The Missoula Public Library recently came into the Missoula spotlight when media reports announced that they were interested in the possibility of moving the library to the historic Missoula Mercantile building. The public feedback was split. Some saw the historic building in the heart of downtown housing a timeless community-staple like a library as a great idea. Others thought that the concept of such prominent building in downtown being occupied by library would put us at risk if the concept of the library becomes outdated.

We are here to let you know, the need for libraries isn’t going anywhere. Not only is the need for printed materials increasing exponentially, but the library is so much more than just books. Here are some programs at the Missoula Public Library that might change the way you think about libraries.

Five Valleys Seed

The Five Valleys Seed Library is an ongoing volunteer project that seeks to gather and maintain a collection of locally grown seeds.  The seeds will be available to gardeners and farmers to “check out” and use, and ideally let some go to seed so those next generation seeds can be gathered to restock the Seed Library.

MakerSpace

A Makerspace is simply a place people can go to get the training, tools, and camaraderie to start turning their ideas into physical things. The Missoula Public Library MakerSpace provides 6 stations for users to learn about a variety of tools and techniques. The four initial areas of study and creativity are electronics on the Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms, 3D scanning and printing, sewing, and scrapbooking. 3D scanning and printing? Try telling us that isn’t 21st century.

Classes

Technology doesn’t come naturally for all of us. There is always going to be  the latest technology advance that we have to learn. Classes offered at the Missoula Public Library are just the public-serivce to make sure Missoulians and visitors alike have access to those tools.

Genealogy

Born and raised in Montana? Have ancestors in Montana? This is the place to find out about your family history. The Missoula Public Library’s genealogy collection is the most developed in the state for information on Missoula County, Lake County, Granite County, Mineral County, Sanders County, Ravalli County, and to a lesser degree Lincoln County.

Web Alley

Between the rising cost of living and the rising costs of access to information technology, the Missoula Public Library serves a high-demand for public computers and internet access. Web Alley regularly has a long line out-the-door of Missoulians waiting to use the computers and plug into the online world. The need is real.

Topography Maps

What is one place that you will need printed materials? That’s right, when you connection to the online world. Topography maps at the library are heavily used by hikers and outdoor enthusiasts exploring our great state. Printed maps and materials are irreplaceable when your electronic devices have lost a charge or you’ve found yourself disconnected.

The Missoula Public Library and all libraries are not just a place for books. Our view of libraries should instead be molded into a hub for 21st century services, technology and access to information. For more on the Missoula Public Library, visit www.missoulapubliclibrary.org.

Also: There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.