Library Director And Library Board Chair Spouses/Partners Donated $130,000 To Levy Campaign Committee

E-City Beat has confirmed that the two largest contributions to the ‘Vote YES for Libraries’ committee, which advocated in favor of the Great Falls Public Library levy in 2023, appear to have come in equal amounts from the spouses/partners of Susan McIntyre, the Library Director, and Whitney Olson, the Chair of the library board.

According to the publicly available Montana Office of Political Practices online campaign reporting site, Brandon Olds contributed $65,000 to the committee, here’s the screenshot:

Mr. Olds is referenced as a co-donor, which indicates either spouse or domestic partner, along with Library Director Susan McIntyre on page 31 of the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation web site donor list PDF, here’s the screenshot:

As Library Director Susan McIntyre is a paid employee of the City of Great Falls.

Douglas Little also contributed $65,000 to the committee, here’s the screenshot:

Mr. Little is referenced as a co-donor, which indicates either spouse or domestic partner, along with Whitney Olson on the United Way donor web page, here’s the screenshot:

As Chair of the library board Whitney Olson is not a paid employee of the City of Great Falls.

95% Of ‘YES For Library’ Funds Spent Out Of State – 80% Raised From 2 Donors

Follow The Money

According to the latest financial report filed with the Montana Office of Political Practices the Great Falls ‘Vote YES For Libraries’ campaign committee has raised $119,350.65 so far.

$95,000 of that total amount came from two donors:

$55,000 from Brandon Olds, Great Falls – RIGHT OF WAY SUPERVISOR STATE OF MT HIGHWAY DEPT

$40,000 from Douglas Little, Great Falls – SELF EMPLOYED

Of the $119,350.65 raised so far, 95%, $108,685 has gone to an out-of-state political consulting and campaign media strategy company called Cerillion N4 Partners in Seattle, Washington.

You can look up all of the campaign contribution and expenditure data here.

We ARE Paying For The Library Levy Election

Opinion by Jeni Dodd

There are a number of folks out there claiming that the Library Foundation, not the taxpayers, are paying for the library levy election. Not true — Great Falls taxpayers ARE footing the bill for this special election.

I suspect the misconception stems from Library Director McIntyre stating that the library is paying for the election out of the library fund, without explaining how the library fund is funded. Here’s the truth about who is paying for the library levy election. It is NOT the library foundation.

I was at the City Commission meeting on Feb 21 where this was discussed. If anyone wants to see for themselves, it starts at @00:54:40 in the video.

Commissioner Hinebauch asked Library Director McIntyre who is paying for the June levy election. McIntyre stated, “The library fund.”

Commissioner Tryon then asked for clarification about where the library fund comes from.

Melissa Kinzler, the city’s financial officer, launched into a detailed description of the various sources, all of which are taxpayer-funded.

Then Commissioner Tryon stated, “I guess the answer to that would be that the library fund is a taxpayer-funded fund. It comes from local taxpayers. In other words, it’s not a fund that the library raises independently or through the Library Foundation or some other entity.”

“Correct,” answered McIntyre.

Great Falls Public Library Cancels Planned June ‘Pride Fest’ Events

Over the past week I have been contacted and asked by several Great Falls citizens whether or not the Great Falls Public Library is planning to host and sponsor events for ‘Pride Month’ this June, as they have in the past.

E-City Beat published a blog post last Thursday raising a similar question and as a result I received several more inquiries about the matter over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Just this afternoon I received an email in my City of Great Falls city commission mailbox from Library Director Susie McIntyre spelling out the library’s course of action on this issue.

All City emails are available to the public and in the interest of full transparency and as a response to public inquiry I am providing the text of McIntyre’s email below.

“Attached please find the Library Monthly Events list for June.

I apologize for the lateness in sending this document.  Please see the Library’s statement about PRIDE activities below my signature.

Please let me know if you have any questions.



PRIDE 2023:

The Library was invited to participate in Pride Fest on June 24th.  We have participated in Pride events in the past.  We had planned to provide a craft activity and to promote reading and the Library through an informational table.

This year they are having a larger event and there will be Drag Queens in attendance.

Last week, Governor Gianforte signed HB 359 into law.  HB 359 specifically prohibits Drag Queen Story Hour at public libraries.  The wording of HB 359 is vague.  It is a bit difficult to understand whether or not it would be illegal for the Library to participate in PRIDE given that there will be Drag Queens and minors present.  After consulting with our community partners and the City Attorney, We have canceled the Great Falls Public Library’s participation in Pride this year.  

It also seems unclear if the posting of our Mister Sisters video on the Library YouTube channel violates HB 359.  On the advice of the City Attorney and out of an abundance of caution, the Library has set the Mister Sisters Video from Pride 2021 to private so it can longer be seen by the public (including minors).

The Library is for everyone. We are committed to providing a collection and programming that meets the rich and diverse needs of our community.  

We will monitor how HB 359 is viewed by the courts so that we can both follow all Montana laws and ensure that we continue to serve all members of our community.  

“There are still stories to tell.”  HoidSusie McIntyre, Director (she/her)

Great Falls Public Library
301 2nd Avenue North
Great Falls, MT 59401
PHONE:  406-453-0349
FAX:        406-453-0181

Does GF Public Library Plan ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ For ‘Pride Month’ This June?

First, some people recognize June as ‘Pride Month’.

Second, Governor Gianforte signed a bill banning ‘drag queens’ from reading to kids in libraries and some other public spaces.

Third, the Great Falls Public Library is asking voters for over $1,000,000 more per year to expand their programs.

The conjunction of these three events raises the question: Does the Great Falls Public Library intend to sponsor another ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ for kids on their ‘Kids Place’ YouTube video channel next month, as they did in 2021?

If so, the Library Board and Director Susie McIntyre should inform the public right now of their intention to do so and not wait until they know the results of the June 6 levy vote.

No Mother Goose Here

It should be noted that the stories read by the local drag queens during 2021 ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ for kids sponsored by your public library were not innocent Mother Goose or Humpty Dumpty tales – they were stories promoting the LGBTQ+ social/political agenda.

Including a story about a very little boy going to the doctor and hearing about becoming ‘transgender’. Here’s the screenshot from the story being read to your kids, sponsored and promoted by your tax dollars.

You can watch the entire video here on a previous post from E-City Beat.

Here’s our poll question:

[poll id=”35″]

Library Offers Youth Library Cards Without Parental Consent

Opinion by Jeni Dodd

A policy change enacted last fall at the Great Falls Public Library that
has implications for the parental rights of minor library patrons seems to
have flown under the radar for many Great Falls parents.

The library evidently had a policy in place until September 2022 that
those under the age of 18 required a parent or guardian’s signature
before they could get a library card.

But in September 2022, the library board unanimously voted for an
“updated library card policy that does not require parental notification”
library_approved_meeting_minutes_september_27_2022.pdf (

The policy details are found in the September 2022 Director’s Report:

“IMPROVING LIBRARY CARD ACCESS: As discussed at the last
Board meeting, the Library would like to lower the barriers to Library
use. Later in the agenda, the Board will be voting on a change to Library
Card policy to allow persons age 14 – 17 to obtain cards without
requiring a parent signature
. Your Board packet also contains
information about a proposed project to partner with local school
districts to provide students with Great Falls Public Library digital
resource access Library cards
(Emphasis added)
library_directors_report_september_2022.pdf (

Yet the GFPL website still states:

“How do I get a card if I am under the age of 18?

Bring your parent or legal guardian down to the Great Falls Public
Library at 301 2 Avenue North and stop at the first floor checkout desk.
Have your parent or legal guardian fill out the library card application.
Have your parent or legal guardian show us a picture id (driver’s license,
military id …) and proof of their current address. If their current address
isn’t on their id, they can just bring in a piece of mail or a bill that does
show their address.”
Get a Library Card | Great Falls, MT Public Library

Why has the library not changed the information on their website to
reflect the policy change the library board voted in? The latest library
policy manual available online, dated November 2021, as well as the
library card application form, also still state that a parent or guardian
must sign for applicants under the age of 18. gfpl_policy_manual_-_all_sections_combined_1.pdf

It’s been eight months since this policy change. Are they hiding the fact
that they changed this policy from parents?

It might be relevant at this time to also point out that library policy cites
Montana law and the Montana Constitution as legal authority to prohibit
disclosure of library patron records, including those of minors, to anyone
without the patron’s permission. Now with this library card policy
change, that means parents additionally might never find out their child
has a library card.

Regarding the proposed partnerships with local school districts
discussed at the same library board meeting, The Electric covered that in
an article. One quote from that piece stands out.

“The library would not provide information to schools about individual
student use of resources but would provide district or school statistical
information about the overall use of resources, according to library
Library proposes digital library card numbers for area students | The Electric (

So it appears parents are once again left out of the loop with Great Falls
Public Library policy, since the library won’t forward individual student
records to the school districts. Did any of the local school districts
approve partnering with the library? I have yet to find that answer.

Unlike local “official” media, who much of the time appear to report as
if they are parroting a spoon-fed narrative, I am committed to dig for the
information that they fail to provide in their reporting.

So why didn’t The Electric include in their article the aforementioned
public library card policy change allowing 14-17 year olds to obtain
library cards without a parent or guardian’s signature, which was
approved at the same meeting as the proposed school district
partnerships The Electric covered? Did The Electric think it was not

Seems like Library Director McIntyre dropped the ball by failing to
ensure the library policy manual, the website and the library card
application are updated—tasks which I would guess are an integral part
of her job.

Perhaps she should spend less time “observing” at the
Cascade County Elections Office, as several volunteers there have
reported to me she’s been doing, and get back to the job she was hired to

Democrat And Family Connections In Effort To Delegitimatize GF Library Levy Election

There has been a near frantic effort in Great Falls by a small group of locals to not only delegitimatize the upcoming Great Falls Public Library mil levy election but to smear the duly elected Cascade County Elections administrator, Sandra Merchant.

There are a few facts which some local media outlets don’t seem to be interested in reporting but which are important and relevant to the issue in question.

Family Ties

One of the founders and main spokespersons for the recently formed Election Protection Committee, which was demanding the resignation of Merchant before she ran even one election in Cascade County, is Pete Fontana – brother of Democrat Rina Fontana Moore who lost her position to Republican Merchant in last November’s election.

In addition, the lawyer who was chosen by the library to represent them and has filed suit against Merhant’s office is Raph Graybill, son of Jessica Crist, a GFPL Board of Trustees board member.

Political Party Affiliations

Graybill is a progressive Democrat activist, former Governor Bullock legal staffer, and failed 2020 candidate for Montana Attorney General, losing in a near landslide to Austin Knudsen 42 to 58 percent.

Another founding member and vocal critic of Merchant is Jane Weber, former Democrat Cascade County Commissioner who resigned her seat in 2020. Democrat Don Ryan was appointed to Weber’s seat and then lost in 2022 to Republican Rae Grulkowski.

Another prominent member of the Election Protection Committee demanding Merchant’s resignation is far left Democrat activist Jasmine Taylor who lost elections for legislature and Great Falls city commission.


So family ties, progressive Democrats, and losing Democrat candidates seem to make up the bulk of the visible public opposition to the people’s choice for Cascade County elections supervisor.

Any concerns about Merchant’s competence or ability to run local elections, and there are legitimate questions and concerns, lose credibility when you look at the possible motivations and partisan history of the people attacking her.

It looks like the Election Protection Committee isn’t really interested in seeing successfully run elections – they seem more interested in spreading discord, mistrust, and havoc.

And that’s unfortunate.

Dead Man Downtown GF, Local Stabbing, Great Falls Public Library Threatens Legal Action, And More

Our weekly feature highlighting a few of the latest and most interesting local and national news items from various sources.

A deceased 29 year old man found outside in downtown Great Falls, from KRTV:

Man arrested for Great Falls stabbing last week, from FOX NonStop Local:

Great Falls Public Library threatens to take legal action against Cascade County over upcoming mil levy election, from The Electric:

‘Yellowstone’ ends it’s run this fall, from USA Today:

Cascade County Democrats Try, But Fail, To Stifle Free Speech

After a failed attempt by Cascade County Democrat officials, Jasmine Taylor (former/current precinct chair) and Helena Lovick (Vice Chair of the Cascade County Democratic Central Committee) to silence free speech in Great Falls, a local group opposed to the upcoming mil levy for the Great Falls Public Library, ‘Liberty and Values MT’, successfully amended their filing as an independent committee with the Montana Office of Political Practices.

A post on Taylor’s and Lovick’s blog using a ‘WTF 406 Staff’ byline states, “They named their new group The Liberty and Values Project. Upon hearing that news, WTF 406 looked to see if they registered the new name with the Secretary of State’s office. Turned out they hadn’t, so we did and notified them to quit using our registered business name.”

Below is the filing info for Liberty and Values MT. They do not have any financial reports posted as yet.

Follow The Money: Great Falls Public Library Mil Levy

The cover photo for this post was sent to E-City Beat earlier today.

As of this afternoon the ‘Liberty & Values MT’ group responsible for the Great Falls billboard was not found on the campaign electronic reporting search page.

‘Vote Yes For Libraries’, a Great Falls ballot issue committee campaigning in favor of a Great Falls Public Library mil levy increase, reported the following contributions and expenditures in their C-6 committee finance report filed 1/17/23.