a newsletter of the Montana Library Association

[October 2018 Vol. 36 Issue 5]
Big picture


Missoula Sunset

Missoula Sunset by Elizabeth Jonkel

As we climb aboard for another whirl on the political merry-go-round of mid-term elections, I’m reminded of a great TED Talks program I watched a few years ago entitled Why Mayors Should Rule the World. As with all TED Talks, the speaker, Benjamin Barber, condensed a big, radical idea into a short presentation: “a parliament of mayors is a parliament of citizens and that’s a parliament of us, of you, of me.” A better future, Barber asserted, arises through practical change at a local level.

I keep thinking of Barber’s proposal with regards to the role my profession of librarianship plays in terms of service to our communities. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what is going on globally or even nationally, and here, in our corner of the world, it can be difficult to see how any one person could make a positive difference or even remotely affect seemingly insurmountable problems. Yet, as the TED Talks speaker reminds us, we all know at least one inspired person in our community who did some small thing that helped others. It could be a new stop sign at a busy intersection or the designation of a new park or new support for a shelter to help those in need. Or, just maybe, it was you, in your library, finding a new way to help put a book in a child’s hands or help a person find a job. In humble ways, librarians take on global problems every day to find local solutions.

Libraries are frequently the hub of their community. It’s where a town thinks and learns, a place of self-reflection and self-definition. The people who work in libraries typically know their community well. We know what is valued by our users. We know what fascinates and drives local curiosity. We know who is in need, what the nature of that need is, and can readily identify how that need might be met. We are the counselors, the teachers, the ministers, and the speakers for those who use our services. Each of us advises on what our communities ought to do to make things better at a local level.

If we are individually strong through our profession, then together we are a formidable group. The Montana Library Association is our collective voice for change in the library realm and beyond the borders of our institutional walls. MLA is founded on principles such as equal access to information, advocacy for libraries and their users, and strength through membership. For the 2019 annual MLA conference in Helena we have chosen the theme Going the Whole Way. We call on members to reflect on how the role of libraries and librarians is transforming; on how we balance service delivery to address the various challenges our communities and patrons face. Libraries are safe and welcoming. We are front line champions for our communities. Our influence is greater than even we suspect. I invite everyone to recognize our professional strength and join with MLA in advocating for a better future for Montana.

Right now, planning for the 2019 annual MLA conference is underway. Be sure to hold the dates of April 10 – 13, 2019 open to join me in Helena, Montana. Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins will be our keynote speaker. Mayor Collin is a refugee and immigrant, an advocate for social justice and helping the under served, and an individual who demonstrates how a strong community and progressive civic engagement can coalesce to create a dynamic citizenry. Our guest author will be writer Rick Bass, an activist and writer, whose latest book, Travelling Feast, is a memoir of food and authorship that explores how personal relationships inspire us all.

I invite you also to think of what you’re doing to initiate change for your users, something you can teach the rest of us. Please consider submitting a proposal for presenting a program. You may collaborate with a colleague or co-worker, or facilitate or participate in a panel discussion. Proposals are due Friday, October 5. The submission form can be found on the MLA Website.

In October I look forward to the MLA Fall Retreat and Board Meeting on October 15-16 in Chico and Livingston. As always, if you have any items you wish brought before the MLA Board, please do not hesitate to let me know ( or 406-258-3866). Your voice is important and will be heard.

[ Elizabeth can be reached at ]


This issue of MLA FOCUS showcases the important work of archivists in Montana in honor of American Archives Month.

News from MLA

-Executive Director Debbi Kramer gives some background information on updates to the MLA directory and the audit committee.

-Public Library Division Chair Mitch Grady reminds you that there’s still time to register for the fall retreat at Chico!

-Stephen and Mary Ann, chairs of the conference planning committee, invite you to submit a proposal for the 2019 MLA Annual Conference

-MLA Awards Committee Chair, Carly Delsigne, introduces the new criteria for MLA awards.

-FOCUS Editor Sarah Creech introduces the archives newsletter by describing the Carl A. Kroch Library and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University.

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

MLA Affiliate News

-MPLA & KLA Joint Conference registration information, congratulations to MPLA for 70 years!

-Corey Fifles introduces herself as the PNLA rep and discusses the benefits of PNLA membership.

-YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium registration is open!

-MSL Consulting Librarians talk archives.

-Jennie Stapp provides some background on the statewide public awareness campaign called Information Powers MT.

-Montana The Magazine of Western History is publishing a special Ivan Doig issue in autumn!

-FOCUSing on Montana Archives and Archivists – hear from 5 MT archivists on what they do every day and what they wish people knew about daily work.

Programs, Promotions, Projects

-Lewis & Clark Library’s 150th Anniversay Quilt is complete!

-Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library is “re-burying” their time capsule for the people of 2118.

-Exciting updates on library groundbreakings from this summer.

-MSU Billings is hosting a “monsters” fall lecture series.

-There is new Montana newspaper content from Montana Historical Society


-Introducing the 2018 MLA Sheila Cates Scholarship Winners, Ben Chiewphasa, Sarah Creech, and Crystal Kobayashi

-Medicine Spring Library at Blackfeet Community College wins a national award!


-Call for FY 2018 statistics from the Montana State Library

-The MT State Library needs your input! Fill out the survey by October 31.

-Legal tip from MT Legal Services Association: how to respond when you’re served court papers

-Bat week is October 24-31. Request your resources today!

-The Montana Historical Society Press has released a new title: Ties, Rails, and Telegraph Wires: Railroads and Communities in Montana the West

-Platform 9 ¾ visits Helena

-Submissions open for the December 2018 FOCUS.


Montana Library Association logo and mission statement

Executive Director Report

by Debbi Kramer, Executive Director

As many of you may or may not know, MLA lists all the email contact information for MLA officers, committee chairs, interest group chairs and division chairs on the MLA website under the Governance link. Recently MLA has been experiencing many, many phishing problems. Hopefully you didn’t receive anything from an MLA officer asking you to purchase or donate money to a cause. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, MLA President Elizabeth Jonkel has asked that all contact information be taken off the website. If you check out the Directory link you will see that the new lists do not contain email addresses. This is unfortunate because this information allows MLA members to contact those parties with questions or concerns. MLA has never given email addresses from our membership database to businesses for use to contact you directly. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. In the future if you would like the contact information, please send me the request and I will send that information to you. If you have a better way to approach this difficulty please let me know. In the meantime, thank you for your understanding.

I have had a very busy summer. Most of my summer was working on updating the Membership Database. I have tried my best to remove those who have left the library community either through retirement or moving on. I have added all current trustees to the database so they will receive communications. Please invite your trustees to join or renew their membership in MLA and inform them of important matters. Their input and knowledge is very important to our organization. If you see an update that needs to be made, please contact me.

I have completed the 990-ez which is the tax form that all non-profits must submit to the IRS. The tax form was approved by the newly formed Audit Committee and will go to the full board for approval at the fall meeting on October 15th at the Livingston Park Co. Public Library. After board approval the tax form will be posted in the financial section of the MLA website.

In July an Audit Committee was formed. The Audit Committee is comprised of MLA Past Presidents: Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Chair, John Finn, Sheila Bonnand and Eva English. The committee will be sent all financial materials at the end of each month in an effort to make MLA’s financials more transparent and to be sure MLA is following all the rules and regulations outlined by the IRS. The committee will also be charged with arranging an outside audit of MLA financials when appropriate.

The conference planning committee is busy working with area Helena businesses to make the 2019 annual conference the best it can be. In the coming weeks more information will be available on the MLA conference link. Be sure to check the link!

[ Deb can be reached at]

Still Time to Register for the Fall PLD/ASLD Retreat

by Mitch Grady, Public Library Division Chair

The Fall Retreat is fast approaching, October 14th and 15th at lovely Chico Hot Springs.

Why should you attend? Because eight wonderful, erudite librarians and library staff from across Montana will be sharing their wisdom, tricks, and secrets over the course of nine programs. Check them out here.

Register today!

Submit a Proposal for the MLA Annual Conference!

by Stephan Licitra and Mary Ann George, MLA Conference Co-Planners, 2019
Street Sign Logo stating Going the Whole Way

Greetings Montana Librarians, Support Staff, Trustees, and Library Friends!

The Call for Proposals is still open (until the end of today, October 5) for the 2019 Montana Library Association’s Annual Conference and we are asking you to send us your ideas.

This year the annual MLA conference will be April 10 – 13, 2019 in beautiful Helena, Montana!!

As you can tell we are just a little bit excited here, in Helena, to share with you the best of Montana libraries and show off our state capital too!

MLA President, Elizabeth Jonkel, has picked the theme “Going the Whole Way”. She says, “MLA’s theme for the 2019 annual conference is “Going the Whole Way,” which references the transforming role facing libraries and librarians to balance empathic service delivery with the current social and economic challenges in our communities. A new kind of librarianship is emerging that expands on the significance of libraries as safe and welcoming places for all. As the landscape of Montana changes the kinds of services that we perform for our communities will need to change as well.

Fresh out of ideas for proposals? Maybe these questions will help.

  • Do you have a really good relationship with a local organization? Why and how did that happen?
  • Do you share programing or space in your library? Tell us what works and doesn’t.
  • Do you have a good program or workshop you like to give (Novel or not)? Tell us more.
  • Have you done a needs assessment on your community? How did you do it and what will you do now?
  • Are you really good at answering reference questions? Why not give a workshop?
  • Does your community have unique challenges? Why not give a panel discussion?
  • Is there are particular audience you serve and want to talk about (ex. home-bound, homeless, single moms, working parent/s…)
  • Is there a program that you always wanted to see but no one has done (this might be your chance to shine.)
  • Are you skilled at running a meeting or managing a board? (tell us more.)
  • Are there ways you are trying to make your library more healthful?
  • Are you really skilled at or using new/old technology?
  • What are you doing to keep your library ‘fresh’?

The deadline for submissions is Friday, October 5th.

Find the submission form on the MLA Website. Montana libraries are doing innovative and interesting things and the MLA conference is an important and fun way to share that with your library colleagues. Please consider presenting a program, collaborating with a colleague or co-worker or participating in a panel discussion.

Thank you for all you do for Montana Libraries.


Stephan Licitra and Mary Ann George

MLA Conference Co-Planners, 2019

Stephan Licitra is the Technical Services Librarian at the State Law Library of Montana and can be reached via email at Stephan first started volunteering for his local library and has never left. Before he joined the staff of the Law library in 2015, he worked at public, academic, and special libraries. He currently is responsible for processing and caring for library materials, cataloging new and original works, and coordinating the Federal Depository Program for the State Law Library. When not working Stephan likes to be outside or just read a book.

Mary Ann George has been the Library Technician at Helena College Library for the past 13 years and can be reached via email at She had the honor of attending the PNLA Leadership Institute in 2010. She takes advantage of the variety of recreational opportunities Helena and Montana offer: hiking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing. She is excited to have the conference return to Helena after 10 years. She wants to encourage her fellow support staff to think about being presenters at MLA this year.

MLA Awards Committee Update

by Carly Delsigne, Awards and Honors Committee Chair

The MLA Awards Committee thanks you for the helpful feedback last April. We love to serve on a committee that matters so much to so many. One of the things you mentioned was that you wished you had more lead time. Your wish is our command . . . please begin thinking about and preparing your nominations as soon as you'd like.

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!):

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.

Happy nominating,


FOCUS Editor's Message

by Sarah Creech, FOCUS Co-Editor
Big picture

Olin Library - the only way to get in to the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University.

Photo labeled for noncommercial reuse.

I spent many hours in the building in the photo - one of Cornell University's 20 libraries. It is centrally located on the campus, has a coffee shop, many printing stations, and a lot of nooks and crannies for silent studying (or sleeping, depending on the hour). Not a lot of people, however, spent a lot of time in the three story library underneath Olin Library, the Carl A. Kroch Library. Kroch houses the university's Rare and Manuscript Collection, and it is a site worthy of a visit for anyone interested in archives.

There is currently one physical collection on display at the library, Mixed Media: the Interplay of Sound and Text. There are over 50 collections available for online browsing at the Kroch library website. It's really interesting to think about how these collections can be used for programming in Montana. I may be able to pull some information from the Signal to Code exhibition for some history of coding lectures, or maybe the Not by Bread Alone exhibition can "feed" some of the background information for the next STEAM workshop related to food science I present to the youth in our community.

Looking through these archives makes me curious about what treasures are available in Montana archives, in the universities and elsewhere. I know about the Doig collection at Montana State University thanks to a few amazing programs from the MSU Library staff. Now I have the opportunity to review a few more Montana archives, and I hope you all get a chance to do so as well! Two that have responded to our FOCUSing on Archives survey are The History Museum in Great Falls and The Montana Historical Society in Helena.

Thank you, archivists, for your dedication to capturing, storing, recording and preserving information and materials that would otherwise go by the wayside. I find it inspiring to be able to look through collections of items from a bygone era, and I'm looking forward to getting to know the MT archives throughout the state as I spend more time here.

[ Sarah can be reached at ]

Big picture

The Tech Services Interest Group Wants to Help Archive All MT Materials

Submitted by Laura Tretter, MLA Technical Services Interest group

As we take time to celebrate the work of archivists to preserve, catalog and make accessible our important records, look around your libraries for Montana materials. Although many of these materials would not be handled by archivists, they are often unique enough that it is up to us to catalog and make them accessible. In fact, if we don’t, no one will. These types of Montana treasures can include brochures, newsletters, local government reports, maps, and posters. We know from experience that these materials can be challenging to catalog, so we are prepared to help. Reach out through our cataloging project to let us know what you have.

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

Recently cataloged Montana materials include:

  • Kampgrounds of America, Inc. annual report

  • Digestive disease challenges for the community clinician by Micholas V. Costrini, MD

  • World War 1: Valley County, Montana by Richard D. Woods

  • I learned to dance in reform school by H.L. McCall

  • Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park, Montana by Bred Bouda

  • How short is the journey by George Jimmerson

  • Looking back: reflections of Orin P. Kendall by Orin Kendall

  • Proposed natural gas line to Regina with existing pipelines and gas areas of Alberta - Saskatchewan & Montana (map)

[ Laura can be reached at ]


Big picture

MPLA & KLA Joint Conference - MPLA Celebrates 70 Years

by Rachel Rawn, MPLA Representative, Library Director at Havre-Hill

The Kansas Library Association/Mountain Plains Library Association joint conference will be October 24-26 in Wichita, Kansas. Registration for the conference and conference details can be found at

MPLA Celebrates 70 years

Mountain Plains Library Association turned 70 this year! Join in the celebration during the KLA/MPLA joint conference in Wichita, KS. The MPLA 70th Birthday Bash will be 8-10 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24, at the new Wichita Advanced Learning Library. There is an entry fee of $10.

See ALA's Tribute Resolution Honoring the 70th Anniversary of the Mountain Plains Library Association here:

Check out the MPLA website at for information on how to become a member, updates on what's going on around the region, and job opening in all twelve member states. For any comments or questions contact Rachel Rawn at

PNLA Update

by Corey Fifles, PNLA Representative, Programming and Outreach Librarian at Bozeman Public Library

Hello from your new Pacific Northwest Library Association representative! I’m Corey Fifles, Programming and Outreach Librarian in Bozeman, Montana. I was elected in the late spring to serve a three year term, and I have thus far enjoyed both the MLA and the PNLA Boards. I attended my first event as representative in June in Canyon Ferry, shortly followed by the PNLA conference in August in Kalispell, and had a great time experiencing and learning firsthand how each of these organizations can best serve our libraries around the state, and ourselves as librarians. Both of these events renewed my enthusiasm for my career field, and my choice to develop it here in Montana!!!

One of the PNLA’s major strengths is its’ networking reach, and their awesome, free job board! Consider becoming a member, and accessing many other benefits while growing your regional camaraderie. As I’ve stepped into this position and gone through the archives of notes passed on to me by predecessors, I welcome and encourage any fresh ideas, thoughts, questions, or comments you have about PNLA!

[ Corey can be reached at ]

YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium

There is still time to register for YALSA’s Young Adult Services Symposium, which will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 2-4, 2018, with the theme: Zeroing In: Focusing on Teen Needs. Programs will cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults, including how libraries can best support teens’ social and emotional learning to help them effectively navigate a challenging world. All are welcome. View the list of programs and learn more at
Big picture

MSL Consultants FOCUS on Archives

by Pam Henley, Lauren McMullen, Suzanne Reymer; Montana State Library Statewide Consulting Librarians
Big picture

Pam, Lauren, and Suzanne. Photo provided.

Pam says:

The Internet Archive & Wayback Machine are excellent resources when you need to locate information from the past. With a mission of "universal access to all knowledge" the Internet Archive provides free public access to digital collections of public-domain books, movies, software, music, websites and more. Anyone can contribute to the Community section, so it may not be the most reliable source. However, a search for “Montana” in the American Libraries collection brings a fascinating assortment of Montana highway maps, Montana Outdoors magazine and variety of other state publications, all with downloading options that include .pdf, kindle and Daisy (for print-disabled readers).

Looking for a web page from the past? Try searching the Wayback Machine, the web archive section of the Internet Archive. Using web crawlers to collect and preserve the web, the Wayback Machine allows searching for a specific URL. Results will include a timeline, indicating how many pages are available in each year. Click on a date to see the page from back then!

Lauren says:

Special collections and archives go together like pennies and a piggy bank. Academic, special, and school libraries keep special collections to support learning and research, while many public libraries collect and preserve unique local materials that are of interest to community members, historians, and genealogists.

In the past, special collections archives were remote, mysterious places where helpful librarians guided researchers in careful examination of primary resources in their original formats. Digitization comes along and suddenly these wonderful resources can be shared with the world while being protected from damage by handling – yay! And the helpful librarians are still around, collecting, preserving, and assisting researchers using digital sources.

What’s your special collection, and how’s your access? Did you know that your library can contribute content to the Montana Memory Project (MMP) – Montana’s digital library of cultural heritage? MMP content then becomes part of the Digital Public Library of America. Now that’s some exposure!

To learn more, take a test drive of the MMP and DPLA, and visit the MMP at the Montana State Library.Then contact MMP director Jennifer Birnel at to get started.

And Suzanne says:

Organizational records may not be the sexiest kind of archive around, but we’re required by law to keep them. At the State Library, the first question we always get is “What must I keep?” So, we provided a Quick Guide to Records Retention for Montana Libraries.

Some of your libraries may also be current or past E-rate recipients. If so, you’ll need to keep all E-rate related records including forms, bids (or lack thereof), bills and discounts received, etc. for 10 years. More information is available from the USAC website.

[ Pam can be reached at ; Lauren can be reached at; Suzanne can be reached at ]


Information Powers MT - Public Awareness Campaign

by Jennie Stapp, State Librarian
Big picture

Librarian, Susie McIntyre, and a patron from the Great Falls Public Library

The Montana State Library (MSL), in partnership with the Montana Library Association (MLA) and the Montana Associate of Geographic Information Professionals, launched a public awareness campaign to increase awareness for all Montanans about the information, services, and professional expertise offered by Montana libraries and information professionals. MSL contracted with Banik Communications, a Great Falls firm, to lead the campaign which is paid for through donations from the State Library Trust.

MSL and Banik chose to focus the campaign on the information resources and services libraries offer to support the economy of Montana. Montana’s librarians and geographic information professionals want Montanans and Montana communities to thrive by having the tools and resources they need to pursue entrepreneurship, identify and expand their economic opportunities, and plan for informed investment. The message of the campaign is that our communities make that possible by providing reliable, timely, objective, and authoritative information.

The campaign includes a coordinated social media campaign including sites on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. People should like the campaign’s Facebook page: Powering MT. Montanans should post and share social media content from the campaign widely. Libraries should also follow and link to the YouTube channel which features videos of Montanans talking about the value of library services. These videos will also be used in television spots that will air later this year.

In additional to social media, Banik created large outdoor banners that will be displayed in communities around Montana as well as give-ways, including like stickers and posters, that libraries should share with their patrons, local businesses, and other community partners. Give-aways are available so contact MSL for more information. These materials are also accompanied by a community toolkit that includes logo information, sample press releases, talking points, presentations and event guides. MSL hopes that Montana libraries, board members, patrons and partners will use the resources to advocate on behalf of Montana’s libraries and information community. MLA hosts the campaign’s website where all the campaign resources reside. That website is

If you would like more ideas about how to use the campaign in your advocacy work, please contact Jennie Stapp (, 444-3116) or Tracy Cook (, 444-9816) at MSL.

Montana Historical Society’s Magazine to Feature Ivan Doig

by Tammy Ryan, Montana the Magazine of Western History

Big picture

It’s not often that Montana The Magazine of Western History publishes a special issue, but the main subject of the new Autumn edition is Ivan Doig, one of Montana’s most prolific authors. His love of history, understanding of human-landscape interactions, and affection for working class people distinguish his novels as genuine portrayals of Montana at a particular time and place. The genesis for this dedicated issue was set into motion when Ivan’s wife Carol decided to make Montana State University the home for the Doig collection and a symposium took place at MSU in 2017.

The cover of the next issue (featured above) is a photograph of the Rocky Mountain Front titled Old Man of the Hills. It was taken by East Glacier photographer Tony Bynum. Bynum is a member of Oregon’s Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and an international photojournalist known for his stunning landscape, wildlife, and outdoor lifestyle photography.

If you aren’t a magazine subscriber or member, here’s where you can sign up: The magazine is also available at many newsstands across the state.

[ Tammy can be reached at ]

-FOCUSing on Montana Archives & Archivists-

Big picture

Montana Historical Society Archivists: back row (L-R) Kelly Burton, Jeff Malcomson,

Kellyn Youngren, Rich Aarstad, April Sparks; front row (L-R) Jodie Foley, Anneliese

Warhank. Photo by Tom Ferris

The National Archives is celebrating American Archives Month throughout October. Follow the National Archives on social media through #ArchivesMonth and October 3 was national #AskAnArchivist day so check out that hashtag, too! Below is some information on a few of the archivists in Montana.

Name and where you work:

How would you describe your archive job?

  • Anneliese: accessioning and processing private collections, reference, research, oral histories
  • April: I am responsible for accessioning, processing, and cataloging state and local government records acquired by the State Archives. In addition I do outreach and consultations with people about records and digitization, as well as providing reference.
  • Jodie: Working to preserve MT's stories and rights as captured in documents and data.
  • Kelly: I preserve and document the Historical Society's moving image collections.
  • Megan: A constant learning experience.

What do you wish more people knew about your archive or the work you do?

  • Anneliese: Only a SMALL portion of our collections ever get digitized. We simply do not have the staff and equipment to do more than this.
  • April: That we can't scan everything and put it online! Most people think that everything should be online and don't understand the process of making materials available and discoverable online.
  • Jodie: How far reaching the work is. We have users from across the state, nation and world. The reasons people come to us are likewise varied--school projects, genealogy, fiction or non-fiction book projects, documentaries, government policy research or exploring legal issues...and so much more.
  • Kelly: I hope to inform Montanas of the wealth of historical information to be found in their state's moving image archives - 11,000 audiovisual items and counting!
  • Megan: That we are here!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

  • Anneliese: I learn something new every day. With manuscript collections you learn about some many different types of people and their lives.
  • April: There are so many things I enjoy about being an archivist. Making previously inaccessible records accessible through processing and creation of a finding aid, helping a patron find an answer to a question, and the opportunity to continue learning as new challenges arise in the field.
  • Jodie: It's hard to narrow to one. I love the people (co-workers and patrons), the collections, and the variety of the work. You just never know what you will find in a collection or what treasure will walk through the door next! And you cannot beat the feeling of knowing you do work that matters, now and for generations to come.
  • Kelly: Every day is full of surprises - I never know what I'll find in an old collection.
  • Megan: All the different requests and the information that comes from them.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

  • Anneliese: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I'm also a huge cinephile (comedies and musicals are my favorite genres).
  • April: When not at work I like spending time camping, hiking, and indulging my hobby of photography.
  • Jodie: I love just spending time with my family, and singing with Musikanten.
  • Kelly: I love studying art (reading books, watching films, listening to music), traveling, and hiking.
  • Megan: Spend time with my husband.

What is something people may find surprising or unusual about you?

  • Anneliese: Probably not much. I'm pretty much an open book.
  • April: I never intended to be an archivist. I was always interested in politics from about high school age and eventually went on to work in campaigns around the country in my 20's. My inspiration for pursuing a MLIS after becoming burnt out in the campaign field was the three years I worked on the circulation desk of my undergraduate library, and after taking a class in archives out of curiosity I fell in love and haven't looked back.
  • Jodie: I am a quiet person at first, but once I feel comfortable to bring out the silly, watch out!
  • Kelly: My profession often surprises people.
  • Megan: I've done 6 years in the Montana Army National Guard.
Big picture


150th Anniversary Quilt Project Completed

by Patricia Spencer, Public Information Officer and Volunteer Coordinator at Lewis and Clark Library
Big picture

Photos by Rachel Rivers, Lewis & Clark Library Public Services.

The Lewis & Clark Library staff would like to thank our community for their participation in the Lewis & Clark Library’s 150th Anniversary Quilt project. Local quilters sewed wonderful and creative squares and we now get to show off their work with two pieces, a quilt and a smaller wall hanging. Many thanks to all of the quilters who made the quilt visually fun, interesting, and charming. We would especially like to thank the staff of the Sewing Palace for the assistance with fabric and their generous donation of fabric and time. We will be forever grateful to Julie Dess for her amazing and generous design help, guidance, encouragement and fabric donation; as well as to Cheryl Liedle for her magnificent quilting. It has been an honor to work with you all! The quilt will hang at the Lewis & Clark Library Helena branch and the smaller wall hanging will be at the East Helena branch. Thanks again to the great group of quilters and sewing enthusiasts who made this project a great success!

[ Patricia can be reached at ]

Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library 2018 Centennial Time Capsule

by Jack Albrecht, Library Director and Christina Koch, Assistant Librarian at Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library
Big picture

The Original Thompson-Hickman Memorial Library - Museum. Photo provided by Jack Albrecht.

In May 2018 Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library retrieved their 1918 time capsule from the cornerstone of their building. This month they will be placing some of the original items plus materials, documents and photos that help describe 2018 to descendants who will open the capsule again in 2118.

[ Jack can be reached at and Christina can be reached at ]

Big picture
Big picture

Library Groundbreaking Events This Summer

submitted by Bruce Newell, Montana State Library
Big picture

Missoula groundbreaking. Photo by Bruce Newell.

Bruce Newell announced in August that two of our Montana libraries had groundbreaking events for construction of a new building. “Libraries are alive, well, and growing in Montana.” Both White Sulphur Springs and Missoula began construction this summer. A picture of the groundbreaking at Missoula is above. Both events were well attended.

MSU Billings Fall Lecture Series

Submitted by Eileen Wright, Reference Librarian/Archivist at MSU Billings

See the MSU Billings newsletter for additional information.

Big picture

New Montana Newspaper Content from Montana Historical Society

submitted by Natasha Hollenbach, Montana Historical Society

The Mineral County Museum has made it possible to add an additional 10 years of content from The Mineral Independent, which is now available from 1915 through 1942.

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

Big picture

Lewis & Clark Library: Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture Series to feature novelist JAMIE FORD on Racebending: Adventures in a Bi-cultural World

by Patricia Spencer, Public Information Officer and Volunteer Coordinator at Lewis and Clark Library

The public is invited to the annual Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture featuring Jamie Ford on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. “Racebending: Adventures in a Bi-cultural World” will be presented in the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Helena. This lecture is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Montana, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The annual lecture, presented by the Lewis & Clark Library Foundation, is part of the Speaking Volumes Transforming Hate series of events co-sponsored by the Montana Human Rights Network, Holter Museum of Art, YWCA, and other organizations, from September 14 to December 30, 2018.

Jamie Ford is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865. Ford’s lecture on “racebending” will touch on an early example of cultural appropriation and assimilation when his great-grandfather changed his name from Min Chung to William Ford and the generational ripple effect that had on his family. He’ll also talk about what the future might hold as we approach 2045, the year the Brookings Institute predicts people of color will become the ethnic majority in the US. He’ll discuss why finding the truth in historical fiction is so important and how he came to write about subjects so close to his personal past and future.

Ford’s first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009), was awarded the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. Ford’s second novel, Songs of Willow Frost (2013), was also a New York Times best-seller. His latest work, Love and Other Consolation Prizes (2017), is inspired by the true and touching story of a young orphan boy from China who was raffled off as a prize at the 1909 Seattle World’s Fair.

Ford earned a degree in design from the Art Institute of Seattle and also attended Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts. He is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.

The Lewis & Clark Library Foundation is dedicated to making a great library even better. The nonprofit organization was established in 1978 to support the Lewis & Clark Library system, beyond what tax monies can provide. In times of increasing demand for information in all formats, private support is critical to maintaining excellent library services. It is the goal of the Foundation Board of Directors, through the caring and generosity of like-minded citizens, to maintain long-term financial support for the public library.

In addition to the annual Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture, now in its 10th year, the Library Foundation sponsors the annual Community Leaders Poetry Reading, purchases books for local students in conjunction with authors’ visits, provides prize money to school libraries whose students participate in the Dear Author program, hosts a bi-monthly reception for artists exhibiting in the Lewis & Clark Library lobby, and supports enhancements and improvements at all four branches of the library system and the county-wide traveling Bookmobile.

For more information about the Library Foundation or this event, contact Library Director John Finn at 447-6699.


Congratulations to the 2018 MLA Sheila Cates Scholarship Winners!

submitted by Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Chair of Sheila Cates Scholarship Committee

On behalf of the MLA Sheila Cates Scholarship Committee, it is my pleasure to report that we have awarded THREE Cates Scholarships for this fall! These scholarships will be put towards education for a Montana librarian working to receive a graduate degree in library science, a graduate library media program, or a school library endorsement.

The 2018 Cates Scholars are:

Ben Chiewphasa

Sarah Creech

Crystal Kobayashi

Ben, a cataloging specialist for government documents and maps at the Mansfield Library at the University of Montana, is working to get his Master's in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. One of Ben's highlights is that he recently designed and implemented a Montana University System consortium-wide workflow for government documents metadata bulk loading and maintenance (wow, say that ten times fast!) resulting in streamlined government document processing for five depository libraries throughout the state of Montana.

Sarah, who spends her days as a circulation and reference specialist (editor's note: Sarah is now the adult services coordinator) at Belgrade Community Library, is currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies working towards a Masters in Library and Information Science with a public library concentration. You may recognize Sarah's name as one of the co-editors of MLA's FOCUS! In one of Sarah's support letters, library director Gale Bacon wrote, "between her work experience at the Belgrade Library and her education plan to achieve an MLS, I foresee Sarah someday having a leadership role as a member of the Montana library community." Seems like she is already on her way in that endeavor!

Crystal works at Missoula Public Library, dividing her time between serving as a library assistant at the main branch and a branch technician at the MPL branch at Big Sky High School. Crystal is pursuing her Masters in Library Science at the University of North Texas. Crystal has been a member of MLA for six years and has impressed her bosses with her enthusiasm for working at the library and her creativity with programming both at the main branch and at Big Sky, where she has reinvigorated services to that underserved community in the Missoula area.

Please join me in congratulating these wonderful Montana librarians--our 2018 Cates Scholarship winners! And thank you to all of YOU who give so generously to the Cates Scholarship fund so we can award scholarships to amazing individuals like this!


Cates Scholarship Committee:

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Chair

Bobbi deMontigny

Della Dubbe

Jo Flick

Mary Guthmiller

Mary Anne Hansen

Cherie Heser

Jim Kammerer

Anita Scheetz

Background on the scholarship

The Montana Library Association instituted the Sheila Cates Scholarship in 1994 to provide financial support to Montana Library Association members seeking a graduate degree in library and/or information science, a graduate school library media program, or seeking a school library endorsement. The scholarship fund was established in memory of Sheila Cates, who served as Library Development Coordinator at the Montana State Library from 1985 until her death from cancer in 1993. Sheila was named Montana Library Association’s Librarian of the Year in 1993. Individuals selected to receive an award from the scholarship fund must show potential for emulating Sheila Cates’ contribution to Montana libraries.

Medicine Spring Library at Blackfeet Community College Wins National Award

submitted by Pamela Benjamin, TRAILS Coordinator at Montana State University

The first week of August the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums announced that Medicine Spring Library at Blackfeet Community College is this year’s recipient of the Library Institutional Excellence Award. This award “recognizes an indigenous library that profoundly demonstrates outstanding service to its community.

Congratulations to Aaron and the Medicine Spring Library Staff! It is well deserved.

Director Aaron LaFromboise responds: We are so proud of this award! My staff is so great, they put their hearts into everything they do and love the community where they are from. We will have a celebration in November after receiving the award in late October.

A little more about the award: The Library Institutional Excellence Award recognizes an indigenous library that profoundly demonstrates outstanding service to its community. Nominees must have developed innovative and effective services and programs that can be replicated by other libraries; partnered successfully with other institutions to improve and enhance services; or demonstrated excellence in service that has impacted the community in a measurable way. Emphasis will be placed on accomplishments that showcase the library's role as a center of the community. Past recipients are the Colorado River Indian Tribe (Amelia Flores), the Pueblo of Jemez Community Library, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma (Sandy Tharp), and the Ak-Chin Tribal Library (Melanie Toledo). (source:


Big picture

Call for 2017-2018 Statistics

by Pam Henley, MSL Consulting Librarian

It's that time again! Gather your FY 2018 statistics and get ready to enter them in the old directory. Entry begins September 7 and the deadline is November 30, 2018

Need a refresher? Watch this video:

Have a questions? Drop in to any of these sessions using the link below:

October 9 - 9:30

October 12 - 2:00

November 13 - 9:30

November 27 - 9:30

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Contact Pam for information for logging in. Call or email any time for help.

Pam Henley, Statewide Consulting Librarian

Montana State Library

Toll Free: 855-419-2616

Attention! State Library Input Needed by October 31

Submitted by Cara Orban, Consortia Director at Montana State Library

The State Library requests your input on the statewide projects we manage. There are two reasons for this request.

  1. The federal agency that distributes our Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) funding, IMLS, is asking us for some new data this year relevant to projects funded to some extent with LSTA, which include all of the projects in this survey. They use this data, in part, to help demonstrate to Congress the value of continued federal funding for libraries.

  2. This data also helps us plan and prioritize as we understand more about where we are doing well and where we could improve.

We would love to have one response from each library that participates in any of our statewide projects—Montana Shared Catalog, OCLC Group Services, MontanaLibrary2Go, Montana Courier Alliance, and Montana Memory Project. You need only complete the sections that pertain to your library, and you will find that the questions are standardized multiple choice/checkbox for each project, so hopefully you can zip through fairly quickly. We are asking for library type, size, and federation, but your responses are not recorded as coming from your specific library.

Please find about 15 minutes between now and Halloween to complete the survey. Unfortunately we have no cool incentives to offer for completing the survey except for our undying admiration and gratitude and the satisfaction of contributing your data to the efforts listed above. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Link to the Statewide Projects satisfaction survey:

We will share the results of the survey with you in November.

Thanks very much!

Cara Orban

Consortia Director

Montana State Library

How to Respond to Being Served Court Papers

by Alex Clark, Community Outreach Assistant at Montana Legal Services Association

Big picture

For those who are served court papers the first time there is important information they need to know. If someone is served with court papers they must file an answer at court. If they don’t file an answer, the person suing could get everything they ask for. The person receiving the papers could lose the case without any notice. The summons that come with the court papers will tell how many days there are to file an answer.

For more information, visit the Legal System section on For more information click on the LiveHelp button. Or, apply for help from Montana Legal Services Association at or 1-800-666-6899.

Submitted by

Alex Clark
Community Outreach Assistant
Montana Legal Services Association

1535 Liberty Lane

Suite 110D

Missoula, MT 59808

Toll Free: (800) 666-6124
Another helpful website:

Bat Week is Coming Up!

Submitted by Amelea Kim, Lifelong Learning Librarian at Montana State Library

In case you are unaware, next month has an exciting event - BAT WEEK! October 24th - 31st is a time to "Be a Bat Hero!" and raise awareness of this super cool creature. As such, MSL has been working with Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to create a resource booklet for libraries who might be interested in doing something around Bat Week. We've also created a Google Drive folder with all the Bat Week materials you can use in them. Check those links out here:

Bat Week Resources

Bat Week Google Drive Folder

Additionally, FWP has some awesome bat STUFF to give away to interested libraries! There are bat posters, bat tattoos, bat pencils, and bat erasers. If you would like a package of bat stuff, please email me at with the items that you want, and how many. We'll then package it up, and send it to you through the courier!

Available items:

1. Bat Posters (no limit)(18” x 24”)

2. Bat tattoos (15 maximum per library)

3. Bat pencils (20 maximum per library)

4. Bat erasers (20 maximum per library)

We have limited numbers of the tattoos, pencils, and erasers, hence the limits, so everything is first come, first served. But if we have extra at the end, I'll be sure to send out another email.

Thanks so much you all – let me know if you have any questions/ideas/suggestions/feedback, and have a great day!



Get on Board for this New Railroad Book!

Submitted by Tammy Ryan, Montana The Magazine of Western History
Big picture

The Montana Historical Society Press has just released Ties, Rails, and Telegraph Wires: Railroads and Communities in Montana the West written by Dale Martin. Martin has worked in archaeological excavation and survey, historical research, the field study of historical building and bridges, and, most recently, he is teaching history at Montana State University in Bozeman.

The railroad brought more to Montana and the West than passengers and a quicker way to get back to “civilization.” The coming of the new “iron horse” revitalized existing towns, created new ones, and brought new jobs on the trains and in the communities through which it passed. Ties, Rails, and Telegraph Wires provides a window into the lives of the railroad workers and local people—all who lived with the railroad and relied on the employment and services it offered. Meet the engineers, firemen, conductors, water tank operators, station agents, telegraphers, and section crews, as well as the town folk who came to count on the railroad for transportation near and far, sending and receiving freight, and moving the U.S. Mail. The book includes stories about the railroad told by such western writers as Ivan Doig, Mary Clearman Blue, and Alice Munro, and features dozens of railroad-related historic photographs. Let Ties, Rails, and Telegraph Wires put a face and a place to “Waiting for a train.”

The new 212-page book contains over one hundred historic illustrations and can be purchased at your local bookstore or from the Montana Historical Society at (800) 243-9900 or online at Paperbacks (ISBN 9781940527925) are $19.95 and hardbacks (ISBN 9781940527932) are $24.95. Shipping is extra.

State Librarian Parking Spot

Submitted by Bruce Newell
Big picture

Photo by Bruce Newell.

Proving, once again, that truth is stranger than fiction, when recently your State Librarian’s parking spot was shifted a few spaces to the north, and given a new sign, this is what Jennie ended up with.

Only in Libraryland. Delightful, for sure.

Submissions Open for the December 2018 Issue!

REMINDER: The submission deadline for the December newsletter is November 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: