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Lincoln County Public Library

220 west 6th Street

About Us

Lincoln County Libraries consists of the main library in Libby, Montana and two branch libraries in Eureka, Montana and Troy, Montana. We serve Lincoln County and Northwest Montana with the finest service we can. Our 3 libraries serve nearly 20,000 people in Lincoln County.

A Tradition of Service

The Lincoln County Public Library recently celebrated its eighty-fourth anniversary. In 1920, the Board of County Commissioners created the Lincoln County Free Library. It began as a collection of 2000 books, donated by the local Women's Club, under the supervision of Antonia Grandjean. The library had a number of homes in these early years, beginning with the Women's Club building, then the First National Bank, and finally, in 1929, the Hotel Libby.

That same year Inez Ratekin Herrig was appointed county librarian, a position she would hold for the next 62 years. Under her direction, the library truly became a county-wide system. The Troy branch, which had first opened in 1922, was moved to a more permanent home in the school building. The Eureka Library became an official branch of the county system in 1923. In 1936, a new wing was added to the county courthouse to serve as the new home of the Libby library.

The library continued to grow throughout the following decades. Pages were first hired in 1945, giving the county librarians much needed assistance. The Northwest Montana Federation of Libraries, an early regional cooperative, was formed that same year, with its headquarters in Libby. The maiden voyage of the Lincoln County bookmobile was to the Yaak, in 1956. This was one of the first services of its kind in the country. This innovative service helped meet the needs of rural families for more than twenty years.

1964 marked the beginning of a new era of expansion and construction for the library. The John F. Kennedy Library, the current home of the Libby library, was dedicated that year. The Eureka Branch library building was completed four years later. Finally, in 1984, the new Troy Branch Library was dedicated. The Libby library was further expanded the following year with funds from a Kellogg grant. In 1990, after more than six decades of leadership, Inez Herrig retired. The Libby library building was renamed for her shortly thereafter. Under her direction, the Lincoln County Public Library had grown from a small collection of donated books to a county-wide system with three active and established libraries.

Greta Chapman was named as Inez's successor. In the recent years the library has grown dramatically. Circulation services at the Libby library were automated in 1991. That same year, the library entered into a contract for academic library services with the Lincoln County Campus of Flathead Valley Community College. In 1992, the Lincoln County Libraries were awarded a grant for the development of an electronic catalog for all county public and school libraries. Two years later, this project was completed with the dedication of LincNet, a CD-ROM public access catalog. In the fall of 1994, the library helped implement Kootenet, Lincoln County's own Internet service provider. The library was one of the first in the state of Montana to offer free public access to the Internet.

Marlene Palmquist became director of Lincoln County Libraries in June, 1999. Under her direction the Lincoln County Library System continued to grow, technology leading the way to expanded services and convenience for patrons.

Al Randall became director in January, 2001. His goal was to improve the library system throughout the county. Noticeable improvements can be readily seen at the Eureka Library. An additional mural has been painted on the exterior of the building and the interior of the library has new oak bookcases and new carpeting. The facelift is being enjoyed by Eureka patrons. Al was an integral part of the grant writing that has landed the Libby Heritage Museum with its current expanded operation and part time archivist, Sami Pierson.

The current director is Sami Pierson. She became director in March, 2003. Noticeable improvements have been made to the Troy Library. Started under Al Randall and continuing with Sami Pierson, the library has undergone interior changes. New wood bookshelves have replace the old, metal ones. A new check-out counter and media area were added over the winter of 2003.

A new room for the reference collection and a remodeled reading room housing the Montana collection were opened in the Libby library in the spring of 1998. Another developing project involves electronic conservation of local history resources. A three year action plan was adopted in the summer of 1998. As the Lincoln County Public Libraries continue to evolve, the guiding principle of meeting community needs will continue to provide a strong sense of direction.

The new century has presented more challenges. An integrated library automation system, linking all three libraries, is fully operational. Internet services are available free of charge at all three Libraries. Patrons as well as visitors to the library website can now access the automated card catalog. Visitors to the website can see what new books have arrived at the library as well as do a search of what is available for loan from the Lincoln County Public Libraries. The Libby branch has recently added time access software for the public access computers. Patrons and guests now log in to the system and may use the computers for up to one hour a day. The Montana Collection is now located downstairs in the Libby Library in the reference area.

Lincoln County Public Library is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media