Monday, July 14, 2014

262. Columbia Falls, Montana

Libraries get their buildings in many ways. In this case, the Anaconda Copper Mining company sold the building to the city of Columbia Falls for $1.00 -- on the condition that it be used for a library. And so it is, sharing the space with the city hall.

One of the first things I noticed was a genuine old wooden telephone booth, complete with a folding door, in the lobby; I was disappointed to see that it no longer has a phone in it. Also in the lobby there is a large display about the Farmers' Market and a collection box for magazines "for the troops."

Inside, there is a guest book, something I've seen in only one other library, in Albert Lea, Minnesota. The people who had signed ahead of me were from Germany! A display of new fiction invites patrons to "Grab and Go" with two books for two weeks. I spotted seven computers, one with a scanner. The home page menu offers Internet & Office, Large Print, Kids, and Library Catalog. This seems like a user-friendly way to set up public computers.

An alcove partway along one wall has no windows, but otherwise provides a nice "living room" setting. There is a large fish tank, which sort of fills the role of a window, giving one something pleasant to look at. In this area, I had a short conversation with someone I guessed was local and a regular library user. When I mentioned that I was visiting Glacier NP, he told me that Walmart owns Xanterra, and Xanterra owns the national parks. Well, I know that Xanterra now owns the concessions (like the hotel and dining facilities) in Glacier; I don't think that equals owning the parks, but it didn't seem like a good time or place to argue the point. And I haven't done any research on this--perhaps he's right!

At the far end of the space, five steps lead up to the Teen Loft, which is provided with soft chairs and a study table, as well as appropriate books. No teens there when I was, just an adult male with a laptop.

The children's area has something that my notes call "Lam and arches" and high windows. What on earth did I mean? [This is the trouble with getting a few days behind in my blogging.] There is also an enclosed area for the little kids, a computer, another fish tank, and a very nice mural showing The Little Engine that Could, the steam shovel (I can picture the book but forget the name), and others.

I was able to use a computer for a while here. I used the time to change some of my back-home requests from "Suspended" to "Active" so there would be books waiting for me when I got home. I also looked up the address of the library where I work, so I could send a postcard. No, I don't know the address--all I have to know is how to get there!

To learn more about this library, go to or'

7/10/14, car

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