Pie connection: Recipe book inspired by longtime library supporter

2013-02-25T00:00:00Z 2013-02-25T11:17:04Z Pie connection: Recipe book inspired by longtime library supporterBy SUSAN OLP solp@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Arlie Lane would be pleased with the new pie recipe book compiled to raise money for the Havre-Hill County Library.

Lane, a longtime supporter of the Havre library, loved to read books, especially cookbooks, and she helped organize an annual pie social to help the public library thrive.

She died a year ago. But the Friends of the Havre-Hill County Library, which she helped found, continued the Annual Valentine's Pie Social tradition in her honor this year.

The group also published a second pie recipe cookbook, “A Second Helping of a Slice of Delight,” to raise money for the library. The 2003 book, “A Slice of Delight,” was Lane’s idea.

The second book included the pie for which Lane was best known.

“Mom made a fabulous strawberry-rhubarb pie — a taste of sweet summer and soft sunshine on a cold winter’s day,” wrote Lesley Butler, Lane’s daughter, in the cookbook.

Butler, who lives in Billings, designed the cover of the cookbook and contributed some thoughts about her mother.

“My mom read cookbooks like most people read fiction,” Butler wrote. “I can see her now, sitting in her blue chair in the corner of the living room, poring over her latest magazine’s pages of recipes.”

In an interview, Butler said both her parents were avid readers and that love was passed down to her and her two sisters.

“We love to read, all three of us are great readers,” she said.

Lane worked in libraries, volunteered at libraries and helped raise money for libraries. She was a cataloger, a secretary, a member of the library board and helped out however she could.

“She was always trying to raise funds for the library because like a lot of places, they don’t often get what they need,” Butler said.

Bonnie Williamson, retired director of the library, remembered Lane as a tireless advocate of the library.

“She was a very resourceful person who worked at any angle to save money and spread the book budget and volunteer,” she said. “She also worked her heart out for the pie social.”

Lane told Williamson that if a group of ladies baked and sold slices of 60 pies at a social and raised $1,100 to $1,500 in four hours, she considered it a great success. Lane also liked to see people get together to enjoy a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

“She was just one of the nicest people you would ever meet,” Williamson said.

Raela Hulett, chair of the pie recipe cookbook, said Lane introduced her to pie making.

“She asked me to donate a pie one day, and I’d never made a pie in my life,” Hulett said.

Lane was also the reason that Hulett joined Friends of the Library.

Hulett, who helped Lane with the original “Slice of Delight,” came up with the idea to do a second edition not long before Lane died in February 2012.

“At the next meeting, I suggested we do a sequel and dedicate it to her and everybody jumped on it,” Hulett said.

Over the years, the money from the pie socials and the cookbooks has helped buy computers for the library and board books for the library’s young readers program, as well as helped fund the Montana Shared Libraries' E-reader program. The group also sponsors two reading events a year, a winter adult reading program and a family reading program in the summer.

Friends of the Library also bought furniture for the library’s community room, which helped the library remain a vital place in the community.

Butler, in her cookbook musings about her mother, wrote that Lane would be “so very pleased and enormously flattered” to be remembered in the cookbook.

“And were she still with us, she would take this cookbook, sit in her blue chair in the corner of the living room, pore through its pages with delight and think about trying each and every recipe.”

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