Ann Marsh, Board Member at Large of the Mississippi Library Commission's Board of Commissioners, has been named chairperson of the board. She was appointed to the board three years ago by Governor Phil Bryant to fill the shoes of Dr. Russell Burns. Typically, the MLC Chairperson is the longest serving member and the person with the most experience. Mrs. Marsh notes that the Board's work is really a collaborative effort, especially with years such as this one with huge budget cuts made by the state. About her time on the Board, Ann says, "I've learned so much, about funding, personnel, decision making... We don't focus on just the Mississippi Library Commission. Our attention is on all the libraries in Mississippi: public, academic, school, and special libraries. We try to do our best, for MLC and for our Mississippi libraries."
Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Marsh obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Married 50 years this past summer, Ann and her husband lived in states from California to Maine before settling down in Mississippi 33 years ago. She says this gave them a great perspective on life because wherever they went, they met great people. Marsh spent several years as an elementary school teacher, but when a friend was hired as branch manager at the Northwest Point Reservoir Library in Brandon, she asked Ann to consider applying for a part-time opening at the branch. When that friend eventually left the Reservoir Library, Marsh was the obvious replacement. Twenty-six years later, she retired from her job as library branch manager that she said was "a wonderful experience."
"Many people think libraries are the purview of academia. That just isn't so. I see libraries as community centers and gathering places. They're for people who want a connection to the outside world. With the services that libraries provide--computers, storytime, wifi, research help, computer classes, what have you--we give people that opportunity to connect."
Marsh compares MLC to one of those connect-the-dot pictures kids like to do. "Our many public libraries across the state are the dots. MLC connects the dots; it's the line that makes sense of all the pieces and unifies them into a whole." Ann raves about MLC and her experience thus far on the Board, saying, "It's such a wonderful place to visit. The staff are all so professional and likeable; it's a pleasure to visit every other month."
Ann is just as active outside the library world as she is inside. She has quite the creativity streak and enjoys knitting and jewelry making, to name just a few of her artistic pursuits. She also loves to travel and recently made the trek to Yellowstone National Park.
The Mississippi Library Commission's Board of Commissioners comprises five members. Four members are appointed by the governor and one is the President of the Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs (or her appointee.) Of the four gubernatorial appointed members, two are appointed at large by the governor and two are chosen from a list presented to the governor by the Mississippi Library Association. Of the two chosen from MLA's list, one must be an active librarian and one must be an active board of trustees member of a Mississippi public library.