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February 3, 2022

Dear Community,

We are aware of the concern about the loss of certification by the Montana State Library (MSL) and the resulting loss of state funding. We have a responsibility to be open about what the loss of certification means, and how it may impact library services.

I imagine you might be thinking the following:

  • “Does this mean that we won’t have access to eBooks and Audiobooks from MontanaLibrary2Go?”
  • “Now I won’t be able to get books from Partner Libraries like Missoula, Miles City, etc.”
  • “The library’s budget is getting cut by the MT State Library.”

Montana Libraries are certified by the Montana State Library annually when they meet the essential standards defined by the State Library Commission. These standards are part of the Administrative Rules of Montana, and address topics including Library Policies, open hours, and so on. A comprehensive list of the standards can be found in Administrative Rule Subchapter 10.102.

One of these rules (Rule 10.102.1150E) requires that libraries who serve more than 25,000 people employ a library director with “a graduate degree in Library or Information Science or its equivalent.” ImagineIF Library staff and Trustees have had multiple conversations with the MT State Library in order to confirm that because the incoming director does not yet have the required degree, we will not be eligible for certification as of July 2022.

So, what about the funding?

By Montana Law (MCA 22-1-103), the State Library Commission distributes state aid to Public Libraries on a per-capita basis. In order to receive state funding, Public Libraries must abide by the standards set by the Library Commission.

Without certification, ImagineIF Libraries is no longer eligible for $35,731.41 in Fiscal Year 2023.

Does the loss of certification affect other services?

No. Library staff have consulted numerous times with MT State Library consultants, and directly with State Librarian Jennie Stapp to affirm that our access to all other shared services administered by MSL are unaffected.

For users, that means that you will have the same access to services, including:

For staff, this means that we will continue to have access to Montana State Library and Montana Shared Catalog staff to ensure that we continue to offer the excellent library services you are accustomed to.

What does this mean for the library budget?

Library Finances are under the exclusive purview of the ImagineIF Library Board of Trustees. The intent of this is to ensure that library services remain free of governmental influence, and are managed by the community that we serve. The budget is generally developed by the Trustees in close cooperation with ImagineIF Library staff and the Flathead County Commissioners.

Providing adequate funding for the library is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Board of Trustees, and is codified in Montana Law. The activities of the Finance Committee, which includes ImagineIF staff, are open to the public, and we encourage public participation in this process.

We understand that stable library funding is a concern for many in the community, and it’s important that we hear from you. Please contact us with your questions, concerns, or ideas through any of the channels below:

Email: asklib@imagineiflibraries.org

Website: https://imagineiflibraries.org/your-library/contact-us/

Mail: 247 1st Ave East, Kalispell, MT 59901

 

Sincerely,

ImagineIF Libraries Staff

Local News



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December 14, 2021:  Bigfork Library Hits New Milestone

December 3, 2021:  Interim library director resigns amid conflict with board

December 2, 2021:  Flathead County Library Director Resigns Amid Board Meddling

November 16, 2021:  Public Library Receives Formal Complaints About Two Books

October 28, 2021: ImagineIF Kalispell features Día de los Muertos art installation

October 17, 2021:  Fifty Years of Rocky Hoerner Art

October 7, 2021:  What’s a Library Worth?

September 30, 2021:  ImagineIF libraries feature two art exhibits

July 21, 2021:  Library director stepping down to take job in Washington

July 4, 2021: Foundation offers $50,000 matching grant for Bigfork library

Jun 17, 2021:  ImagineIf libraries bring tactile fun to summertime play

June 9, 2021:  ImagineIF offering outdoor educational programming

June 11, 2021:  ImagineIF Libraries plan outdoor summer programs

May 2, 2021:  ImagineIF trustee recognized with special award

April 29, 2021: Library Prepares for Return to Normalcy

April 26, 2021:  Free seed library fully restocked in Columbia Falls

April 23, 2021:  ImagineIF libraries return to full-time hours May 3

April 6, 2021:  Library board considers polling voters on funding

March 14, 2021:  Library board ponders solutions for budget crunch

March 4, 2021:  ImagineIF Libraries could lift mask requirement in June

February 16, 2021:  Bigfork Library Campaign Surpasses Major Milestone

January 29, 2021:  ImagineIF’s ‘Making Montana’ wins state Program of the Year Award

January 17, 2021:  ImagineIF Libraries Extend Hours, Continue Take-Home Education Kit

Media Releases


Media Inquiries


Contact Lune Axelsen at 406.758.2445 or laxelsen@imagineiflibraries.org.

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