Montana Center for the Book Prize

Awards for Excellent Literary Programs

The annual Montana Center for the Book Prize is awarded to up to five programs in recognition of excellent work promoting literacy and literature in Montana. Award-winning programs receive $1,000 and public recognition.

Montana Center for the Book Prize Recognizes:

Early Childhood Literacy
Writing in Schools
Literary Programs
Library Programs

2019 Winners

  • Absarokee Lending Library, Absarokee
    With the closest public library 15 miles away, the Absarokee Lending Library was created by community members who wanted free and local access to books, movies, games, the internet, and more. The all-volunteer ALL  offers a growing collection, author presentations, cozy reading nooks, a home for support groups, activity days and is open to ideas for additional creative programming. The organization has already found a larger home and local community members have donated funds and furnishings.
  • Free Verse Project, Missoula
    The Free Verse Project brings creative writing instruction and encouragement to Montana’s juvenile detention centers. The Project is active in Missoula County Juvenile Detention Center, the Billings Juvenile Detention Center, Billings Shelter Care, and Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility in Miles City. In addition, in 2018 Free Verse partnered with Billings-area writers and Second Season to bring together youth in detention centers with students from local high schools. Their efforts resulted in a published anthology of student work, “I am Montana: Student Reflections on Identity and Place.”
  • Browning High School Rising Voices Poetry Club, Browning
    The Browning High School Rising Voices Poetry Club is a weekly gathering for students to share their work, offer encouragement, and hone the craft of writing. The afterschool sessions culminate with an end of the year celebration where students, staff, and community members gather to listen to students share their work and celebrate their creative efforts. Over the years students have had the opportunity to work with published writers and have, themselves, been published in professional journals.
  • Bozeman Public Library’s Children’s Festival of the Book, Bozeman
    The Children’s Festival of the Book is an annual celebration of children’s literature, designed to encourage a love of reading for all ages. The festival – now in its 12th year – brings authors, illustrators, and artists to Bozeman to connect with kids by offering engaging presentations, book signings, and hands-on activities. The Festival also features a day of rural school visits.
  • Missoula Public Library’s EmPower Place, Missoula
    Located in the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center, the Missoula Public Library’s EmPower Place is a collection of books and programs offered free of charge to the adult and children visitors of the space. In addition to hosting bi-weekly readings by children’s librarians, the EmPower Place offers a space for children of the Food Bank’s visitors to access a healthy meal, play, read and socialize.

2019 Advisory Committee

  • Caroline Bitz
    Humanities Montana board member, Belgrade

  • Debbie Garland
    Humanities Montana board member, Missoula

  • Danell Jones
    Author, Billings

  • Rebecca Kohl
    Archivist, Helena

  • Thomas Nurmi
    Assistant professor, Montana State University Billings

  • Andrea Peacock
    Owner, Elk River Books, Livingston

  • Bernard Rose
    Literary programmer, Billings Public Library