The Bitterroot Public Library will once again partner with Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in 2020 to offer community tours of RML, but with a new twist: quarterly evening tours will be available for the foreseeable future with the library managing sign ups. The first tour will occur March 12 with registration opening at the library February 12.
The quarterly arrangement grew from high community interest in RML shown last summer when the library organized eight separate tours hosting about 170 people.
“This sounds like a grand idea,” said Nansu Roddy, BPL Public Services Librarian, of the new quarterly tour arrangement. “What a wonderful community collaboration.” Roddy was instrumental in introducing RML community tours through the library in 2014. When she reinitiated the idea last year, both RML and the library were surprised by the overwhelming and positive response.
RML found the 2019 community tours to be so effective that lab staff asked if the library would offer them quarterly in 2020. Tours are planned for 20 people each quarter at 6 p.m. on March 12, June 11, September 10 and December 10. If interest exceeds the 20-person limit in a quarter, RML will attempt to add another tour. Registration opens one month before each tour date.
As in the past, tours last about an hour and cover the RML history and mission, with a look at the electron microscope section and the training facility for scientists who work in positive-pressure research suits. Questions are encouraged during the tour.
RML is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health. Research done by RML scientists – in Hamilton and across the world – focuses on helping develop new and improved diagnostic tests, therapeutics and vaccines for common and exotic diseases.
RML will continue offering separate tours to groups, such as schools, but will refer individuals and families in the community to the library to sign up. For more information about the tours and sign up registration dates, call the library at 363-1670.