Gallatin County – First Library

The first library in Gallatin County was started in Bozeman in 1872, by the Young Men’s Library Association, in a room over Alward’s Drug Store. Later, it was in the office of Judge A. D. McPherson, then in the office of J. V. Bogert, and in 1885, the books were given to the Bozeman schools. The following year, the Young Men’s Christian Association started a library, and books were collected by a group of women, who took turns in serving as librarian. In 1890, the library was taken over by the city, and a librarian was employed part time, with the assistance of local women, Miss Belle Chrisman serving several years. With a contribution of $1,500 secured from Andrew Carnegie, the present brick building was erected on ground purchased by the city, and a regular librarian has since been employed with part time assistant.

Through the efforts of club women, a library was started a few years ago in Three Forks, a discarded box car being remodeled into a neat building for the library, with women alternating in serving as librarian. Contributions were made by other clubs in the county. Belgrade club women have started a similar plan, securing a room for library use. Every school in Gallatin County now has a library, though not an extensive one. The law requires that a fund shall be set aside every year for library purposes, and in the rural districts. The county superintendent assists the teacher and school board in making selections from a list of books suggested by the state superintendent. Additional funds have been raised through entertainments to purchase books for the Bozeman schools, and at Gallatin County High School, a number of books have been donated to add to the list purchased, and a regular school librarian is employed. Montana State College has a valuable library, especially for reference, and a librarian and assistant are employed.

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