The Howard and Betty Bjelland Permanent Book Fund

Linda Bjelland has created a Fund in memory of her parents.  The Howard and Betty Bjelland Permanent Book Fund will provide more than $1,000 annually to purchase large print books and audiobooks for the Montrose Regional Library.  She chose these formats because her father had macular degeneration in his later years, and depended on large print books to feed his love of reading.

The Bjellands moved to Montrose in 1949, when Howard was hired as an attorney by C.J. Moynihan.  He later served as City Attorney and Montrose County Judge and on the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.  His last position was as Chief Counsel for Colorado Ute Electric Association.

Books were always around the Bjelland household.  Linda recalls visiting the Montrose Library when Mary Townsend was the director.  By the time she was in fifth grade, she had read all the books in the children’s section, and had moved on to the adult section.  Mary spoke with Howard about whether he approved of Linda reading from the adult section, and he said, “If she understands it, then she’s old enough to read it.”

Betty loved to read.  She belonged to book clubs, and enjoyed mostly fiction, including mysteries and best sellers.  She was a big fan of Stephen King, an affinity that Linda doesn’t share, finding him creepy instead.  Although both Howard and Betty were frequent patrons of the Library, they also bought a lot of books.  When they had finished them, they would send them off to friends and relatives all over the country.

Howard loved science fiction, and Linda shares this passion.  When she was in college, he discovered J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings before its ascent to great popularity and suggested that Linda might like it, which she did.  Howard also read history and historical fiction, including all 2000+ pages of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill.

Howard passed away in 2007 and Betty died last year.  Linda created a Book Fund as a way to “recognize and remember” them, and she likes that the Fund keeps giving to the community.  “It’s not just a one-time flash in the pan,” she said.