“I am excited to be named Library Director and would like to thank the Glacier County Library Board of Trustees and the Glacier County Commissioners for entrusting me with this responsibility.”
Austin Castle, Director
Glacier County Library
The Glacier County Commissioners approved Austin Castle as the new Library Director on Aug. 19.
Austin has worked in the Glacier County Library for seven years, holding a variety of positions–Library Clerk, Library Technician, Assistant Librarian, Interim Library Director and now Library Director.
“I am ecstatic to be able to continue serving the residents of Glacier County in this new position. I look forward to this new journey of providing library services to Glacier County,” he shared.
“After interviewing two quality applicants, the Board recommended hiring the current Interim Director,” said Becky Kimmet, a Glacier County Library Board Trustee.
“Austin brings to his new position a fresh outlook on promoting the libraries and all of their services for both communities (Cut Bank and Browning). He is very know-ledgeable about the organization and procedures in daily responsibilities,” continued Becky. “Although there have been some challenging times for more than a year, Austin has remained loyal and extremely helpful to the library and the communities they serve.”
Austin, along with Vananda Yazzie, who is the Assistant Librarian at the Browning library branch, are currently the only library employees. Vananda helps out at the Cut Bank branch as the Browning library is still not open to the public due to the water damage it suffered while closed.
Knowing there are only two employees, means staffing the library for longer hours is not yet an option.
“We do expect our hours of operation to change soon due to school starting and will announce what those hours will be once they have been determined,” Austin stated. “We do ask for the public’s understanding regarding our open hours due to staffing, COVID-19 and the water damage at the Browning branch.”
Even with some limitation of hours, Austin said they had a successful Summer Reading Program and are continuing to look at some other special programs and projects happening at the library this fall and winter season.
Along with naming Austin as Library Director, the Commissioners appointed two new Library Board of Trustees to the five-member board.
Claire Stone from Babb and Kasey Conners from Cut Bank are the two newest members, joining Renee Lowery, Becky Kimmet and Crystal Evans on the board.
“We had six very qualified and impressive letters from people from different areas of the county (applying for the Board position),” said Becky. “We were pleased there were so many interested patrons. The board is looking forward to working toward new goals and challenges and working with the new director.”
Claire is a mother and small business owner in Babb and a former employee of the Browning Library. “In her letter to the board she stated she was aware of the challenges and budget issues, serving a diverse population over the entire county and staffing and facility concerns. She feels she is well-experienced to meet those issues,” stated Becky.
Kasey homeschools her three young boys and is very active in the Cut Bank community. “Her family has attended several programs at the Cut Bank Library and she understands the importance of the services the communities receive from the technology aspects they provide,” said Becky.
“Both ladies, as well as the other applicants, emphasized the reality of the closures of both libraries and how that really hit both communities hard,” added Becky.
While the new board trustees get their feet wet in their new roles, Austin will be busy keeping things humming at the Glacier County Libraries.
“The Board really appreciates Austin’s help in keeping them informed of any issues so everyone can problem solve together,” said Becky.
“His first responsibility is to the library, with his needs coming second. Glacier County communities are very fortunate to have Austin as the new Director, as well as promoting all the services the community has come to rely upon and pursuing the goals he has in mind,” she concluded.
Friends of the Library reorganizing meeting set for Wednesday, Sept. 1
Remaining members of the Glacier County Friends of the Library are meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 1 in the basement of the Cut Bank branch of the Glacier County Library. The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m.
The group will be meeting with members of the Glacier County Library Memorial Foundation to discuss how to best support the county libraries.
Anyone interested in supporting the county libraries is welcome and encouraged to attend.