Library Excavations #12: Montana Prison News by Marc Fischer & Public Collectors

Half Letter Press

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Another new issue of Library Excavations for Summer 2020, this time diving into a prison-published newspaper from Montana.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Library Excavations continues to explore digital collections safely from home. The scans in this issue come from a digitizing effort by Montana State Library commissioned by The Internet Archive ( and uploaded by Joe Ondreicka. Montana Prison News began publication in 1962 and ended at an unknown date. The intro page of the April 1972 issue of M.P. News, explains: “The M.P. News is published monthly by the convicts of Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge, Montana with the permission of the Warden, Prison Administration and the Board of Institutions. The purpose is to permit the convicts the opportunity for self-expression; to provide a medium for discussion of their immediate and public problems; for the better understanding between convicts and the society; and lastly, to be, and tell it the way it is--constructively and informatively. The M.P. News does not, nor is it intended to reflect the views or opinions of the Board of Institutions of the Staff of the Montana State Prison.” The pages included here were chosen to reflect some content samples and emphasize the creativity in printing, type, prisoner writing, and page design.
Library Excavations is a project and publication series by Public Collectors that highlights and activates physical materials found in public libraries. Library Excavations encourages intensive browsing of paper and print resources, particularly those that are under-utilized, or at risk of being withdrawn and discarded. During the COVID-19 pandemic, excavations have moved to the digital realm of public storage. 
Dimensions: 5.5" X 8.5 in, 32 pages
Materials: Softcover book, full color photos


Half Letter Press

Half Letter Press is a publishing imprint and online store initiated by Temporary Services—Brett Bloom & Marc Fischer, who have published booklets as an element of their collaborative work since 1998. Half Letter Press was created to publish and distribute book and booklet length works by themselves and others, and to use this endeavor to build long-term support and expanded audiences for people that work creatively in experimental ways.