KALISPELL, Mont. - The West Shore Community Library has over 1,600 books and six computers available to the public. It's often referred to as the hub of Lakeside.
Nearly 20-year volunteer Rosella Thompson has seen it grow out of someone's garage into a three-room library she says rivals any in the state. And there's a simple recipe for their success.
"Volunteerism is probably what keeps Lakeside going. We have a volunteer QRU unit, we have a volunteer fire department, we have a volunteer-run food bank and we have a volunteer-run library," Thompson said.
The library also has an outreach program that delivers books to those who can't visit the library.
And everything from the books to the computers and even the shelves is paid for by the people in the West Shore community.
"We still have to pay for the lights, we still have to pay for the rent, we still have to buy books. Even though we get a lot that are donated. So it takes us about $40,000 a year that we have to raise from the community," volunteer Lana Batts said.
Volunteers says the community realizes that's an investment for its future.
"This community recognizes that we don't want to live in a dumb community. We want to have a community that has access to books," Batts said.
"'Mom come and look at this book, mom come and look at this book,' and finally mom has this big huge stack of books and finally has to call a halt," Thompson said.
It’s worth all worth it to watch the community grow alongside its library.
"Watching the children grow, watching the library grow, knowing that what you're doing is meaningful in a way that you can actually see," volunteer Michelle Allegra said.
The West Shore Community Library has been running for over 20 years