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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.

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