to determine what I can be expected to accomplish during my 6 weeks here. We decided on staff training in the areas of public service including basic reference service including the reference interview and information seeking behavior and information literacy. Their branch librarians have no formal library training; most have BAs in Management. So far I have been doing literature reviews on the topics I’ll be covering to be sure I am including current best practices and compiling my presentations. These two presentations, which will happen over the course of 2 weeks, will give their staff some new skills for interacting with students. I will also recommend that they consider the Idaho State Library online paraprofessional certification training program,, as they provide certifications internationally and based on my review of their reference module it presents relevant training.

Their library recently implemented the KOHA ILS and are in the process of implementing an RFID checkout system. It all sounds pretty forward thinking but their collections are more curriculum support than research based and are fairly dated. The library branches consist mainly of reading rooms, computer labs, and some course reserve/reference materials. There are 2 library branches that house the bulk of the collection, the undergrad library on the Maraki campus and the med school library located on the hospital campus. The law school library has its own collection as well which includes the largest portion of the university’s Amharic collection. In general the library collections are in English. The public school system teaches English beginning in 1st grade so most people have some literacy in English and courses at the university are taught in English.

Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa and the third poorest country in the world and so the fact that the government has made education a priority to work towards better lives for its people speaks volumes.

I have been fortunate to have developed contacts with other librarians in the US that have spent time in this area, or other developing countries, who continue to advise me on what to expect and how to handle questions. It has definitely been a learning experience so far.

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Our home away from home - the Kino Hotel, 12 minute walk to the library. Photo by Marjorie Doyle.

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The first meeting with the President of the University of Gondar, Dr. Desalagn, and Vice President, Dr. Asrat. Photo by Dr. Yemataw.

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In my office in the Tewdros campus undergraduate library wearing the standard uniform, a white lab coat. Photo by Dan Doyle.

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Looking from Fasil's Castle toward the first royal library in Gondar (rear building). Photo by Marjorie Doyle.


Kalispell Together: A Community Event at ImagineIF

Submitted by Lune Axelsen, ImagineIF

In response to a bullying incident that occurred outside ImagineIF Kalispell in August of 2018, ImagineIF Libraries collaborated with local organizations to design an event that celebrated community and championed inclusion. ImagineIF teamed up with Love Lives Here, a local anti-discrimination organization, and Highline Design Company, a local design firm that stands for human rights, outdoor recreation, wilderness, and community development. Together they came up with “Kalispell Together: A Community Celebration.”

The public was invited to join together and listen to passionate speakers, participate in hands-on activities, enjoy snacks and share a positive experience. With approval from the city, the event took place outside the library on the city street, taking on the feeling of a block party. Local musicians set a lively mood as participants painted positive messages on flags, helped create a rainbow crosswalk using sidewalk chalk, and crafted beaded bracelets. Speakers included Library Director, Connie Behe, Kalispell Police Officer, Dennis Bain, and members of Loves Lives Here.

ImagineIF Library Director, Connie Behe, said, “The ‘Kalispell Together’ event is a non-partisan celebration where we come together to celebrate our healthy community. Continuously supporting actions that create a healthy community is the heart and soul of what we do here. It is reflected in our Core Values and Strategic Plan. We champion diversity and inclusion and believe that everyone should have access to life transforming information and experiences.”

[ Lune can be reached at ]

2018 Banned Books Trivia Night in Bozeman!

Submitted by Sheila Bonnand

It was standing room only at MAP Brewing as Bozeman celebrated Banned Books week with its first Banned Books Trivia Night. On Monday evening, September 24, teams competed for trivia glory as they answered a series of questions such as why Horse by Juliet Clutton-Brock was challenged at a Helena elementary school in 2004 and what recent Netflix show caused the 2007 book it was based on to be the #1 most challenged book in 2017. Rounds included a general multiple-choice, a Montana-specific round, a round that required matching titles with the reason each was challenged, and a visual round during which participants had to match covers from challenged books with their titles. Over 60 people attended the event. The evening also included a pint night; over $220 was raised for the Freedom to Read Foundation.

The event was organized as a collaborative effort of Bozeman Public Library, the Country Bookshelf, the MSU Library, and the ACLU of Montana. MAP Brewing of Bozeman provided the event space and hosted the pint night.

[ Sheila can be reached at ]

11th Children’s Festival of the Book Bozeman Public Library

Submitted by Cindy Christin, Bozeman Public Library

Over 500 kids and their families—as well as adults who read and write children’s books—attended the 11th Children’s Festival of the Book in Bozeman on Saturday, November 10. Caldecott-winning illustrator Matthew Cordell talked about his life, his books, and his path to winning the prestigious award with his book Wolf in the Snow. Matthew worked with the wolf scientists in Yellowstone when researching the book about a young girl who finds a wolf pup in a snowstorm, so we made it possible for him to spend two days in Yellowstone National Park touring the northern region and looking for wolves. They were able to see 11 wolves on an elk carcass! He went with his friend Eddie Hemingway, also a children’s author/illustrator who recently published Tough Cookie, a holiday version of the Gingerbread Boy story.

Also featured was Tracey Baptiste, author of the popular series, The Jumbies, the new Minecraft book, Minecraft: The Crash, as well as several nonfiction and YA titles. Tracey is a former classroom teacher and is on the faculty at Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program. Tracey was born in Trinidad and her middle grade novels are based on the folklore of her island. Both Matthew and Tracey visited local schools on the Friday before the Festival.

Bozeman’s Janet Fox recently published a book about Yellowstone called Volcano Dreams, a beautifully-illustrated picture books about the super volcano underneath Yellowstone Park. Janet talked about growing up with a rock collection and a fascination for volcanoes. She is also the author of the popular The Charmed Children of Rootskill Castle and several YA novels.

We are already looking at authors and illustrators for next year’s Festival, so stay tuned!

[ Cindy can be reached at ]

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Authors Janet Fox and Eddie Hemingway. Photo by Cindy Christin.

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Authors Tracey Baptiste and Matt Cordell. Photo by Cindy Christin.

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Helping Teens Find Their Power: The First Annual Bozeman Teen Book Fest

By Brittany Alberson, Bozeman Public School

We Had an Idea

The first annual Bozeman Teen Book Fest came to be thanks to a combination of a generous donor, a public and school librarian superteam, and the desire to have a teen-focused literary event. Bozeman already hosts an annual Children’s Festival of the Book but many of Bozeman’s teen readers have aged out of this great annual event and we wanted to offer something just for them.

The planning process was spearheaded by Kate Holloway, Teen Services Librarian at Bozeman Public Library. She joined forces with Jessica Hahl, Events Coordinator at the Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, to engage authors to come to Bozeman and speak to local teens about writing, publishing, and the wondrous, complex world of YA literature. Rounding out the team were Rita Kroon, Kerri Cobb, and Brittany Alberson from the Berg Library at Bozeman High School along with local writers Kelsi Turner and Janet Fox. Together, we devised a series of events for Bozeman teens that would afford them the opportunity to meet and hear from three fantastic authors: Zoraida Córdova, Kathleen Glasgow, and Jeff Giles.

A Few Words on the Wordsmiths

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Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series and The Vicious Deep trilogy. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel. Photo courtesy of the author (from

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Jeff Giles is a writer based in Montana. He was previously the Deputy Editor of Entertainment Weekly, where he oversaw all coverage of movies and books...Giles has freelanced for many outlets, including Rolling Stone and The New York Times Book Review. Jeff’s debut novel, The Edge of a [YA] Contemporary/Fantasy. A Montana girl, who’s grieving after the mysterious death of her dad, chases her little brother into a blizzard—and stumbles on a bounty hunter from the underworld who’s come to take a soul. She tries to help him escape his life before all hell breaks loose. Photo by Brian Schott. (from

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Kathleen Glasgow is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel, Girl in Pieces. She lives in Arizona. Girl in Pieces has been named to best of lists by The New York Public Library, Amazon, TAYSHA, Goop, TeenVogue, BN Teen, Refinery29,, TeenReads, and more. Girl in Pieces has been longlisted for the Waterstones Book Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Girl in Pieces was a finalist for the Amelia Walden Book Award. Her second young adult novel, How to Make Friends With the Dark, will be published by Delacorte Press in April 2019. Photo by Jade Beall. (from

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Photographer: Kate Holloway Bozeman Teen Book Fest authors at the Bozeman Public Library’s Teen Corner

Left to right: Kathleen Glasgow, Jeff Giles, Zoraida Córdova

Getting the High School Involved

Once we had authors and a date (Friday, November 9) and times (4th and 5th periods), we went into high gear involving the high school community in the event preparations. Student writers from the school paper, Hawk Talk, interviewed the school librarians and published a promotional story in the paper prior to the event. Students in Brad Mehr’s Hawk Enterprise Travel and Tourism classes created promotional materials and pitched ideas for author gift bags and then presented them to the committee for consideration. The Bozeman High School Literacy Committee bought several copies of the authors’ books to give away to students. A Senior at Bozeman High School set herself the task of starting and running a Book Club and the members ultimately consumed three of the authors’ books in the weeks beforehand. Displays were installed in the Berg Library at the high school and included boxes into which students could submit their names for give-away book drawings and questions for the authors. Finally, the school librarians sent out an RSVP email to teachers to bring their 4th and 5th period classes to the presentations.

On the day of the event, the authors arrived and set up their spaces at the top table. Jeff made sure his flash drive would play nicely with the presentation computer so he could show students the run of vastly different covers artists had submitted to his publisher for his first book, The Edge of Everything. Kathleen produced handfuls of little notebooks and pens and distributed them on the chairs for students to use during her portion of the presentation. Zoraida spotted a fake skull on a library cart (this was just after Halloween, remember) and immediately marched it up to her spot at the table. And the stage was set!

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Photographer: Brittany Alberson. Bozeman High School Berg Library

During 4th period, 69 people enjoyed an hour of storytelling, writing, author Q&A, and hilarious banter between the presenters. A whopping 142 enjoyed the same program during 5th period. Jessica was on hand from the Country Bookshelf with stacks of books for people to purchase if they wanted them signed. Students who had won give-away books brought them in to have them signed by the authors. During the signing portion of the program, Jeff, Zoraida, and Kathleen struck up conversations with a range of teenaged fans, from the composed and inquisitive to the adoring and nervous. Several students got pictures taken with the authors. One girl asked Kathleen to sign her arm. The atmosphere was warm, lively, and festive throughout.

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Photographer: Brittany Alberson. Left to Right: Kate Holloway - Bozeman Public Library, Zoraida Cordova - Author, Jeff Giles - Author, and Kathleen Glasgow - Author.

The Finale

Rounding out the first annual Bozeman Teen Book Fest, everyone came together one more time for a final author presentation at Bozeman Public Library in the evening of Friday, November 9, 2018. 38 members of the public were in attendance. Jeff, Zoraida, and Kathleen were able to go into further detail on their works, their processes, their inspirations. Jeff shared the story of how he got to be an extra in The Return of the King. It involves yak hair and is most amusing. Zoraida revealed that the realistic teenage dialogue she writes is inspired by the fact that she lives across the street from a middle school and the kids are “not especially quiet when leaving school.” Kathleen explained how she squeezes in time to write between a full-time job and parenting duties. Another round of signing followed and wrapped up with a celebratory final meal at a local restaurant.

The Takeaways

There are so many moving pieces to an event like this. Contacting authors and negotiating contracts with them and securing accommodations and travel plans for them kept Kate and Jessica busy for months. Determining the timing of the individual events was a painstaking process and all the while the committee realized that it would have to stay flexible to account for the vicissitudes of teenage curiosity and engagement. Coordinating with students for promotional materials was a daily effort for Kerri, Rita, and Brittany. Ordering and organizing and transporting sufficient stock in books occupied much of Jessica’s time. Kelsi and Janet lent the committee the benefit of their own experiences at such events and helped us take into account the authors’ experiences as we planned everything. Kelsi pulled together lovely gift bags for the authors. We all pitched in on transportation to and from the airport for Kathleen and Zoraida (Jeff drove down from Whitefish). And everyone, the authors included, helped to tidy up after each event.

The hard work and long planning ultimately paid off as Bozeman welcomed three outstanding authors and watched as they connected with Montana kids over their books and their shared experiences. And the fun isn’t over yet. Before they left, Jeff and Zoraida snapped pictures of some of the more specific questions the Book Club submitted to them and are planning on emailing their answers back to the school and Kathleen told the school librarians to be on the lookout for a copy of a book she is mailing to a student at the high school with whom she connected during a signing. The committee will pause for a moment and get through the holidays but then will come together again in 2019 and start planning the second annual Bozeman Teen Book Fest.

[ Brittany can be reached at ]

Amigos Conference - Call for Proposals

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As librarians, providing equitable access to all patrons should be a top priority. The patrons visiting our libraries should reflect the diversity of the communities we live in. Unfortunately, there are many populations that go under-served. How can we broaden our reach to better serve all our community?

Join Amigos Library Services by submitting a presentation sharing your experiences providing services to commonly under-served populations. Our online conference will take place on Thursday, February 28.

Suggested topics include experiences providing equitable access and services in the following categories:

▪ People with disabilities

▪ People of color

▪ LGBTQ community

▪ People experiencing poverty and/or homelessness

▪ Non-English-speaking and/or multilingual populations

▪ Rural, Native, and Tribal libraries

▪ Bookmobiles

▪ Illiteracy

▪ Older adults

▪ Active military and veterans

▪ Incarcerated populations

If you can speak on one of these topics, or have another topic in mind, please submit your proposal here by December 16, 2018. Don't worry if you've never presented online. It's easy, and we are happy to train you. We will provide technical support during your presentation.

Registration for the conference will open early January. Watch for the announcement on the MLA listserv. People may also sign up for the Amigos Library Services biweekly newsletter at

For more information about the conference, contact Megan Bryant at or 800-843-8482, ext. 2896.

Megan Bryant

Library Services and Technology Trainer

Amigos Library Services

4901 LBJ FWY, Suite 150, Dallas, TX 75244-6179

800-843-8482 x2896 | 972-340-2896 (direct) |


West Valley School Librarian Renell Wilson Receives Recognition

Submitted by Dana Carmichael

Kudos to Renell Wilson for an article in the Bigfork Eagle recognizing her achievement. Read the article here:

Joy Bridwell at Stone Child College Recognized by the ALA 2018 I Love My Librarian Award!

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All 10 winners of the 2018 I Love My Librarian! Award

Image courtesy of the American Library Association

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Joy Lynn Bridwell


Stone Child College Library

Box Elder, Montana

Joy’s devotion to her community shines through her work

Joy is commended for engaging students, many of whom may not be familiar with library resources and services. She also works to continually extend the role of the library to meet the needs of the community of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation as well as the surrounding areas.

She provides library literacy training for students. To make it more fun and engaging, Joy holds scavenger hunts with prizes. And she hosts library tours and trainings for community members who live nearby to introduce them to resources and services that are available through the school.

Joy works with the library’s tribal archive, often partnering with local elders to add and create Cree-language materials to the collection.

She helps bring the community together by planning and hosting events on campus. The library has held events like game night and a talent competition. During midterms, the library held a karaoke event to help students relieve stress and have fun.

In the words of her nominator, “Joy loves her job and you can see that in the way that she works with everyone that comes in the library” and that she “never turns down anyone when they ask for help or assistance.”

Read Joy's full nomination here:


CSLP Catalog

If you have not yet received a Collaborative Summer Library Program order catalog and want one, please let Amelea Kim know. There are still about 50 copies left at MSL. If it is not convenient for you to come to Helena we can arrange to get copies to you. The catalogs will also be available at the MLA conference in April.

Amelea Kim

Lifelong Learning Librarian

Montana State Library

Office: (406) 444-0224

Cell: (406)-431-0685

Mini Grants Available

Submitted by Ann Ewbank

Please consider applying for this mini-grant:

Get ‘em Outside:

Funding Opportunity for Newspaper Projects

Submitted by

Natasha Hollenbach
Digital Projects Librarian
Montana Historical Society


Have you been considering a project to digitize your local newspaper for MONTANA NEWSPAPERS?

The Montana History Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019 grant cycle. Grants range from $500-$5000. They have funded a number of newspaper digitization projects in the last couple of years and so have a proven record of supporting Montana Newspapers projects. Applications are due January 25th, 2019.

YOUR FIRST STEP: Contact me (Natasha Hollenbach with the newspaper and the year you’d like to start digitizing. I’ll put together a quote for you to use in your application. (We will also write a letter of support if you’d like.) To consider all your options, go here and look up your community by county or city and see what newspapers are available. But be warned, the complications are fewer if you choose a date range 1923 or earlier. After 1964, you’ll be asked to secure copyright permission from the publisher.

Don’t wait until the last minute! Putting together a quote takes time, and I’ll be on vacation Dec 19th-Jan 3rd. Contact me ASAP if you’re interested in getting a quote or learning more.

MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, a service of the Montana Historical Society, is freely accessible to all Internet users; no subscriptions or fees are required.

EBSCO Information Services Community College Learning Resources Program Award

Submitted by

Laura Mondt

Instruction and Research Librarian

Bentley Library-Haverhill

Northern Essex Community College

(978) 556-3421

The Community and Junior College Libraries Section (CJCLS) of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is excited to accept nominations for the annual EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award and EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award.

The two awards sponsored by EBSCO Information Services will offer winners a citation and $750 at a special ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., June 2019. Submissions must be received by December 7, 2018. Self-nominations are welcome!

The applicant for the Learning Resources Leadership Award should demonstrate achievement in one or both of the following areas:

Significant achievement in advocacy of learning resources/library programs or services


Leadership in professional organizations that are associated with the mission of community, junior, or technical colleges.

The applicant for the Learning Resources Program Award should demonstrate achievement in

Significant achievement in development of a unique and innovative learning resources/library program.

For complete information about these awards, the application form and past winners, please visit:


Mail questions and nominations to Laura Mondt, Northern Essex Community College,

2019 Loleta D. Fyan Grant—Apply Soon


Loleta Fyan, 1951-52 ALA President, bequeathed funds to ALA with the intent that "these funds be used for the development and improvement of public libraries and the services they provide."


Loleta D. Fyan, who was the State Librarian of Michigan for 20 years, believed that every individual, regardless of residence, is equally entitled to high quality library service and that librarians must be adept in using the political process to acquire this "right of citizenship". A pioneer in extending library service to rural areas and small communities and a proponent of library cooperation, Fyan was a driving force behind Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) funding.


Applicants can include but are not limited to: local, regional or state libraries, associations or organizations, including units of the American Library Association; library schools; or individuals.


The project(s):

  1. must result in the development and improvement of public libraries and the services they provide;

  2. must have the potential for broader impact and application beyond meeting a specific local need;

  3. should be designed to effect changes in public library services that are innovative and responsive to the future; and

  4. should be capable of completion within one year.


Up to $5,000 total for one or more projects. A check for half the total amount of the grant (up to $2,500) will be paid within one month of the ALA Annual Conference. The remaining amount released after winner submits a 6-month report and the report is approved by chair of the Fyan Jury and Staff Liaison to the Jury. If no proposal is deemed worthy, the award may not be given.

How to Apply

Please send via email one completed application cover sheet and proposal with budget to the ALA Staff Liaison listed below. Email subject line should read “2019 Fyan Award Proposal”. File formats accepted are MS Word 2003 or newer, and PDF. Please do not fax or mail.

If you are interested in applying for this award, please click on the following for more information:

Submission Deadline

February 12, 2019

Jury Chair and Members

Listing of Fyan Jury

Staff Liaison

Send submissions to:

Kathy Rosa, EdD, MSLS
Director, Library & Research Center
American Library Association
Phone: 312-280-4273
Send submissions to:

Past winners

Previous Fyan winners

Transition to ASPeN for Collecting Credits and Applying for MT State Library Certification

Submitted by

Joann Flick
Continuing Education Coordinator
Montana State Library


Until December 3rd: Posting credits or applying for certification is suspended in both the old library directory and ASPeN. Please keep track of any CE credits you earn in the next two weeks offline and wait until after December 3rd to post your credits in ASPeN (the new library directory). You will not be able to access your data in the old library directory - it's not gone, just not accessible. That data will be archived.

Right now IT staff are synchronizing data from the old directory with the ASPeN and conducting quality control checks this week and next week. This is one of the final steps in the transition from the old directory to ASPeN.

We expect to make the CE functions in ASPeN available on December 3rd.

The week of December 3rd, we have scheduled extended ASPeN office hours, so plan to drop in any of these dates/times, if you need help with anything in ASPeN:

Mon-Thursday: 8:30-9:30 am and 3:30-5 pm

Friday - regular ASPeN office hours: 9-11 am

To join, you don't need to register, and you can drop in anytime during office hours. Just use this information to join online or call:

ASPeN Office Hours -

You can also dial in using your phone: (408) 650-3123

Access Code: 540-352-757

​ASPeN office hours are informal drop-in events, you don't need a reason to come, but if you've encountered anything about ASPeN that you want to learn more about, take a screen shot or make a note and stop in.

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Submissions Open for the February 2019 Issue!

REMINDER: The submission deadline for the February newsletter is January 20. Please email your library news, micro-reviews & photos (with captions & attributions) to Thank You!


Montana Library FOCUS

[ISSN 1076-352X]

The FOCUS is an official publication of the Montana Library Association (MLA), and is published in collaboration with the members which it serves. You can look for new issues six times a year: in February, April, June, August, October, and December. With an online readership of over 500, the newsletter works to reflect, inspire, and give voice to the vibrant communities that exist in and around Montana’s libraries.

The FOCUS welcomes your input! To submit feedback, articles, reviews, inquiries, and ideas—or to place an ad or provide sponsorship—please contact the editorial staff directly: