Do the Glendive thing: Vote ‘yes’ for the library

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Dear Editor:

The library is in danger. It is now responsible for passing its own operational mills. Glendive is not ready to lose yet another feature of the town.

The library building, that triangular block, the majestic weeping white birch tree, were all given to the county by a grant from the federal government. Hundreds of citizens sacrificed time and work and money.

Peggy Winchell, the library’s director in 1989, was working hard to get the library out of that inaccessible hole under the courthouse – literally a bomb shelter. She needed a non-profit to apply for a building acquisition grant. We said OK; call it Friends of the Glendive Public Library. It was so easy. Patty and Roy Moline stepped forward and said, “We’re in if we’re going after a building.” Many others joined in a similar fashion. Tink Nellans came to the first meeting and volunteered to be secretary and to guide us to by-laws.

The then First West Bank was selling their building and planning to move. Throughout the purchase and for years after, the bank’s management just gave. One example is the roof. Rain poured in. First West stepped forward and paid the bills, the architect, the contractor-longer than required.

After the original group of FOL raised money to pay a grant writer, we contacted Mary McDonough Garfield. She didn’t take our money but she did get the grant, the entire sum given to the state of Montana for libraries that year. Vada Taylor walked soliciting letters in support of the grant; everyone wrote. Letters in support of the grant were gathered by Vada Taylor

Fred Dion gave a year of his life. Possessed of a degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly and an MBA from Harvard, his background was invaluable. Fred dealt with asbestos and calculating a floor’s load bearing capacity. Why did Fred give so much? Fred understood libraries.

Once Fred figured out where to put the books, Gail Nagle made a plan and a bunch of guys, many railroad employees, carried loads of books up the stairs and up the stairs and up the stairs, down the block, and across the street into the ground level building

I’ve named people who gave volunteer hours. But there were literally hundreds who worked in many ways or wrote checks. Big checks in the cases of George McGovern and Irma Temple Adams. Marjory Lukanitsch, DCHS Latin and Humanities teacher, left a bequest. Clearly, a public library is so important that everyone recognizes it.

My point is the Glendive Public Library and the extraordinary staff harbor ghosts of good will and a positive reputation built by many volunteers in uncounted ways. But it is time to give once more. Do the Glendive thing. Please vote “for” on your ballot.

Rose Marie Aus

Dawson County