According to Honore Bray (MS/LIS ’05), being director of the Missoula Public Library is "the best job ever." While this, of course, is debatable, Bray certainly has one of the best locations to do her job—a beautiful new library building in Missoula, Montana. The project took six years from start to finish, with Bray serving as part of the planning process, co-project manager, and liaison between the library’s trustees and the architects and construction team.
"We planned and then ran a bond for $30 million. It passed, and a family in town traded me the lot across the street from the old library for the new library. We then finished raising another $6.5 million, broke ground, and began building," she said.
Construction was extended almost a year due to COVID-19, with many products on backorder because of factory delays. The new Missoula Public Library, which opened to the public last month, offers roughly 109,000 square feet of space across four floors. It also houses three community partners, including public access television, the spectrUM Discovery Area, and the Missoula Children's Museum.
"Collaborating with library staff and Missoula Public Library partners to provide stellar services to the public is the best one can ever imagine," said Bray. "Seeing the faces of children and caregivers when they have found something special to read or experience is so gratifying."
Bray credits the education she received at the iSchool with helping her prepare for the planning and implementation of projects big and small. Her advice to students is to "take advantage of the knowledge the professors share. The small things you hear often provide the nugget needed to prepare for a project."
Take a virtual tour of the new Missoula Public Library.