A Library is Good for Everyone

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.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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  • I enjoyed this post. I have found our local library in Clancy to be excellent. Whether it’s good book, a movie, or story telling hour for my daughter, they do a great job.

    I think one of our most underappreciated state agencies, is the Montana State Library. They do a multitude of things, from helping to organize and support small local libraries across Montana, to managing an enormous pile of information about the state, from books to digital images to historic databases.

    For those who are dogmatically opposed to government agencies ever doing any thing right, the Montana State Library is an example I often use of Montana’s government working well.

    The Montana State Library’s Montana Cadastral Project, which when it was started in 2003 was really one of the first attempts in the whole country to try and create a dynamic GIS of state parcel data, has been wildly successful.
    Montana tax payers fund this program to the tune of a $700,000 annual bill. The return on investment is estimated at $9,300,000 annually. That’s a helluva return.

    We have an excellent State Library, and anecdotally, I’ve noticed that in smaller rural communities, local libraries are heavily relied upon by individuals who may not have residential internet access, as well as the elderly who aren’t as willing to travel.

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