Library boiler project complete; foundation funds new book drops, computers, materials

The boiler project at the Great Falls Public Library is now complete.

The boiler passed inspection and has been running smoothly, according to Susie McIntyre, acting library director.

McIntyre told the Library Board during their Tuesday meeting that they’d likely get the final bill by the end of the month. The project was an estimated $459,000, which was being funded by the Library Capital Reserve Fund.

City beginning selection process for new library director

Several other major projects are planned at the library in the near future thanks to funding that was recently approved from the Great Falls Public Library Foundation.

That funding includes:

  • $20,000 for materials
  • $3,800 for a carpet extractor and rug replacement
  • $16,200 for a new book drop system
  • $14,300 new computers for staff/patrons
  • $5,059 for additional support for MontanaLibrary2Go

The existing book drops were installed in the 1970s and have been rehabilitated many times but also block the sidewalk and are otherwise no longer effective, staff said.

Library director position posted, city accepting applications

The plan, McIntyre said, is to get two new drop boxes that would be placed between the parking pay box and the flagpole, making it more accessible to patrons and staff.

Staff is researching options to purchase from library vendors and also planning to request bids to see if the boxes can be fabricated locally for a lower cost. They’ll also have to pay for the installation, including new concrete fittings and potentially repairing the sidewalk once the current boxes are removed.

Library boiler replacement project underway

New shelving for audio/video materials is being installed currently so patrons might notice some changes as materials are being rearranged. An art exhibit is also planned for the second floor, McIntyre said.

A new librarian started about three weeks ago and McIntyre said a new part-time specialist in the kid zone is starting Jan. 23. Interviews are also scheduled this week for the part-time maintenance position and once that’s filled, the library will again be fully staffed, with the exception of the library director.

Sunday hours at Great Falls library delayed until December

The city received 11 applications for the director position and is the process of narrowing the field and scheduling interviews.

During the meeting, city finance staff walked the library board through the city budget process and the funds the city provides to the library. Under a 1993 agreement, the city must provide 7 mills to the library annually. In 2000, the voters approved an additional two mills to the library and since then, the city is obligated to provide 9 mills to the library.

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That number fluctuates annually depending on the mill values set by the Montana Department of Revenue, as well as delinquent and protested taxes.

In the current city budget, the 9 mills equate to $760,000 to the library. The city also approved an additional $350,000, maintaining a similar level of support since at least 2014.

The county has provided $177,000 annually since 2014, with the exception of fiscal year 2016 when it contributed $205,000.