Why are libraries still so critically important when many books are now available online? Libraries used to be about what was in them—namely, books. Now, they are increasingly what happens in them.
Libraries are often where children first get to explore their own interests and develop confidence both in their reading and in themselves. Libraries are also where new parents meet, support one another, and develop skills to help their families thrive.
Libraries make it possible for adults of all ages to advance their education, improve their family’s livelihood, become healthier in body and mind, discover new interests, and be exposed to different viewpoints.
Libraries even benefit those who never visit their local library, by creating a happier, safer, more cohesive community.
The Bozeman Public Library is a beloved, bustling hub that anchors our vibrant downtown. Yet since the current building opened in 2006, our city has added more than 20,000 new residents—straining our ability to meet demand for meeting space and access.
In response, the Bozeman Public Library has created BPLForward, an initiative to expand and improve library service across the community. Phase 1 of BPL Forward is a modest expansion and renovation to the current library building. Phase 2 will culminate in the construction of a west side branch.
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Phase 1: Main Library - A Modest Renovation
Since our current building was completed in 2006, our community has evolved not just in terms of residents, but also in terms of needs. In early 2021 we asked you, our patrons, what activities you would like to see in an updated library.
Using feedback from over 1,200 patrons ranging in age from 5 to 95, we worked with architects MSR Design to develop a concept that will transform the library experience within a relatively modest budget. This phase will be funded entirely by private donations and grants.
At the center of the library, the newly created Hub will be a place to meet (and make) friends, read a book, play a game, and enjoy a cup of coffee. Noise mitigation will keep quiet areas of the library quiet while allowing for casual conversation in the Hub.
New, glass-enclosed learning labs (left) will provide opportunities for hands-on creativity with access to a wide variety of supplies and technology. If you prefer quiet exploration, our expanded 2nd floor Montana Reading Room will provide a cozy, quiet place for studying, writing, and reading.
A larger community room (right side of building, above) and suites of smaller, configurable meeting rooms will double our reservable meeting room offerings, providing spaces to come together with your neighbors for informative events, board meetings, book clubs, and more.
Phase 2: West Side Branch Library
The City of Bozeman has begun planning a permanent branch on the west side, possibly as part of a shared campus with a pool and recreation center. Such an effort will take a number of years, of course. It will involve a detailed community design process, some public financing, and a campaign for private donations.
Your support enables the Library to bring Bozeman together today. Your continued contributions—including your ideas, participation, and enthusiasm—will make it possible to serve our growing community well into the future.
We want to hear from you!
If you have questions about BPL Forward or would like to discuss a contribution to the campaign, please contact Executive Director Janay Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-582-2426.