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Shelflife: Limited opening in May

Shelflife: Limited opening in May

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At their March meeting, the Missoula Public Library’s board of trustees approved a plan to open the downtown facility to limited public access on Monday, May 3. Up to 100 people will be allowed in the building at a time, and guests will be asked to limit their visits to one hour or less. The library and its partners will not host in-person group activities, meetings or events in this first phase of limited building access.

Starting on May 3, building access will be available to high-risk populations (elderly and immune-compromised individuals) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Building access will be available to the general public on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Also on May 3, library users will be able to schedule passport services by calling 721-2665, and register in advance for notary or research assistance through the library’s website or by phone. Curbside lending hours will also change to 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

COVID-19 protocols will continue to be required of all staff and guests inside the building, including properly worn masks, social distancing and other hygiene measures. Each afternoon the building will be sanitized in preparation for the next day’s guests.

While MPL staff look forward to returning to a full-service, active and vibrant library, achieving that goal requires an ongoing commitment to public safety and an incremental process that carefully weighs community needs against pandemic risks. Library leadership will continue to consult with Missoula County officials in each phase of increased building access. We appreciate the patience of library users as we balance these priorities.

An evening with Montana Poet Laureates

As Montana co-poets laureate and women from marginalized communities, Melissa Kwasny and M.L. Smoker aim to celebrate poetry as an art that fosters connection, relationships and bridge building.

As part of MPL’s celebration of National Poetry Month in April, Smoker and Kwasny will read their own poems as well as a selection by poets who have influenced them during a live Zoom presentation on Wednesday, April 7, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. These poems will speak to issues of diversity and inclusion, landscape and the environment, and culture and history. Along the way, they will discuss their own backgrounds and creative processes and share their understanding that poetry can be a source of hope and something both young and old alike need desperately in these times of climate crisis, illness and assaults on people’s dignity and freedoms.

If you’d like to attend this event, please send an email with “Poetry Reading” in the subject line to to receive Zoom login information, or call the library at 721-BOOK (2665).

Peeps Show

Spring has finally sprung, which means its once again time for the Missoula Public Library’s 9th Annual Peeps® Diorama Contest. We’re going all digital again this year and our theme of “New Beginnings” celebrates the anticipation and joy of spring.

During this contest, you can let your love of marshmallow candy blend with your passion for literature when you create a shoebox-sized diorama using Peeps® candy to showcase a literary allusion or theme. While those marshmallow Peeps® should be featured somehow, we encourage you to get creative with materials you already have at home to build the rest of your diorama. Winners of all age categories and the “Peeple’s Choice” award will get a $10 Missoula Downtown Association gift card.

The contest kicks off on Monday, April 5, and submissions end on Wednesday, April 21. Participants are asked to email pictures of their creations with “Peeps Diorama Entry” in the subject line to Winners will be announced on our website and social media pages on Friday, April 30. Standard shoeboxes only please. All ages are welcome to participate. For a full list of rules, visit

Family History Scavenger Hunt

Do you enjoy researching family history? If so, you can test your genealogy skills and compete for prizes during the Missoula Public Library’s online Family History Scavenger Hunt.

Every Friday in April, registered participants will receive a research clue via email. You will then have until 5 p.m. the following Thursday to use free online resources to complete the hunt and answer questions about what you discover. For each correct response, your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free, one-year membership to the Western Montana Genealogical Society and a free two-hour consultation with a genealogist. This scavenger hunt is open to cardholders of Missoula Public Library and its branches. A valid email address is required to participate. Please register online for this scavenger hunt at: Special thanks to the Western Montana Genealogical Society for sponsoring this event.

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