Meet Mary Rodgers Beal, Readers Advisor for Talking Book Services at the Mississippi Library Commission! Beal, who began at MLC in August of this year, already fills a number of important roles. She spends the majority of her time on the phone: she assists patrons with choosing books, accepts new BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) patrons and sets them up in the system, and explains how to use TBS's various services. She says that this makes it a perfect job for her because she gets to interact with a lot of different people from across the state, but all from the quiet of her office here in Jackson. "I like how much of an impact I make doing this job. So many of my patrons tell me that our service is their primary source of entertainment. They're extremely grateful." Beal also helps in various other capacities here at MLC, including filling in as back up Circulation Librarian and Front Desk Receptionist.
Mary Rodgers holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. She also has an Archives and Special Collections graduate certificate.She also attended MLC's last session of Librarianship 101 this fall.
Although this position at MLC is her first "official" library job, Beal has worked in and volunteered at libraries since she was a little girl. "I love libraries because they are always there, and yet they are always changing. I love how they adapt themselves to fit the demographics of the various communities they serve to best meet their needs," said Mary Rodgers. She also remarked on how you can see this change in terms of technological advances as well. "For example, in the last several years, TBS has moved from the old cassettes that they used to send out to digital cartridges, audio downloads, and mobile apps, like BARD. Libraries change and adapt to fit to the times."
Beal loves to read a variety of books, including mysteries, romance, and historical fiction. Her favorite author, though, is Jane Austen. The last book she read was Where'd You Go, Bernadette? When she's not reading, she likes to hang out with her dogs Lola and Pickles. She also loves to travel. Her favorite trip was a visit to London and Scotland when she participated in Dr. Welsh's British Studies program at USM.