We admit that when the Flathead County Library System was rebranded as ImagineIF Libraries a year ago, we were initially skeptical. But the results have been unmistakably positive.
The staff took some very tangible and visible steps to turn the main library and its branch libraries into lively, interactive spaces where patrons can connect and learn.
Local patrons noticed the differences almost immediately in a good way, embracing a new culture that highlights the energy, fun and possibility that can be found at the library.
Now ImagineIFs peers at the state level have noticed, too. ImagineIF last week was awarded the Montana Library Association’s Library of the Year award.
Innovative programming, community outreach and a forward-thinking strategic plan placed our local library system at the head of the class. Participation in library programs is up 32.4 percent, which shows the community truly has embraced the change.
Congratulations to the ImagineIF staff for helping us all see the big picture — and imagine — what a community library truly can be.
Bring on the dragon boats
The Montana Dragon Boat Festival officially has a new home this year, as the County Board of Adjustment approved a conditional-use permit that will allow the festival to move across Flathead Lake from Bigfork to Lakeside.
It should make for an entertaining second weekend in September, as the Dragon Boat Festival, now in its fourth year, brings hundreds of locals and visitors to a whole new venue.
Local businesses should see a huge upturn in business. While Flathead Lake Lodge was a perfect locale for the races themselves, a downside to the Bigfork venue was that it was far away from parking and the Bigfork village shopping area.
Lakeside provides a much more compact footprint for the festival, hopefully making it easier on participants and observers both.