‘Books are the best’: Bozeman Public Library employee named Montana’s librarian of the year | City
A Bozeman Public Library employee with decades of devotion to local children and families was named Montana Librarian of the Year.
Cindy Christin started working at the Bozeman Public Library over 30 years ago when she became a part-time children’s librarian. At the time, she had just moved to Bozeman and was raising young children.
Christin didn’t know anyone in town and didn’t know what to do with her children. When she started working in the library, she started a “book and baby program”.
The objectives were twofold: helping children develop literacy skills from a young age, and helping young parents get in touch.
“Having a young child can be a really isolating kind of experience,” said Christin. “We wanted to offer families in our community, caregivers and parents a place where they can just have time and talk.”
Christin, who became the full-time youth minister in 2006, spent her years in the library meeting the needs of Bozeman’s children and families. Her department runs a toddler story, children’s book club, after-school activities for children of all ages and parenting classes.
Although Christin started working in the library because of her background as a preschool teacher and her love of teaching children to read, she said one of the most fulfilling parts of the job was working with families.
“If we meet parents’ needs at a young age, we are forever a support system,” said Christin.
Christin’s work in Bozeman has not gone unnoticed. Library director Susan Gregory said nominating Christin for Sheila Cates Librarian of the Year for the Montana Library Association was a breeze.
According to Gregory, Christian is known among librarians across Montana and well remembered by children and families who come through the library. That became clear one day when Gregory and Christin stopped at Three Forks for coffee on their way to a meeting in Helena.
The place was full, said Gregory, but while they were sitting at a table a man spotted Christin in the crowd and said hello to “Ms. Cindy from the story. “
The man hadn’t lived in the area for years, said Gregory, but still remembers Christin.
“She’s been a powerful influence on kids since they were brand new little babies. I really think for the rest of their lives,” said Gregory.
It was a surprise last week when Christin came to work and saw a press release announcing the award.
Christin originally found out about the award in March, but the Library Association’s annual conference was canceled and the award fell by the wayside, as did the library’s regular programming.
The library is now closed to visitors due to COVID-19. The children’s staff had to put away all of the department’s toys and focus on providing “book bundles” for families to request and request books on various subjects.
Although Christin is unable to work with children personally, he said that when they choose books, they “have fun” talking to families. They toss a few books in any bundle they hope will aid a child’s reading, she said.
“We always want to expand your world,” said Christin.
“Books are the best, of course, and it’s a wonderful thing to share with a child of any age.”
To see what else is happening in Gallatin County, subscribe to the online paper.