World Usability Day (WUD) is Thursday, November 10. We want to hear from you! Contribute to a conversation about sustainability at Montana State University.
What: World Usability Day
When: Thursday, November 10
Where: Throughout the Library
How: Contribute your thoughts and experiences on the large poster sheets that will be placed throughout the library on November 10
Why: To share your sustainability experiences on campus
The World Usability website describes the event as a way to celebrate “successful user experience, bringing awareness to holistic solutions to create a better world.” The 2016 theme is Green UX, so join the conversation about sustainability at MSU!
Missing your furry friends? Come to the Library on Wednesday, August, 31 from 1 – 4 p.m. to visit with cuddly canines from Intermountain Therapy Animals. This Paws to de-Stress preview is part of MSU Debut and offers a sneak peek at part of the Library’s efforts to help manage stress at the end of the semester.
Asking people to raise their own taxes is a tough sell. Just ask our local county government how easy it was to get the money to build a new jail a few year back, and how easy it is now to get voters to approve a new “Law and Justice” center.
But imagine how difficult it must have been to raise taxes for a new library while the entire world was battling fascism in the 1940s. At a time when school kids were collecting scrap metal and newspapers, and adults were continually bombarded with solicitations to purchase war bonds, how could anyone have entertained the notion that a new tax to build a library would be acceptable? Only an eternal optimist, or an incredibly dedicated librarian, that’s who.
Meet Lois Payson, perhaps the most pie-eyed optimist who ever worked for our library. Born in Laramie, Wyoming on Christmas Day, 1895, Lois earned two bachelor’s degrees; one in Botany from the University of Wyoming and another in Library Science from the University of Illinois. She first came to work at Montana State College as assistant librarian in 1928, but she resigned in 1930 to work at the United States Department of Agriculture library in Washington, D.C. Lois returned to us in 1933 when she became the college librarian, a position she held until she went on to run the library at Yosemite National Park in 1947. She retired in Bozeman in 1956 and died in 1970.
But Lois Payson never worked in the Montana State College library building, and for good reason: we didn’t HAVE a library building in the 1930s and 40s. Books and reading facilities continued to be available in Montana Hall during those decades, sharing space with stuffed birds (and perhaps a few stuffed college administrators, too.) But Lois could see our college’s future clearly, and she knew that we had outgrown the space allocated to the library almost as soon as she took the job. That’s why she headed up a Building Committee that in 1939 issued a carefully researched report outlining the need, and worked tirelessly to get Referendum Measure No. 45 placed on the Montana election ballot of 1942. The measure, that would have allowed for the building of a library, failed that fall by 27,845 votes out of a total 85,173 cast. Not surprising since most people were more concerned with defeating Hitler than putting up a place for books.
However, Lois Payson and her successors never gave up, and less than eight years later Montana State College got its first real library building, a full fifty-seven years after the institution was founded. Lois was able to admire it when she returned to Bozeman, and she lived long enough to witness the addition of what we now call the main building in the mid 1960s. I hope she felt it was worth waiting for.
If ever a place beckoned to a nature recordist, it is Ear Mountain. I had never been there, but saw the name on a map and had to visit.
I happened to be in nearby Choteau, Montana for a project related to the writings of Ivan Doig. This summer, I am tracing some of the locations Doig wrote about in books like This House of Sky and English Creek. The project is supported by the library’s Acoustic Atlas, and over the past month it has taken me from White Sulphur Springs to the Rocky Mountain Front, with a few detours to the northernmost part of western Washington.
Doig, who passed away in 2015, was a leading writer of Western literature. He wrote 16 books of fiction and non-fiction, many of them set in his native Montana. The MSU library is now digitizing and archiving his papers, and even if you don’t know Ivan Doig, you will recognize the country he wrote about.
What draws me personally to Doig’s books is not just his ear for plot and dialogue, but his sense of place. He wrote about what might be described as ‘Doig country’—the windy prairies and forests of central and northern Montana as experienced by its ranchers and early settlers. That’s what I will be documenting through sound, and I’ll blog more about this project as the summer progresses. I’ll follow some of Doig’s characters around the West, and I will use this space as a kind of notebook to share sounds and stories from these trips.
My first stop in this series is the valley below the aforementioned rock near Choteau. It turns out that Ear Mountain lives up to its name. It is a draw for songbirds that are attracted to its transitional habitat. It is the ‘front’ part of the famed Rocky Mountain Front, where the mountain connects to the nearby grasslands. The Ear Mountain Wildlife Management Area where I visited is also a big draw for grizzly bears. It is one of the last places in the world where grizzly bears still venture onto the prairie. At dawn on July 5th, I didn’t see any bears, but the wind settled down enough for the birds to go into full song. Listen in this recording for house wrens and and robins. Don’t forget your bear spray.