Thursday, May 13, 2021
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Thompson Falls Library Hits the Century Mark

by MONTE TURNER
Mineral Independent | April 28, 2021 12:00 AM

As Krystal Buchanan, director of the Thompson Falls Public Library, started an update for their website to mark 100 years of community service, she found a gold mine of history that most probably do not know about.

“I located relatives from the founding board members and employees that are living in Sanders County, Missoula and Idaho,” she said. “Our conversations became so interesting and there is so much new information that I’ve updated on our website. And there’s a link on there to go even deeper from other sources that I didn’t have room for.”

Several of her contacts have pictures of the people Buchanan had called about and are sending them to her as she has special plans after this unexpected discovery.

She shares, “If this all comes together the way I hope it does, I’ll have them screened onto small canvas mounts and have a display of everyone I can get, hopefully, by the end of the year.”

It all began in 1921 when the Thompson Falls Woman’s Club purchased two books and the children’s magazine “Nature” and placed them for public checkout in the town laundry, according to information from the library.

This was the beginning of public library services in Thompson Falls. Throughout the years the library was housed in a variety of settings including the basement of the barber shop, the Odd Fellows Hall and a small room in the back of the town fire station.

In 1962 the Town of Thompson Falls built a new city hall which included two rooms for the public library. In 1992, as a result of dwindling funds from the city, the Thompson Falls Public Library District was formed which encompassed the Thompson Falls High School district.

The library remained in and outgrew city hall until 2000 when a store front on Main Street was purchased – tripling the space and making the library much more visible to, and used by, the community.

In 2002, Thompson Falls Public Library became one of the founding 17 members of the Montana Shared Catalog. The Montana Shared Catalog is a cooperative project; public, school, academic, medical, and special libraries pooled their resources together to purchase a robust library automation system.

In 2002 Thompson Falls Public Library was named Library of the Year for the entire state of Montana.

What’s another way to celebrate being in service to the community for 100 years?

One fun way was to give a prize to the 100th person who walked into the library on the 100th day of 2021. On April 10, Arlene Mack was super surprised when Buchanan and a few others walked up and congratulated her, and she admitted that she had totally forgotten about the contest!

But Mack was thrilled to win gift certificates from Thompson Falls businesses, Minnie’s Café, Mangy Moose, Harvest Foods and Seed & Fuel.

A book sale is being held by the Friends of the Thompson Falls Public Library this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the front of the library where you will find some very cool books recently donated and this will be the first opportunity to see, and even purchase, the popular ‘Library Tote Bags’ with the brand-new library design.

For those who donate $50, they can become lifetime member of the library and receive a tote for free.

June 1 is the start of the Summer Reading Program with terrific prizes to the kids who participate and meet their reading goals. Prizes like walkie talkies, a remote-control car, blue-tooth speaker flashlight combo for outside fun.

For the older kids, they could win a professional sketching kit or a wooden easel, brushes, palate, and acrylic paints plus Buchanan might be adding more goodies to this cache. For the youngest of the youngsters, does the challenge of ‘1,000 Books Before Kindergarten’ sound daunting?

Well, it isn’t once you hear how reading stories to your bambinos works and that involving family members and babysitters repeating their favorite stories will move them closer to the finish line.

A goal that Buchanan and her team are striving to accomplish is to add 100 titles to each of the categories. Meaning 100 new books to the science fiction category, 100 new books to the history section, etc.

Please note that this is an internal goal that Buchanan and her team set for themselves and as a dare of friendly competition.

The library has seven computers for the public to use, even if you do not have a library card.