Columbia Falls library getting upgrade

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The ImagineIF Columbia Falls Library is getting a facelift that includes a revamped children’s area, updated technology lounge, new shelving and other improvements.

When the Flathead County Library System was rebranded last year as ImagineIF Libraries, the Kalispell library was the first to undergo several phases of remodeling to improve efficiency, create better space for exploration and relaxation and create hands-on learning environments.

The Columbia Falls Library remodeling began in May with a reconfigured pickup and self-checkout area, fresh paint and a new service desk.

A separate nook for teens is another feature of the Columbia Falls project. New furniture also is being installed throughout the library, which is located in Columbia Falls City Hall.

“People are really enjoying everything that we’ve done so far at the Columbia Falls location,” Senior Librarian Sean Anderson said in a press release. “In a couple of weeks, we’ll really be stepping into the future. It will be everything that people love about ImagineIF Columbia Falls — great collections, great people, lots of activity — with a fresh, inviting look.”

ImagineIF Columbia Falls will be closed on Sept. 18 and 19 as the remodeling is underway.

In addition, all ImagineIF locations will be closed on Sept. 21 for staff training.

On Sept. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m., a community celebration is planned at ImagineIF Columbia Falls with live music by the Ashley Creek Ramblers. Everyone is invited to tour the newly remodeled library and enjoy refreshments and a community photo exhibit, Portraits of the Flathead.

 A facilities master plan completed last year for the county library system recommended the construction of new libraries in Columbia Falls, Bigfork and Kalispell, an investment that would cost about $22.6 million.

Existing facilities in Bigfork, Columbia Falls and Kalispell are all considerably undersized and lack parking, the facilities report noted.

Since the county commissioners rolled over an earlier capital improvement allocation of $16 million to the 2020 fiscal year, construction of any new libraries is on hold. The commissioners have indicated they would reconsider a capital investment in library construction if a public-private partnership were proposed.

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at

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