The portrait is of community leader and civil rights advocate Alma Smith Jacobs, who was the chief librarian in Great Falls for 20 years before becoming the first African-American woman to become the Montana State Librarian in 1973.
The portrait is of community leader and civil rights advocate Alma Smith Jacobs
The portrait is of community leader and civil rights advocate Alma Smith Jacobs, who was the chief librarian in Great Falls for 20 years before becoming the first African-American woman to become the Montana State Librarian in 1973.

Library officials say the Great Falls Public Library is getting a facelift.

Work started on a new mural Saturday on the building’s south-facing outside wall. The project is funded by the Great Falls Public Library Foundation, which has provided the library with resources through fundraising since 1968.

Foundation members say they believe the mural is a great addition to the Russell portrait on the downtown parking garage as developers continue to work on revitalizing the area.

The portrait is of community leader and civil rights advocate Alma Smith Jacobs, who was the chief librarian in Great Falls for 20 years before becoming the first African-American woman to become the Montana State Librarian in 1973.

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She started the bookmobile in 1956 and played a large role in the construction of the modern library in 1967. Members say they hope the portrait will bring attention to the library and it’s programs while also honoring an important community member.

“Being a librarian was very important to her, and she was very well-known and respected in this community, very inspiring,” said Great Falls Public Library Executive Director Kathy Mora.

Jacobs continued to fight for both library programs and civil rights in Montana until she passed away in 1997.

Foundation members say they expect the mural will be complete by Labor Day.

For more on Alma Smith Jacobs, visit http://montanawomenshistory.org/alma-smith-jacobs-beloved-librarian-tireless-activist/ .

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