Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Alberton library awarded trio of grants

Mineral Independent | June 5, 2024 12:00 AM

Receiving three grants in one month could knock a person over, but Blue Cutler is giddy because of them.

“The first grant we received is from the Pilcrow Foundation," Cutler said. "It is a grant made specifically for the purchase of new children's books. It is a 2-1 matching grant, so the nonprofit Alberton Friends of the Library provided $400, and the Pilcrow Foundation matched it with $800 toward children's books.” 

Cutler has been the branch librarian in Alberton since Jan. 1 but before that, she was a volunteer for about six months.

 “The second grant is from Blackfoot Communications," Cutler said. “It is a $1,000 grant toward electronic equipment and/or technology programs that incorporate the use of new technologies or use of current technology in different ways to improve access, services, or support to library customers. We will be purchasing two new iPads for our children's area with this grant. The third grant is from Town Pump. It is a $1,000 grant to be used for our Summer Reading Program and other children's literacy initiatives.” 

The Library’s Summer Reading Program is not the same one that the Alberton School has but both programs are now in session with room for more.  The library summer reading program is for all ages 2 to 17. It runs from June 4 through Aug. 1 and every participant registers their time in a reading log. For every 200 minutes spent reading children receive a small prize and a raffle ticket for a big prize. Some of these include Lego sets, a Squishmallow, Nerf gun and an Amazon gift certificate. These prizes were obtained with some of the funds from the Town Pump Grant.

 Cutler moved to Alberton in 2022 with her husband when he retired from the Air Force. 

“As a volunteer here, I discovered that the previous librarian was retiring, so I applied for and received the job. I had no prior experience beyond volunteering, but I am a quick learner. My degree is actually in early childhood education, but I have always loved and been drawn to libraries,” Cutler shared. 

Now that she has her feet wet, she is looking to the future for the library. 

“One thing I am really trying to increase is programming here. We currently have a storytime for ages 0 to 5 that meets every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. It would be great to get more children in for that. In the works is a Lego club for school age kids, and maybe a yarn-craft group for adults. 

"I want the library to be more of a destination than just a place where people stop to pick up their books.  I want people to feel comfortable coming in and reading for a while, or letting their kids play with the puzzles and games.” 

Something that Cutler thinks that the residents may not know about is their Partner Group.  

“That means that if you have an Alberton library card, you can order books from any of our partner libraries around the state, including Missoula, Great Falls, Polson, and many more. It means that the range of books we have to offer extends far beyond these four walls. 

The library is open Tuesday and Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.