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Mary Bolles Chapman, teacher-librarian

Extension 2023

I am your friendly neighborhood book person and as such, I like to read—a lot.  As Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer puts it, I am a schemer whose life revolves around considering, then stacking my next reads so that I am never without a good book.  I want every child and young adult to have the opportunity to do the same.


Because of my love of reading and sharing, I went from rural Westby to Western Montana College (back in the day when it WAS its own entity) and graduated with my bachelor’s of science in secondary education with a major in English. 


I am also a person who desires the facts, the truth, about things—and so I search many places—and am successful a good deal of the time.  Making corrections in incorrect data and finding out more are just a couple of quirky passions I have.


Because of my love of research, that degree from Western was also stamped with a major in biology, and the Zella K. Flores cup (you would call it a trophy) was engraved with my name.  Two years later, that same love of research and science took me to Idaho State and work on my master’s in biological science with an emphasis in physiology.  As a graduate teaching assistant, I finally was able to work and share with students.


Marriage took over, and I moved to White Sulphur Springs, where I taught upper level English for eight years.  Children took over, and I moved back to eastern Montana where my husband, Eldon, was guidance counselor at Circle and Broadus.  Somewhere in this domestic time, someone suggested I volunteer at the high school library—and I was hooked—not just with books but the technology.  Back to Western (by this time, UMW) and on to certification in library science!  My very first position A. C. (after raising two boys to the state of semi-self-sufficiency—“A. C.” refers to “after childhood”) was here at Park City. 


After six years I missed teaching English full-time, so I turned in my contract here and struck off on my own.  It took a year but I landed my dream job at Adelphi Christian Academy in Billings, where I taught literature, speech, and composition at all levels, including Advanced Placement.  However, three years down the pike, the recession hit—the school folded—and I was getting too old for those one- and two-year waits:  if you know me well, you will smile when I say interview tables closely resemble torture chambers.  Ellis Perry at Rosebud School called me—he had grant monies to buy books and hire a teacher librarian but no takers.  After formalities, I was where I wanted to be, with a virtually unlimited book budget and a venue to restore and update.  In 2012 I received my master’s in reading from MSU-B during winter semester, gained tenure in the spring—and in the summer I got another phone call—this time from Park City.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I currently monitor or teach library/research skills and elementary keyboarding.