Library gets national award

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The awards keep coming for Flathead County’s rebranded library system.

ImagineIF Libraries recently were selected to receive the prestigious John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, one of the most coveted national library awards. ImagineIF was one of eight winners selected from 77 entries, according to ImagineIF Libraries Director Kim Crowley.

The national award comes on the heels of ImagineIF receiving the Montana Library of the Year award from the Montana Library Association.

 ImagineIF was selected for the national award based on the library’s rebranding and new model of library service, programming and community involvement.

The awards committee recognized the risk required to rebrand completely to reflect a new generation of libraries, according to Crowley. The award also highlights how ImagineIF Libraries have been able to make a big impact in our communities with very limited resources.

“This award is a testament to the amazing transformation our libraries have seen over the past few years,” Crowley said. “Coupled with the Montana Library of the Year Award, we are honored to be recognized nationally as a 21st century library,” said.

The Flathead County Library System rebranded itself as ImagineIF Libraries last year to better reflect the diversity of what today’s libraries offer.

ImagineIF libraries in Kalispell, Bigfork, Columbia Falls and Marion began offering experience-based programs to teach patrons new skills that included everything from making home-cleaning products and chicken coops to simple hands-on construction projects.

Following the state award presented in April, Crowley credited the library staff for engaging with library patrons to create a new culture that highlights the energy, fun and possibility that can be found in local libraries.

 The John Cotton Dana Award comes with $10,000 cash provided by EBSCO and the H.W. Wilson Foundation, to be presented at a reception at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference next month in San Francisco.

 The eight winning national entries can be viewed online at

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

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