Speaker Profiles

Kim Andersonis the director of programs and grants at Humanities Montana. She grew up in Missoula, spent fifteen years in New York City working in publishing, and returned to her home town to raise her children and work as a free-lance writer and editor until she had the great good fortune to be hired by Humanities Montana in 2000. One of her first and favorite jobs, while a student, was at the Mansfield library on the UM campus.  She was supposed to be shelving, but mostly she was hiding deep in the stacks reading.  

My name is Angela F. Archuleta. I am in my seventh year as a school librarian this fall.  I have worked as a K-6 Librarian at Kincaid Elementary in Anchorage, Alaska, Grades 5-8 Librarian in Lewistown, Montana, the Audiovisual Library at Flathead High School in Kalispell, Montana and now I am the Junior High and High school Librarian in Lame Deer, Montana on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.  

Kenning Arlitschis the Dean of the Library at Montana State University.  He has a BA in English Literature from Alfred University and a Masters of Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Kenning serves as the appointee of the Commission of Higher Education, a position he has held since 2016.

Elsie Arntzen is the current State Superintendent. Arntzen is a 4th generation Montanan from Billings. She is the daughter of two Montana public school teachers and she taught 5th and 6th grade in Billings Public Schools for 23 years. She has degrees in Economics and Education from the University of Montana and Montana State University respectively. In addition to her teaching career, she served in the Montana Legislature for 12 years. She served four terms in the Montana House of Representatives from 2005 to 2013 and one term in the Montana Senate from 2013 until she was sworn in as Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 2, 2017. She is the proud mother of two daughters and grandmother of four grandchildren. She has been married to her high school sweetheart Steve for 41 years. With her strong background in public education, she is honored to serve as Superintendent of Montana’s public schools and it is her mission to put Montana students first at the Office of Public Instruction.

As ImagineIF Libraries Director, Connie Behe does more than prepare reports and wrangle books. With more than 15 years of public library leadership experience, she’s immersed in strategic planning and innovative services. She’s also dedicated to staff development, creative partnerships, and bringing the community together in unexpected ways. Behe draws her inspiration from the concept of the library as a free source of life changing information for all people.  

Star Bradley is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at MSU Library in Bozeman, MT. Star has taught credit bearing classes, to include LSCI 121 (Library Research Skills) and LS 350 (Literature Reviews: Theory & Practice). Star routinely does one shot instruction sessions for other classes on campus as well as workshops on databases, EndNote, and more.

My name is Joy Bridwell. I am an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in Box Elder, MT. I am the Librarian/ Library Director at the Stone Child College/Rocky Boy Community Library (SCC/RBCL). I have been working at the SCC/RBCL since 2009 when I started out as the library assistant. I became the library director in 2014. I graduated with my MSLS from Clarion University in May 2016. I sit on various committees and boards at Stone Child College, in the Rocky Boy community, and other organizations. I have a B.A. in History from the University of Providence (2005) in Great Falls, MT. I have an A.S. in General Business from Stone Child College (2010) in Box Elder, MT. I represented the American Indian Library Association (AILA) as part of the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2017 Emerging Leaders Program. In 2018, I was awarded the “I Love My Librarian Award” by the American Library Association, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the New York Times and the New York Public Library. In my spare time I like hang out with my family and friends. I love to read to my son. I like to travel, visit museums and libraries, try new foods from all over, read and go to the movies, write poetry, go for hikes in the mountains, and take my son to the park. I love to cook and bake, which is a trait that I get from my mother. I enjoy holding community events in the library and love seeing community members smiling faces when they come to an event.

Dani Buehlerhas been the Lewistown Public Library Director since 2018 but has enjoyed many different positions at libraries around the state for the better part of the last decade. Along the way, Dani has sought to develop her skills and understanding of Montana Libraries. She lives in Lewistown with her two wonderfully rambunctious red-headed boys, Oona the cow dog, and a biologist husband. Dani enjoys the outdoors, DIY projects, and a good book. 

Bretagne Byrd is the Bookmobile Librarian at the Lewis & Clark Library. She works to bring library services to the underserved populations in the Lewis and Clark County through the bookmobile and outreach. While not out on the bookmobile she enjoys being outside doing wide range of activities. There is no better way to combine being a librarian and enjoying being outside than with a bookmobile and outreach!

Cindy Christin has been involved with the Collaborative Summer Library Program for a very long time, as well as serving as the head of children’s services at the Bozeman Public Library.

Tracy Cookprovides consulting assistance on a variety of topics and oversees the consulting, continuing education, and lifelong learning programs within the State Library.  Tracy’s areas of expertise include library law, board development, personnel, local government relations, and advocacy.  Tracy enjoys hiking, canoeing, citizen scientist work, and golf.   

My name is Samantha Courchane. I am the Assistant Librarian at Stone Child College. My mother likes to tell me that one day my floor will cave in from the number of books I accumulate. I love to read, watch TV, and play games. I have an Associate’s Degree from Stone Child College. I have worked at my current position since 2016. As part of my job, I help Joy come up with ideas for our monthly events. Due to COVID, we have had to adapt our events into kits. Pinterest is my friend, and sometimes my distraction, when it comes to finding instructions and patterns for our kits. I pack the kits and put them together for our patrons.  

Dustina Deans is the public services librarian at Lincoln County Library in Libby.

Jamie Doggett is a rancher from White Sulpher Springs. Doggett previously served as a County Commissioner in Meagher County.  She joined the Commission in 2018. 

Born and raised in Montana, Samantha Dwyer earned her Master of Arts in literature, with a minor in art and an emphasis in science from the University of Montana. She loves finding the humanities connections in a broad array of topics and fields. Sam originally worked at Humanities Montana from 2011-2016 before taking two years to teach ceramic arts at The American International School of Muscat in Oman, returning to Missoula in 2018. In her role as program officer, Sam plans a variety of programming, including Montana Conversations and Montana Center for the Book programs. She is always looking for new partnerships that will help bring the humanities to more Montanans.

Andrea Eckerson is the East Helena Branch Manager at the Lewis & Clark Library. She came into the library world late in life. After getting her three children to public school ages, she pursued her online Library Science degree at the University of North Texas with a focus on Youth Services. She was horribly fearful of tweens and teens and now has a great love for them once she learned that sarcasm works wonders with those ages! It helps that her three children are all teens now, too, not to mention her husband acts like one.  

As a former public and academic librarian, Julie Edwards has secured over $50,000 and brought numerous state and national programs to libraries through grant writing. She has been the principal investigator on both state and IMLS grants as well as project director on grants from the American Library Association and Folger Library. She’s written two books, including Transforming Libraries, Building Communities: The Community Centered Library (with Robinson and Unger, Scarecrow Press 2013), which includes a chapter on grant writing for public libraries. In 2017-2019 she taught in the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of Botswana as a Fulbright scholar.

As Product Development Strategist for Library Simplified/SimplyE, James English works to build the public library open source community, develop and follow a technical roadmap for deploying the hosted solution through LYRASIS while maximizing benefit for public library partners, as well as identify new opportunities to serve public libraries across the United States. James came to LYRASIS from The New York Public Library, where he helped develop the Library Simplified solution as the Sr. Product Manager for National Platforms. Prior to that, he served as Chief Product & Executive Officer of Telemetry Labs and as Chief Product & Operations Officer for Guardian Networks, both web and mobile product development service providers specializing in machine-2-machine technology.

Jacqueline Frank has been at MSU for over 10 years, most recently as the new Instruction & Accessibility librarian. Jacqueline holds an MLIS from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from MSU. She works to promote accessibility in teaching and in the library, and provides research instruction and assistance to students in and out of the classroom.   Outside of work you can find her next to any body of water, walking her dogs, or binge-watching bad television.

Desirée Funston is a reference librarian at Missoula Public Library where she helps patrons discover their family history. She is a proud seventh-generation Montanan who enjoys researching westward expansion, gold discoveries, and steamboat navigation on the Upper Missouri River. In addition to her career as a librarian/genealogist, she also owns and operates a farm growing hops for Montana’s craft beer industry.

Megan Glidden is lucky to be challenged and excited by her work every day. As a Senior Librarian at ImagineIF Libraries in Northwest Montana, she focuses on public services and community engagement. She is thrilled to see the impacts and outcomes of her work and thinks it is awesome that she is paid to do it. Getting that master’s degree in Library Science was a good call! 

Mary Anne Hansen is in her 25th year as a librarian at Montana State University, where she thrives on assisting students and faculty with their research needs through library instruction and research consultations, especially within her Subject Librarian areas: Education, Health & Human Development, Nursing, and Psychology. Mary Anne also coordinates the MSU Library’s annual Tribal College Librarians Professional Development Institute, working closely with Native librarians to provide relevant programming to meet their unique cultural and professional knowledge needs. 

Molly Hudson is the Children Services Librarian at the Lewis & Clark Library. Other than her family, she loves nothing more than providing opportunities for children and their families to learn, play and create with the library. Parachute storytimes have a special place in her heart, and she has a tendency to leave a trail of glitter wherever she goes. She owes the maintenance crew at Lewis & Clark Library more cookies than she can bake in a lifetime. 

Dalton Johnson is pursuing a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Montana. As First-Generation College Student, Johnson shared, “Libraries’ created a pathway for my academic and professional success. I will promote and advance social equity to bring people and knowledge together”.  He previously served on the Montana Board of Regents, where he increased accessibility and transferability across the Montana University System. 

Elizabeth Jonkel received her MLIS from the University of Western Ontario in 2000. She has worked for Canadian governments as a consultant, analyst and librarian, specializing in health services. Since 2009, she has served as the Assistant Director at Missoula Public Library in Missoula, Montana. Elizabeth also holds a M.A. in History from Carleton University and B.A. in English from the University of Montana.

Amelea Kim has worked as the Lifelong Learning Librarian at the Montana State Library since June 2018. Her library interests include children’s services, particularly services for ages 0 – 5, health literacy, community outreach/support, and supporting Montana librarians in the amazing work that they do! In her free time, Amelea enjoys hiking, baking cakes and consuming said cakes, and making forays into various crafting hobbies. 

The School Nutrition Team at the State of Montana’s Office of Public Instruction manages multiple federally funded nutrition programs for Montana kids.Kim Lloyd manages the Summer Food Service Program, which provides free, nutritious meals for kids when school is out.  

Kathy MacMillan (she/her) is a writer, national certified American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and signing storyteller. She writes picture books, (including the Little Hands Signing series from Familius Press), children’s nonfiction, and middle grade and young adult fiction. She is also the author of eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents, including Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together. Her diverse career includes working as a children’s librarian at public libraries, working a school librarian at the Maryland School for the Deaf, leading the Eldersburg Library Bookcart Drill Team, and performing as Scooby-Doo, Velma, and a host of other characters at a theme park.  Kathy presents American Sign Language storytelling programs for all ages and workshops for educators and librarians.  Kathy holds a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland, a Bachelor of English from the Catholic University of America, and a Certificate of American Sign Language Interpreting from the Community College of Baltimore County. She lives in Baltimore, MD. Find her online at www.kathymacmillan.com [kathymacmillan.com] or on Twitter and Instagram at @kathys_quill.  

Hannah McKelvey is an Assistant Professor and Electronic Resources & Discovery Services Librarian at Montana State University Library. Her current role includes managing electronic information licensed by the Library through third-parties and to facilitate discovery and access to Library resources. To contact her, send an email tohannah.mckelvey@montana.edu.

Rachelle McLain is the Collection Development Librarian at the MSU Library. She manages the library’s collections budget and oversees the acquisition of resources to meet the researching and learning needs of the Montana and MSU communities.  

Born in Eugene, Oregon, Bruce Newell moved to Helena in 1980 and worked as a public service and network services librarian for the Montana State Library and the Lewis & Clark Public Library. Bruce was active in the Montana Library Association, and feels fortunate to have participated in the global library cooperative OCLC as first a delegate and later an elected Trustee. Bruce is now retired, but he continues to be engaged with librarianship. Bruce was appointed to the Commission in 2014.  He’s grateful for the opportunity to serve Montana’s libraries as a MSL Commissioner. 

Kate Radford is the Lincoln Branch Manager at the Lewis & Clark Library and strongly believes that library services belong outside of the library as much as in. Kate loves exploring new ways of engaging patrons of all ages and is constantly looking for the next thing to try in the library community.

Alyssa Ramirez is the library director at Lincoln County Library in Libby.

Meghan Salsbury graduated from the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University with a master’s in Library Science in 2015. She joined the University of Nebraska at Omaha Criss Library’s faculty in the summer of 2016 as the Online Learning & Education Librarian before moving to Montana in 2018. Meghan spent a year as the Youth Services Librarian at Belgrade Community Library, and then moved on to MSU Library as the Instructional Technology Librarian in May 2019. She works with students and faculty to create online learning opportunities, manages the library’s LibGuides, and teaches information literacy instruction sessions and credit-bearing courses. At home she takes care of her two small kids and enjoys baking and watching anything that isn’t a kids show!

Andrew Sanderbeck has been developing and conducting training programs for libraries for more than fifteen years. He has presented Web-based, On-line, and Face-to-Face sessions on Management and Leadership, Customer Service and Communication Skills in the U.S. and numerous countries around the world. With more than 20 years of hands-on customer service experience, Andrew’s programs are filled with proven techniques that attendees can immediately apply.

Jennie Stapp is a Montana native.  She holds a BA in International Studies from Rocky Mountain College.  She earned her MLS from the University of Arizona in 2002.  While in library school Jennie was a Cates Scholar.   Jennie worked previously for the Montana Historical Society Research Center and joined the staff of the State Library in 2005.  She has been State Librarian since January, 2012.

Whitney Thompson serves as the Program Director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Montana Chapter. Her career in dementia care, support, and education started over 8 years ago – she worked as a professional caregiver while earning her Master’s in Public Health. Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association, she served Wisconsin for 3 years in creating a more dementia-capable state – working closely to help support families and creating sustainable community driven efforts.

Brittney Uecker has been the Youth Services Librarian for the Lewistown Public Library since February 2019. She provides programming and collection development for youth 0-18, including story times, an on-air radio story hour, creative writing group, and classroom visits. She is an avid runner, fiction writer, and mom to two wild kids.

Chuck Vopicka is The Montana State Library’s Statewide Projects Technical Support liaison.  Chuck has more than 20 years of software support/development, database design/administration, and web development experience.  Currently, his main task is to support, troubleshoot, and develop the ASPeN New Library Directory. 

Ken Wall has more than 30 years of experience in geographic information systems, beginning at the University of Montana as a GIS research specialist in 1986 and serving in the capacity of founder and president of Geodata Services, Inc. since 1993.  Ken holds a BS in Forestry from the University of Montana, graduating in 1978.  Ken served as assistant director of the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana for 8 years.  Ken earned certification as an Esri Desktop Associate, was certified by Esri to teach ArcGIS courses and is a CompTIA CTT+ Certified Technical Trainer.  He was appointed and served 2 consecutive terms on the Montana Land Information Act Council.  Ken was appointed to the Commission in 2015 and he was reappointed in 2018.  

Stu Wilson is the former Director of Library Strategies Consulting Group, Executive Director of The Friends of the Hennepin County Library and Vice-President of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Wilson has more than 25 years of fundraising and planning experience and is the founder of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul. He also served as the lead consultant in creating The Trust for Montana Libraries.

Jan Zauha is the Humanities and Outreach Librarian at MSU where she has been a faculty member since 1995. Her current work focuses on archives, outreach and promoting the humanities. Her research interests include Ivan Doig, recreational reading collections in academic libraries, and outreach planning and programming in archives and libraries.