By Abbie Digel, Explorebigsky.com Editor

BIG SKY – Nearly 400 Montana librarians will be bustling around Big Sky talking books, information, and the future of Montana’s library system in mid-April.

The theme of this year’s Montana Library Association conference is “reaching new summits,” chosen by Big Sky Community Library director Kathy House, also co-director of the conference. House believes the theme appropriately incorporates the idea of Big Sky, mountains and hiking.

“There are so many new summits to reach, so many more places and people libraries are reaching out to, it made sense,” House said.

The conference will take place at Big Sky Resort, April 11—14. House also allocated locations around town for certain events to give attendees, most of whom have never been to Big Sky, a taste of what the community has to offer.

House explained she couldn’t have planned the event without the help of Friends of the Library, Big Sky Resort, the Cook Foundation and the Outlaw Partners. Also, Lone Peak Brewery is hosting a brewery tour for the librarians.

“We feel honored to share the success of our small community library with so many librarians across the state, demonstrating how efforts from resort tax, Friends of the Library, and the Ophir [now Big Sky] School Board make us possible,” House said.

Big Sky’s library is a successful example for others of how libraries can work in conjunction with schools. “There’s very few community libraries around the state, but we have resort tax, which helps immensely. We are very fortunate to have a generous community that sees the importance of education and libraries.”

Interested in attending sessions, but aren’t registered? Contact the Library at (406) 995-4281. mtlib.org

MLA Conference higlights

The Montana Book Award will honor the book “Raptors of the West” by Kate Davis, Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop at an April 12 reception.

Featured speakers are Joan Frye Williams, an internationally recognized library futurist and service designer. Since 1996, Williams has been president of her own library consulting firm based in California. Montanan Kevin Connolly, who has travelled the world as a photographer, author and inspirational speaker, will host the special program. Montana writer Maile Meloy, host the of the author’s luncheon, will talk about growing up in Montana and her path to becoming a writer, the creative process and the research involved in writing a spy novel set in London in 1952, and the effect of childhood reading.

Attendees can visit the Big Sky Community Library at the welcome reception on Wed. April 11, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. The Big Sky Conoco donated a $100 gas card as a door prize. The winner will be announced afterward at the Corral.

Local musicians Mike Haring and Kevin Fabozzi will play at the welcome reception, and the membership dinner, while the Lone Peak High Pep Band’s debut performance will be at the Poster Session on April 13 from 5:45 – 6:30 p.m. in the Madison Room at the Yellowstone Conference Center.