Bozeman’s (Not-So-)Secret Art and Music Space: The Public Library

A collage of art at the Library, including glass waves, a live harpist, The Trickster raven sculpture, pottery, and an oil painting
Clockwise from top left: the fused glass panels of "Imagine" float over the circulation desk; harpist Brittany Barnes performs in the Library, "The Trickster" perches on the Library Plaza; pottery brings interest to the main stairwell; and the oil painting "Chicago" fills an alcove in the children's room.

Anyone who thinks libraries are just for books probably hasn’t been to one lately. Public libraries serve a much loftier purpose than merely offering books–they provide free, open, and equitable access to information. Art, music, and other forms of creativity also inform by communicating ideas, challenging assumptions, and helping us learn about ourselves and our culture.

The Bozeman Public Library displays dozens of works of art, from sculptures on the Library’s front plaza to oil paintings in the children’s room. Many have been donated or loaned by generous community members. The Bozeman Library Foundation and Friends of the Library have also purchased a few key pieces.  

Some patron favorites:

  • “The Trickster,” Joe Barrington’s steel and salvaged tire sculpture of a raven – or is it? – that contains clues about a species considered a harbinger of messengers from the cosmos.
  • “Imagine,” a set of colorful fused glass panels by local artist Richard Parrish that soar over the main circulation desk.
  • Marla Frazee’s “The Boss Baby” and other sketches and dedications from nationally renowned Children’s Festival of the Book illustrators.
Boss Baby and other art made for the Bozeman Library by Children's Festival of the Book featured illustrators grace the walls of the community room.
You tell 'em, Boss Baby: A personalized sketch of the popular children's character by artist Marla Frazee joins messages from other Children's Festival of the Book illustrators on the walls of the Library's community room.

Patrons don’t just get to view art, of course; they also get to create their own. The Library offers children’s creative workshops where kids receive professional instruction in art media such as watercolor and gelee painting. Take-and-make craft bags have introduced kids and adults to jewelry making and transformed old books into elaborate art pieces.

More art opportunities are on the way. With the upcoming Library renovation, one of the new learning labs will have sinks and scrubbable surfaces ready for all sorts of art classes.

One recent take-and-make art kit featured instructions to make 3D artworks from old books.
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Professional musicians invite children to touch the instruments at a "petite concert" for kids at the Library.l

And while many people think libraries expect pin-drop silence, your Bozeman Library has always welcomed conversation and live music. Saturday afternoons bring local acoustic musicians to the Library’s open second floor, where they perform music from a variety of genres to spark creativity and boost moods through the winter months. Special kid-friendly music events like an instrument “petting zoo” have helped children develop an interest in music. And regulars to the downtown music scene know that Music on the Green – our outdoor concert series which will feature two performances from popular bands this year– is one of Bozeman’s favorite summertime events. All the while, dedicated study and reading rooms serve those who prefer a quiet environment. 

The Library's Music on the Green concert series brings popular music acts and a full house to the front plaza.