A library is an equalizer for the whole community, it’s a place, where anyone, regardless of anything, can get information and educate themselves. A foundation to a strong democracy is a strong library. In Montana, we have strong library systems, most of which are funded at the local level, with a smaller amount coming from the state, and is controlled by appointed library trustees, whom have sole budgetary authority — in order to keep the politics out.
Just today, in Helena, the Lewis & Clark Library held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new bookmobile. What a blast from the past, right? This is an old trend coming back; Missoula, Great Falls, and Billings all have bookmobiles, and now, so does Lewis and Clark County. It’s going to be a boon for those in remote areas, such as Wolf Creek, Lakeside, the North valley area, Birds Eye, and Canyon Creek. So too, state workers will be able to grab a book on their lunch break once a week, and those who physically cannot leave a nursing home are going to have books carted into their lobby. The residents of the Hutterite colony near Wolf Creek will have their first access to the internet via the on-board computers connected via 4G technology, and anyone can find out exactly what the bookmobile is up to by following its twitter handle, @LCLBookmobile, or of course, its webiste or facebook page. It’s a book mobile, but it’s so much more. It is place for people to gather, learn, and recreate. Having a mobile branch bringing library services to people who otherwise wouldn’t, is a huge success and deserves a huge applause for those resident tax payers.
I love libraries and every legislative session worries me. Once a cut is made, it usually never comes back, and while it’s great to see these big libraries doing wonderful things, it’s the small libraries, like those in Glasgow, that I worry about for funding issues, because a small cut is a huge percentage of their overall budget, which means huge services that could be destroyed. I am so glad Montana still has a goalie in the Governor’s office, otherwise, 2013 could have gotten really, really ugly. So we’ll see what this session brings and we’ll fight for what fair and just.