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Friday, March 13, 2020

Just the Facts, Ma'am.

coronavirus pictured as tan balls with red triangles sticking out all over
The coronavirus has officially made it to Mississippi, but panic is not the answer. What is COVID-19, you ask? That's a fair question. COVID stands for COronaVIrus Disease, first identified in 2019. It spreads easily from person-to-person. You can learn more about it from the CDC. Be wary of where you get your news about the virus. Fake news is real, but you can combat it by becoming a regular fact checker.

What should I do?
The thing about COVID-19 is that it isn't necessarily about keeping yourself from getting sick, but keeping other people from getting sick and the virus from spreading. This is known as flattening the curve, and social distancing is the best way to make that happen.

If you have an essential job and have to go out in public, remember to keep your hands away from your face, cover your face when you cough and/or sneeze, and wash your hands after you use the toilet, touch your face, and cough and/or sneeze.

As of this post, the Mississippi Library Commission remains open to the public. We have postponed our upcoming continuing education workshops for the month of March. Keep an eye on your public library's social media feeds as well as our own for up-to-date information.

A librarian's suggestion
This is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Many Mississippi public libraries offer digital and audio books and magazines through services like Overdrive, hoopla, and RBdigital. Check your library's website or call them up to see what they offer. Find your library here.

You may also want to try some of those bucket list items you've been meaning to get to. Want to learn a new language? See if your library offers Mango Languages or Rosetta Stone. How about tracing your family tree? Your library may have a subscription to Ancestry or Heritage Quest.

Above all, remain calm and read on.


March 13, 2020 Update!

Due to the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, the Mississippi Library Commission will be closed to the public beginning March 16, 2020 until further notice. Please note that staff will still be available Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM, via the following methods:

Fax: 601-432-4476
Phone: 1-800-647-7542
Text: 601-208-0868

We will be ready to answer reference and library questions, help with Talking Books, and fill interlibrary loan and regular loan requests. You will still be able to pick up books via our new curbside service


March 16, 2020 Update! 

Refer to this handy spreadsheet for Mississippi public library temporary closings due to the coronavirus:

Monday, March 2, 2020

Meet MLC Monday: Brian McGee

Meet Brian McGee, Facilities Maintenance employee at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC)! He helps clean, maintain, and beautify MLC's building and grounds, as well as assisting with any repairs that are needed.

center left an african american man stands next to some sort of equipment center right text says meet brian mcgee Libraries give people opportunities to do things like find jobs and explore the world of reading 3 small pictures of MLC grounds are at top and bottom

Brian started working at MLC in February and says that he enjoys learning new skills here. He also likes the easygoing relationship he has formed with his supervisor that allows him to do the job he was hired to do.

Brian finds libraries very helpful for researching. He also says, "Libraries give people opportunities to do things like find jobs and explore the world of reading." When he's not at MLC, he enjoys being around family and friends.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Mississippi's Star Libraries

Recently the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) named 12 library systems as Mississippi Library Stars for FY 2018. The concept of Library Stars is based on the national professional magazine, Library Journal. The publication separates library systems into categories by expenditures that they report on the annual Public Library Statistics report that is submitted to the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Mississippi Library Star ratings are then calculated by comparing libraries in the following areas:
  • Mississippi Measures, an amalgamation of ILL, statewide database use, number of registered users, and items withdrawn. Mississippi public libraries are required to report on these items annually as part of the Mississippi Public Library System Accreditation Program since they represent nationally recognized standards in library service. Additionally, some of these measures are provided to all public libraries and do not represent a cost to individual libraries.
  • Circulation per capita
  • Total program attendance per capita
  • Public Internet terminal uses per capita
MLC has awarded Mississippi Library Stars to the three highest-scoring library systems in each of four expenditure categories. Mississippi Library Stars go to the following libraries for their performance in Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018):

Up to $300,000 Expenditure Category
smiling woman holds star recognition certificate for union county library system

smiling man holds a certificate of recognition for east mississippi regional library system
smiling woman holds a certificate of recognition for judge george w armstrong library

smiling woman holds a certificate of recognition for columbus lowndes public library system

smiling woman holds a certificate of recognition for northeast regional library system

smiling woman holds a certificate of recognition for jackson george regional library system

smiling woman holds a certificate of recognition for lincoln lawrence franklin regional library system

The winning libraries received a certificate and a Mississippi Star Library star to feature on their website. Watch our social media platforms for local coverage highlights. Congratulations to the winners for all their hard work!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Meet MLC Monday: Kristen Hillman

Meet Kristen Hillman, Patron Services Librarian in Talking Book Services (TBS) for the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC)! Kristen has been working at MLC for just over a month. She assists patrons with searching for books, as well as providing support with digital book players, assisting the TBS circulation department, and attending and coordinating outreach events.

Kristen holds a bachelor's degree in Secondary English Education from The University of Mississippi and spent three years as a 9-12th classroom teacher. She also holds her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Prior to coming to MLC, she worked for two years as a Youth Services Librarian at the Pearl Public Library.

The people are part of Kristen's favorite part of working at MLC. "Getting to assist the patrons in finding the right book for them is my favorite part of the job." She also notes that MLC has supported her in her career as a librarian with workshops and other training. She feels honored to be able to assist others on the same path by leading the same types of trainings and workshops. Kristen led her first training, the SLP Early Literacy Workshop, on January 22.

She has a long history with libraries; they've been important to her since she was little. "When I was a child, my mom would bring me to the public library to select books and movies each week. Without that early start, I do not think I would enjoy reading as much as I do now. I believe that libraries are essential to the early development of the children we serve as well as providing occupational and educational assistance to adults and fun programs for all ages"

Kristen loves to read. Her favorite books are actually book series: The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. She also enjoys the classics, such as works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Mary Shelley. She admits to an obsession with Henry VIII and his six wives, especially Anne Boleyn, and loves to read about them. The last book she read was Julia Fox's Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile, a non-fiction book about the life of Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and her sister, Juana of Castile.

When Kristen isn't absorbed by the library life and reading, she likes gardening, kayaking, traveling, and playing video games. She bakes some of the finest chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat and she likes to eat them while lazing around on the couch with her two dogs, Foxy Brown and Mikey.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

University Press of Mississippi Starts 50th Anniversary with Cake at the Mississippi Library Commission

logo for university press of mississippi stylized u p m and 50
Steve Yates
Associate Director, UPM

The University Press of Mississippi (UPM) turns 50 in 2020. Founded in 1970, UPM is the only university press and the largest publisher of any kind in Mississippi. Its twenty employees work on the fifth and third floors of the Paul B. Johnson Tower diagonally across campus from the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC). The press began with two employees publishing seven books in its first year. In 2020 it will publish eighty-five new books. UPM is proud to represent the people of Mississippi and its eight sponsoring state universities.

Friday, January 24 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., the press will sponsor cake and giveaways at the MLC, and an array of food trucks will be on campus selling food as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Welcome to the World of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the many reasons I enjoy working at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) as a Reference Librarian is the constant flurry of information that finds its way across my desk. There's always something new to learn, no matter how much I think I know about a subject. We receive more questions about certain areas than others, so my knowledge about genealogy and Mississippi history, for instance, have burgeoned in comparison to my knowledge about, say, pop icons. (Sorry, BeyoncĂ©!) The 91st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth is today, January 15, and the  official observance of the day is Monday the 20th, when MLC will be closed. I realized that I have learned a lot less about Dr. King's life and work than I have our homegrown Mississippi civil rights icons, like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vernon Dahmer, and Anne Moody. I hustled myself to the shelves!

MLK bust posed with 5 books about MLK on a shelf

These are just a few of the many books and resources I found here at MLC to check out and peruse:
Sometimes I want more than just a book, funny as that may seem for a bookworm, so I decided to browse the Library of Congress's website to see what they have. Y'all. I stumbled across this half-hour documentary called A Time for Freedom. It's about the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom and features the first King speech to a national audience, the Give us the Ballot speech. Dr. King appears at the 24:07 mark.

They have even more interesting entries about this inspiring leader, so be sure to take a look at their catalog here. You're going to want to check out these excellent Internet resources as well.
I hope you've enjoyed this quick dip into the world of resources libraries offer about Dr. King. There are events planned across the state for Monday, so check with your local library or chamber to find out what's on tap. There's even free admission at the Two Museums January 18-20! Happy birthday, Dr. King!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Holiday of a Lifetime

What do you get when two state agencies partner to host a holiday event? Holiday of a Lifetime!
The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) recently partnered with the Mississippi Film Office (MFO) to screen the Lifetime holiday film Christmas in Mississippi at three of the state's libraries.

The partnership came about when Library Consultant Louisa Whitfield Smith brilliantly reached out to Nina Parikh with MFO to see if there was some way to show off Mississippi communities that go all out during the holidays. Christmas in Mississippi was filmed in Gulfport in 2017, and highlighted the annual event Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival. Featuring an all-star cast, the feel-good Lifetime Channel holiday movie even addressed the challenges of dealing with the aftermath of a devastating hurricane and the resilience of Mississippi coastal residents. It is hoped that this partnership will serve as an opportunity to secure another Lifetime Channel holiday movie that will be filmed in the state

The three Mississippi libraries that agreed to participate were the Canton Public Library, the Laurel Jones County Library, and the Columbia-Marion County Public Library. MLC worked with library staff to create special promotional graphics, and facilitated a community question and answer time  about what makes their town special during the holidays that was held after the film screenings.

The Canton Historic Courthouse on the Square
Madison County Library System Director Tonja Johnson and her team were excited to showcase their lovely town decked out for the season. They partnered with Canton Tourism and used it as an opportunity to draw visitors into local businesses by offering discounts from participating merchants. The film was shown in beautiful Canton Historic Courthouse located on the square.

The Laurel-Jones County Library was decked out for the holidays!

A large group of kids from Laurel enjoyed the screening.

The community of Laurel has experienced a great deal of notoriety since the HGTV show Home Town began and the library has been a bustling place ever since! This booming community makes the holidays a very special time for their residents, and the library is no exception. Popcorn and warm apple cider made watching the film an even more enjoyable experience.

Showtime at the Laurel-Jones County Library

The Marion County community of Columbia was the third location for a film screening. Called the "Most Magical Christmas Town in Mississippi," Columbia goes the extra mile when it comes to getting into the holiday spirit. Train rides, ice skating rinks, and visits with Santa himself are all a part of this fun and festival holiday treat. The film was shown at the Marion Theater and a community gathering was held afterward at the Marion County Development Partnership offices.

Nina Parikh with the Mississippi Film Office capturing the beauty of Columbia all decked out for the holidays.

Special thanks to MFO for partnering with MLC to celebrate the holidays by bringing families together and to the libraries that participated in the fun and festive film screening.
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