Library adopts naming policy

The Great Falls Public Library board voted during their Jan. 26 meeting to adopt a policy for the naming of library facilities.

The issue of naming library facilities and policies came up at last month’s library board meeting when Ken Robison, a local historian, asked the board to consider renaming the library for Alma Jacobs, who served as head librarian at the GFPL and the state librarian, both historic firsts for a Black woman during her time.

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Susie McIntyre, library director, asked other libraries in the state about their naming policies and used those, with input from the city attorney’s office, to draft the local policy that applies to library buildings, gardens, outdoor spaces except Library Park, rooms, spaces, collections, bookmobiles, vehicles and other facilities.

Library Park is maintained by the library but falls under the jurisdiction of the city Park and Recreation Department and any renaming of that park would fall under procedures in city code, according to city documents.

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In December, McIntyre said she had some administrative concerns about renaming the library and that it might be more practical to rename the park behind the library for Jacobs. A mural of Jacobs is on the front of the library building.

The library’s newly adopted naming policy has two types of namings: one for financial gifts, the other in “honor of individuals or families whose actions and reputations reflect the mission of the Great Falls Public Library” and both types of naming requests must meet specific criteria included in the policy.

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The policy also includes provisions for modifying or terminating naming opportunities under certain circumstances as well as the process for naming library facilities, which includes public notification and comment periods.

Next month, the library will consider the request to rename the library for Jacobs under the newly adopted policy.