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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kudos to Our Intern!

At the beginning of May, the Mississippi Library Commission was fortunate to welcome our intern, Misti Thornton, to our team. A graduate student with the University of Southern Mississippi's School of Library and Information Science, Thornton has spent the past three months assisting with an archival project at MLC. She'll graduate this fall with Master of Library and Information Science with a certificate in Archives and Special Collections. Her work with us fulfills her requirement for a 150 hour practicum for the certificate.

Thornton's project this summer involves scanning photographs from our archives into an accessible file and creating a corresponding finding aid. The pictures are of libraries and librarians from across Mississippi and date from the 1940s through the 2000s. Misti, who has no experience working in public libraries, finds the task particularly fascinating because many of the pictures are of such libraries. She says that with her love of history, she has really enjoyed poring over all the old pictures and noting the differences between then and now. She points to the days of segregated libraries as an example. "Those libraries had absolutely no funding and depended on donations to fill their collections. Their shelves were nearly bare, to say the least. Instead of having a set of encyclopedias, they might have two or three volumes from a set and donated books were very hit or miss as to topic. I can't imagine going into a library and not being able to get what I want!"

Examples of pictures scanned: (clockwise from top left)
Children and their parents visit the Clarksdale Public Library bookmobile,
children reading at the Amite Public Library, librarians processing books
at the Mississippi Library Commission, librarians using the card catalog
at the University of Mississippi's J.D. Williams Library
Misti also works full-time at the Rowland Medical Library at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She started with them in 2004 and has held several different positions. Working her way up the ladder, she is now assisting in their Archives Division.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stories from the Road: Grenada

Having lived in Memphis for many years, I've traveled I-55 more times than I can count. Grenada was the natural stopping place for potty breaks for my then young daughter, along with a much needed snack. I never really saw much of the town beyond the interstate corridor, though.

I recently had the chance to visit Grenada with my road companion, Lacy Ellinwood, a consultant here at MLC. Of course, you guys know me by now... any time there is mention of a road trip, I'm in. We decided to leave a bit early so we could have lunch at Spencer's Dairy Kream. It came highly recommended and was certainly a great spot. The peach milkshake alone was worth the drive.

Lacy Ellinwood (left) and Crystal Osborne (right)
After a delish lunch, Lacy and I headed over to the library (even though I was wishing I could take a nap!) We were met by Elizabeth Jones Library Director Crystal Osborne. This library has a very welcoming space which was still decked out in summer reading program decorations. It was filled with patrons and you could tell that the library is an important stop for many residents of Grenada.

We chatted for a long while with Crystal and learned some great stories about her history with the library. She worked there when she was younger and knew that someday she wanted to direct the mission of this important part of the Grenada landscape. She told us about some of the meaningful programming she is doing now at the library, including senior bingo events. Crystal said that events like these really mean a lot to members of the community. Keep up the great work Crystal, and thanks so much for the great visit. Keep a spot open for us at the bingo table; we want to play, too!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Meet MLC Monday: Shellie Zeigler

Meet Shellie Zeigler, Talking Book Services Director at the Mississippi Library Commission! She supervises seven staff in the TBS division, all of whom work to provide large print, braille, and talking books and magazines to patrons across the state. She also oversees TBS volunteers, who record local magazines and books by and about Mississippi and Mississippians. She gives presentations about TBS services, disability etiquette, and disability advocacy statewide to groups as diverse as librarians at public library staff development days, organizations that come to MLC to use the meeting room, and service groups like Rotary and Lions Clubs in local communities. (If you'd like to schedule a presentation with Shellie, you can contact her via email.) Innovative programs like the Postal Carrier of the Year (one of the few in the country) are also under her purview. Alongside these numerous tasks, Zeigler also serves on a slew of advocacy committees and groups. She is on the board of the Jackson ADA Advisory Council, a member of the Friends of Handicapped Readers, and works with the Talking Book Services Advisory Committee.

Shellie started at MLC in March of 2011. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Purdue in 1997 and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Oklahoma in 2002. She just finished Level 1 of the Certified Public Manager Program and has plans to complete Level 2 this fall. When asked what she most enjoys about her job, Zeigler replied, "I wasn't around many people with disabilities before I started this position. After working at MLC for a while--talking to people with disabilities, listening to people with disabilities, helping people with disabilities--I began to realize just how many obstacles people with disabilities face every day. It really reinforced my belief that everyone should have access to reading. I do my very best to make sure these individuals have the tools they need to access the world of words." This closely reflects the slogan of NLS, that all may read.

A lifelong library lover, Shellie says, "Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved libraries. I can't imagine a world without libraries." She says that her hometown library Bartholomew County Public Library was the place to be when she was growing up. "It's where you went to check out books, to meet boys, to get movies... It was the center of town." When she was older and finishing her BA, one of her coworkers was working on her MLIS. "It was as if the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine shone directly down on me. I don't guess I knew that was an option, to study to become a librarian. It was a beautiful day."

Zeigler loves to read. She says she always has one or two (or more) books going at the same time. She reads print books, but also enjoys audio books. Her favorite book of all time is Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.  Shellie says she'll try just about any genre--she's currently listening to Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove--but that she loves thrillers. "Anything with a good twist!" In the rest of her spare time, Zeigler likes going to spin class and has recently taken up yoga. She also likes a good TV show binge with shows like The Good Wife and Stranger Things. Recently, she has started reading galleys for a friend at Random House. She says that although it's unpaid, it's really fun to have her ideas and point of view taken into consideration.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Get "Read"y for the Mississippi Book Festival

Are you excited about the Mississippi Book Festival? We sure are! Not only is staff from the Mississippi Library Commission on the advisory board, MLC is a festival organizer for the second year in a row. This year's festival is going to be a blast and we have a very literary way for you to prep for the upcoming literary lawn party. Mississippi public libraries can check out any of our book clubs in a box for local book clubs through Mississippi Reads. Featured below are books available by a festival panelists and authors. 

Ever is a Long Time
W. Ralph Eubanks
Civil Rights I panel

Dispatches from Pluto
Richard Grant
Memoir panel
The Mississippi Experience/The Closing Chapter panel

The Scribe and The Resurrectionist
Matthew Guinn
Mystery and Thriller panel

My Dog Skip
North Toward Home
Willie Morris and His Books panel

Michael Farris Smith
Mississippi Noir panel

The Story of Land and Sea
Katy Simpson Smith
Historical Fiction panel

Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
Brad Watson
Southern Fiction Today panel

You can view the entire Mississippi Book Festival schedule here. See you August 20 and until next time, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Library Stories: Mississippi's Congressional District 3

The third congressional district of Mississippi covers a large area of central Mississippi and meanders from the Louisiana border on the west to the Alabama border on the east. The capital city of Jackson is a part of this district, along with the towns of Meridian, Starkville, and Natchez. This area is represented in Washington by Congressman Gregg Harper, a resident of Brandon, along with Senator Thad Cochran and Senator Roger Wicker.

Mississippi's 3rd Congressional District (in beige)
Over the last couple of months, I have shared some information about Districts 1 and 2; now you'll learn about the great LSTA projects going on in Congressional District 3! This group had one of my favorite projects, the LEGO Club at the Pike-Amite-Walthall Library System. This is a fantastic way for children to practice fine motor skills, to learn how to share, and to spend some time simply having fun. Just look at those faces!

In Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library branches, staff were able to install AWE Early Literacy Stations. These are very popular among young patrons and even many older children. The workstations contain literacy games, puzzles, and stories presented in a colorful, child-friendly format. These stations provide pleasurable and fun learning experiences for children and help them become life-long learners.

The funds distributed to libraries through LSTA grants are vital to successful programing in the communities across our state. Be sure to write your congressmen and senators to tell them how much you appreciate their support of federal funding for libraries. It really does make a difference! Soon we will travel to Congressional District 4 and learn about our final group of projects. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 15, 2016

MLC's Move to Ellis Ave.

In the summer of 1983 the Mississippi Library Commission began making plans to move to their new location at 1221 Ellis Avenue. This move would combine their two existing locations on West Capitol Street and at the Woolfolk Building into the Miller Center building. The new location increased space by approximately 11,000 square feet. This gave the agency more room for its collection since many of MLC’s books had been boxed and stored because of inadequate shelving space. This also enabled the agency to add more than 80,000 volumes within their existing shelving area. The poor condition of the West Capitol location was another factor considered in making the move. However, MLC’s Services for the Handicapped that was located in the Lions Building at 5455 Executive Place did not immediately move to the new location at Ellis Ave. The Miller Building provided a layout that allowed for future expansion of the stack area and featured an open-office area. The move began in August 1983 and was fully operational by October 1983.

MLC remained in their Ellis Ave. location until their new building was built in 2005. You can learn more about MLC's move to Ellis Ave. in volume 16 issues 3, 4, and 5 of the Packet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Join the MLC Team

Have you been searching for a job in the library field? Do you want to work with a great group of people who strengthen and advance libraries and library services in Mississippi? Look no further, my friend. We have the perfect job for you right here at the Mississippi Library Commission!

Projects Officer II, Special
Open until 7/26/2016
The incumbent is responsible for maintaining the agency's state and federal documents collection (print and digital). Work involves handling all aspects of print document collection, including cataloging; managing digital state documents and making them available for public use through agency website using specialty software; and participating in outreach. Click link to apply.

Projects Officer III, Special
Open until 7/21/2016
This is a professional Information Technology position within the Technology Services Division of the Mississippi Library Commission. Responsibilities will include projects that will involve a skill set of: Information Technology knowledge base, project planning, hardware/software management, training of groups, good communication skills; presentation skills a plus along with other duties as assigned. Click link to apply.

Librarian III
Open until 7/22/2016
Applicants must have a Master's Degree from an American Library Association (ALA) accredited four-year college or university in library science. Click link to apply.

Applications for all three positions must go through the Mississippi State Personnel Board. They are available online at each job opening page on their website.

We can't wait to have you working for us.
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