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Montana Libraries Support Their Communities During Crisis

Montana Libraries Support Their Communities During Crisis

Wednesday, April 1, 2020/Categories: Montana State Library/Tags: libraries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        
April 1, 2020
CONTACT:  Jennie Stapp
(406) 444-3116

Montana Libraries Support Their Communities During Crisis

(HELENA)---​The Billings Public Library and several other Montana libraries are putting their 3-D printers to work to manufacture reusable medical masks to be used to meet the demand of medical providers during the COVID-19 emergency. The libraries are using a design template created by Dusty Richardson, Colton Zaugg, and Spencer Zaugg, and are working with the Billings Clinic. Each mask takes about three hours to print. Finish work includes placing a filter inside the mask. Filters are made by cutting a paper mask designed for a single use into six filters, extending the supply of masks.

Gavin Woltjer, Director of the Billings Public Library, said, “These unprecedented times require unprecedented partnerships. By identifying what these partnerships are, we are all able to do our part to keep our communities safe while having concerted and collaborative efforts against this virus. Libraries have always been an important aspect of any community; doing what we are doing now just shows our versatility and importance in a unique way.”

Even as library buildings have closed, libraries across Montana are continuing to provide important services to their communities during the health crisis. Montana library patrons may checkout eBooks and audiobooks online through MontanaLibrary2Go and similar service providers. Other libraries have maintained or boosted WiFi access outside of their buildings. Most libraries are extending check-out periods, so patrons do not have to return books they have on hand. Many libraries are currently offering or plan to offer Story Times, book club meetings, and other programs online. In some communities, the library door has become the community bulletin board with current notices and reliable information that may not be available anyplace else. Almost every library has scheduled staff to take phone calls, provide reference services, and assist patrons.

“Libraries are community hubs,” said State Librarian Jennie Stapp. “This role does not change in a crisis. Libraries continue to provide authoritative health information. We’re supporting online learning while schools remain closed. Our online programming reduces the isolation that comes from social distancing. Though our facilities may be closed, our libraries continue to serve Montanans.”

For more information about the activities and services provided by your local library, check out their website, call, or follow them on social media.

The Montana State Library helps all organizations, communities, and Montanans thrive through excellent library resources and services. For more information about the Montana State Library, visit For more information about the Montana State Library, contact Jennie Stapp, State Librarian, at (406) 444-3116 or via e-mail at:

(Image: Miss Allynne, Children's Librarian at the Billings Public Library, conducts Story Time via Facebook Live twice a week during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order.)




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