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Monday, August 15, 2016

Meet MLC Monday: Margaret Smitherman

Meet Margaret Smitherman, Readers Advisor at the Mississippi Library Commission! Margaret is an integral part of the Talking Book Services department at MLC. She is part of the new patron intake process, creating a record and conducting a personal reading wish list questionnaire for each new patron using KLAS. Speaking with dozens of patrons each week, she hones these lists and making sure that each person is receiving the materials they want. Smitherman also provides hands on technical support for BARD, Braille and Audio Reading Download. Margaret is in a unique position to assist her patrons: she has been legally blind since birth. She was born with congenital cataracts, a condition that is usually successfully treated nowadays but wasn't when Margaret was born.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English with a minor in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Smitherman also completed MLC's Librarianship 101 and Librarianship 201 academies.

Margaret joined the MLC team in April of 2006 and says she has really enjoyed her ten years at the agency. "I love helping people. I love making a positive difference in another person's life, especially for these people who otherwise wouldn't be able to access books." She says that this is her dream job. "I like to live by example. I want to be an inspiration to those who think their life is over just because they can't see. I will not limit myself just because I can't see. I don't think anyone should." Libraries are an essential part to Smitherman's life at work and at home. "Libraries are for anyone to use, even someone who is blind, even someone who has a physical impairment. Anyone." She is passionate about reading and is a particular fan of hard science fiction and fantasy books. Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Sage is a favorite series, as well as Ursula K. Le Guin's books. When she isn't reading, Margaret spends her time creating beautiful beaded jewelry. She also likes container gardening. She lives with her husband and two cats in the Jackson metro area.

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