It was Sunday, April 28, 1957. At 2 p.m. that day, a dedication ceremony was held for the newly built Glacier County Library in Cut Bank. A number of local “celebrities” were on hand to speak about the new facility, telling the assembled crowd what a wonderful addition this library was to the Cut Bank community.
Less than a year later, the first National Library Week was held on March 16-22, 1958. Seventeen years later in 1975, National Library Week was given a firm place on the calendar every year, holding celebrations throughout the United States on the third week of April from that year forward.
National Library Week is a time to recognize the value of libraries in communities across the country.
There are computers available for those that need to access additional resources online or just pop in and check their email accounts and Facebook pages.
There are activities for the little ones, for the teenagers and everything in between and above.
No wonder libraries are celebrated!
Even though libraries in Montana are temporarily closed for this year’s National Library Week, they are far from forgotten and most are still accessible, even if on a limited basis.
“Be assured that we miss serving the people of our communities and look forward to the time when we can reopen our doors,” said Jamie Greco, Glacier County Librarian.
And rest assured, Jamie added, there are ways to still “check” out library materials, in digital formats and audio formats.
MtLibrary2Go and the Overdrive Libby app are both ways you can borrow books in digital formats, ebooks and audio books.
“It only takes a few seconds to sign up using your mobile number and then you can start borrowing free digital titles. If you already have a library card, please use that, but if you don’t, you can obtain a digital library card and can check out up to five titles at a time and will have access to those downloaded titles for two weeks,” she explained.
There are thousands of ebooks and audio books all available for free on the Overdrive app as well.
“Both options offer something for everyone,” Jamie said. “Children’s books, teen reads or the latest mystery thriller, you will be able to find it with those options. There is a great selection of cookbooks in case you’re getting bored and want to try something new.”
She continued, “Do you have all this extra time on your hands and want to organize your house? You can find the latest reads on organizing and decorating. Maybe you would enjoy checking out the most popular business books, discover tips for increasing your personal productivity, manage finances or master the job hunt in these challenging times. Our doors may be momentarily closed and the library employees laid off, but we are still doing what we can to be here for you.”
Jamie suggested taking time to sign up pre-schoolers for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. The app is free from Google Play Store or you can visit their website at 1000booksbeforekindergarten.org.
It is easy to participate in the 1,000 Books program. Just read any book to your baby or preschooler, keep track of it on the app or log it on a simple piece of paper, all with the simple goal of reading 1,000 books to your child before they start kindergarten.
“Studies have shown that reading with your child provides a great opportunity for bonding. It could also be a great way for siblings to spend some quiet time together when older brothers and sisters share books with younger ones. Reading together is fun and will create lifelong memories,” Jamie shared.
“And if you send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can let us know you want to sign your child up and then receive some small incentives from the Friends of the Library to encourage your child along the way.”
And speaking of the Friends of the Library. The “Friends” continue their behind the scenes work at the library, always keeping in mind their mission to provide quality library and cultural services to all of Glacier County.
“The Friends are going ahead with their membership drive this month,” said Jamie. “Through your membership you can assist the Friends in supporting their activities which include recycle reads book sale, speaker and author presentations, third grade book giveaway, Summer Reading Program, library promotion, gardening, Early Literacy and Explore It Play Space and fundraising for special library projects.”
She added, “The Friends have been vital in supporting programming and assisting with items such as replacing outdated computers as the Glacier County Library has experienced severe budget cuts.”
The Friends usually host an annual library event, which was scheduled prior to the pandemic. At this moment, the event has been put on hold, with the hope to reschedule the event for a future date when life returns to a more normal realm.
The Glacier County Library has found its place in the Cut Bank community for over 63 years. It has rolled with the times, kept up with technology and continued to serve the people who have come to count on it for over a half a century.