Sara Groves, Montana State Library
HELENA Havre-Hill County Director Bonnie Williamson and Box Elder’s Caroline Bitz of the Montana State Library Commission were among a group of six librarians and library supporters from Montana urging Capitol Hill Legislators to support libraries as part of National Library Legislative Day on May 1 and May 2 in Washington, D.C. National Library Legislative Day is a time for people who care about libraries to participate in advocacy training sessions, interact with Capitol Hill insiders and visit congressional member offices to ask Congress to pass Legislation that supports libraries. The following Montanans also attended National Library Legislative Day: Montana State Librarian Darlene Staffeldt of Helena; Carroll College’s Jack and Sallie Corette Library Director Lois Fitzpatrick of Helena; Montana Library Association President and Librarian at Billings Senior High School Lynn McKinney of Billings; and North Middle School 14-year-old student Ryan Shaneybrook of Great Falls. These Montana library supporters met with Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus and their staff, and with Rep. Denny Rehberg to seek support for library Legislation now pending in Congress. The group’s goal was to raise awareness about the importance of federal funding and programs such as the E-rate discounts on telecommunications services for libraries and Library Services Technology Act for statewide library projects. “Our Montana libraries need continued federal support for changing technology if we are to keep pace with the rapid growth in library use,” said Staffeldt. “Although our local libraries receive most of this support from state and local funds, federal assistance stimulates local dollars and helps stretch them further. “We are honored that our senators and representatives took time to meet with us to discuss these pertinent issues that affect every Montanan,” Staffeldt added. “Strong support of Montana libraries will only help build stronger Montana communities.” Through its statewide programs, the Montana State Library empowers Montanans, enhances learning in families and communities, builds 21st century skills, and provides opportunities for civic participation. For more information, take a quick visit to http://msl.mt.gov.