Happy faces were everywhere at the 17th Food for Thought event held Thursday evening at the Billings Public Library. The night was filled with stimulating conversations from people across Billings and Montana. 

The event was held virtually for the past two years due to the pandemic. It was held in person this year, making it even more meaningful for people to be able to come together and meet others. Food for thought started on the second floor of the library, where guests could mingle with each other and enjoy a fine wine assortment and delicious appetizers.

The mayor of Billings and the president of the Billings Public Library Foundation, the organization that put on the event, made a few opening remarks thanking everyone for coming out to support the library. Guests took their seats at the assigned tables before dinner started at 7 pm.

Danell Jones, the president of the Billings Public Library Foundation, says this is their signature event of the year and loves that so many people look forward to Food for Thought as part of their summer highlights. She is happy that so many people support and invest in the library, the cornerstone of the Billings community. Her favorite part of the event is meeting others you would not have met before and gaining knowledge on a number of different topics. 

“It’s always a great conversation because you have an expert who engages, and you can ask them questions, but everybody takes part, so it’s really about everybody engaging in conversation with just the expert there to provide some knowledge and background information,” Jones said. 

Billings Mayor Bill Cole says Food for Thought is a great event for community members to come together, have a great conversation and support the efforts of the library and the foundation. This year, fundraising from the Food for Thought event will go towards building express lockers in the Lockwood community so others will have access to Billings Public Library books and resources at their convenience.

“Many people don’t realize that the Billings Public Library is not just the city library; it’s the county library. Roughly a quarter of the funds from the Billings Public Library comes from a county-wide mill levy,” Cole says. So the library is everybody’s library. And it will be great to support our friends in Lockwood with these lockers.”

The lockers have been well received in the Billings community and are great for people who may not have time to come to the library. Roughly 60 to 70,000 dollars are needed for the lockers, and the funds from Food for Thought are a big step in reaching that goal.