Frequently Asked Questions about
the BPL Forward Capital Campaign

What is BPL Forward? 
BPL Forward is the campaign to make capital (building) improvements to the Bozeman Public Library. The Library building’s footprint will expand slightly to create a larger community room downstairs and more spacious reading room upstairs. Renovations within the existing space will modernize the Library’s services, making it a better place to connect with others and learn together. 

What changes can I expect? 
The expansion is focused on better serving patrons in three key ways:

  1. Community: a new Hub will be an informal gathering spot to meet (and make) friends, work, or read.
  2. Creativity: two new learning labs will greatly expand program possibilities. One is designed for interactive demos such as cooking or art classes; the other is a tech lab with computer equipment, 3D printers, a gaming zone, and a small recording studio.
  3. Collaboration: a larger community room and additional small meeting rooms provide much-needed space for events, community meetings, club gatherings, and more. 

Why is this expansion needed now?
Since the current Library was built in 2006, Bozeman has added more than 20,000 new residents. This has put an incredible strain on our ability to meet the demand for meeting space, technology access, and new ways of learning. This expansion is a cost-effective way to meet the needs of our growing community for years to come while offering exciting new opportunities (Cooking classes! A recording studio! Bigger events!) befitting a modern library.

How much will the renovations cost and who is paying for them? 
The $5.1 million project will be funded almost entirely by individual donations, business contributions, and private grants, with one exception—the Library’s depreciation fund will contribute approximately $300,000 to help purchase carpet, new energy-efficient lighting, and an expansion of the automatic materials handling system. 

Can I still contribute to the campaign? 
Yes! Our $5.1M goal is in sight, but we still need library lovers to help us reach the finish line. You can contribute online at bplforward.org, leave a check with the librarians at the front desk, or visit the Library Foundation’s office on the second floor.

When is construction happening?
Construction begins in July 2022 and will be completed in October 2023.

Will the Library stay open during construction? 
With the potential exception of a two- or three-week closure, the Library will remain open during construction. We’re carefully scheduling the work to minimize disruption to patrons. Some collections will be temporarily unavailable while crews work in specific areas, but the Library wants you to have access to the materials you need, so we’ll keep those closures as short as possible.

Will I still be able to get books throughout the construction? 
Definitely. Some collections may be temporarily inaccessible while particular areas are under construction —shelves need to be moved to replace carpeting, for instance. If a collection is on the move, librarians will be thinking proactively to expand Bookmobile, curbside pickup, and online services to help keep as many of those materials accessible as they can.

Who was involved in planning this expansion?
After initial conversations between City of Bozeman staffers, Library trustees and staff, and the Foundation and the Friends of the Library, the Library engaged the veteran library architects at MSR Design to research and present options for the community to consider. We then reached out to local citizens via four community engagement events and a survey of 1,200 patrons to understand what residents most wanted from their Library. While unable to make all the requested improvements, the final plans respond to what you told us were your biggest priorities while sticking to a relatively modest budget.

Will it be safe to visit the library while it’s under construction, including with kids?
Absolutely. Nothing is more important than the safety of our patrons and staff. The children’s room will not be under construction at any time, but patrons will encounter construction as they access that room. Safe access routes will be maintained, monitored, and clearly signed throughout construction. We also carefully vetted our construction partners with a keen eye to their safety records. 

What’s happening to the coffee shop and used bookstore?
The coffee shop permanently closed in 2021. The used bookstore formerly housed inside the coffee shop will reopen in the Hub and will continue to be managed by the Friends of the Bozeman Public Library. We are exploring ways to offer coffee service in the Hub, too!

Will children’s programs be affected by construction?
The children’s room is not being renovated, so programs will continue as scheduled. Construction will affect some outdoor gathering spots for programs – crews will be working on the front plaza while the community room is being expanded, for instance. Thankfully, the Library is surrounded by plenty of welcoming green space for outdoor programs, so watch for signs and updates if your favorite program is temporarily relocated. In addition, the Bookmobile will be bringing children’s programs to spots around the community.

Will the teen area look different after the construction?
The teen area will move slightly but remain on the main floor. The teen study room, one of the most underused areas of the Library, will make way for the Hub. We think teens won’t mind the trade-off for a new tech lab, which will include computers, a gaming zone, 3D printers, and a recording studio. 

Have more questions about the BPL Forward campaign?

Please contact Bozeman Public Library Executive Director Janay Johnson at janay@bozemanlibraryfoundation.org or call 406-582-2426. 

To discuss how your business can support the effort to expand your Library, please reach out to Development and Communications Manager Jen Shoemaker at jen@bozemanlibraryfoundation.org or call 406-582-2437.

"As a mother and early childhood educator, the Library is one of the few places that has not only held onto that special magic of my youth, but has grown with the times to give children access to great literature and much, much more . Thank goodness for libraries!"


—Shannell Bailey, Bozeman resident and educator

"Since moving to Bozeman almost 30 years ago, the Library has been my go-to place to meet friends, sit and read quietly, or take a sewing or art class. It's the center of our community, offering so many resources for everyone here."


—Shirley Davidson, Bozeman resident and Library volunteer

""My boys love the Library because they get to choose books about topics they love. I also appreciate the selection of books in Spanish and other languages because it's important to see other cultures represented at our local library."


—Evelyn Paz-Solís, Bozeman resident and state multilingual/English learning specialist
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