University Relations and Communications

University, city celebrate community library collaboration next week

October 13, 2010



Brent Roberts, Director, MSU Billings Library, 657-2269
Bill Cochran, Director, Parmly Billings Library, 657-8258
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings and the City of Billings will usher in a new era of collaborative services next week with the grand opening of a library project on the West End.


The grand opening of the MSU Billings/Parmly Billings Library Community Library will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the MSU Billings College of Technology Tech Building. The event is free and open to the community.


City officials, university officials and representatives from Parmly Billings Library Board of Directors and staff will be on hand to finalize the memorandum of understanding between MSU Billings and the city on the project. The collaboration will lead to expanded hours of service for the community, a convenient drop-off and pick-up location for reserve materials from both libraries, expanded parking areas for visitors and public access to computers.


“This is an important initial step toward a separate community library building that has been in the works since 2003,” said Brent Roberts, the director of the MSU Billings Library.


The work began on the project when former director Jane Howell , College of Technology Dean Dr. John Cech and Parmly Billings Library Director Bill Cochran began discussions on a community project that would allow both libraries to serve more constituents. Both the city and the university have been growing and the West End location of the COT made the most sense for a community project, officials said.


The university has about 7,000 items in the collection at the COT library now, which saw renovation this summer, but those items were mostly aimed at meeting academic needs for faculty and students, Roberts said.


“It is intended to be a working collection with books and resources that people will roll up their sleeves and really apply to their education,” he said.


The new collaboration with Parmly Billings Library will bring a limited number of popular works, some popular DVDs and some children’s books to the COT, he said.


While people will be able to browse those items, he said, the real power in the collaboration will be in the ability for patrons to use internet-based catalogs from the MSU Billings Library and Parmly Billings Library to reserve materials and then pick them up or return them on the West End. It’ a convenience that Roberts said people will likely enjoy.


“Both catalogs are online so people can really make use of this,” he said.


The university and the city will share the space at the COT, the staffing will remain separate and city library staff will get the Parmly Billings materials to the West End location. The MSU Billings staff can assist people with getting library cards and computer access if needed.


Because of the new collaboration, the Community Library at the COT will have expanded hours. It will be open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. By the end of October, there will be expanded visitor parking with 30 metered parking spaces for visitors.


For more information on the new Community Library project or about the grand opening, contact Roberts at 657-1655 or at