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Thursday, December 20, 2018

On the Road with MLC: Lincoln, Lawrence, and Franklin Counties

Shellie Zeigler
Mississippi Library Commission
Library Consultant

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library System with Susan Liles, MLC's Public Relations Director. Our first stop was the headquarters library in Brookhaven. I was immediately struck by the gorgeous mid-century modern architecture and furnishings. The library is bright, open, and very welcoming. They even offer free coffee to their patrons, and for those who know me, this won my heart! The Friends of the Library were busy decorating holiday trees during my visit. Assistant Director Katrina Castelaw gave us a tour of this wonderful library. There was a new art exhibit area in the front lobby that included pieces loaned from the collection of local artist J. Kim Sessums, as well as a piece by Stephen Scott Young the library was able to purchase with funds acquired through the Mississippi Arts Commission's Dille Fund for Visual Art Acquisition. The adult reading area was appointed with four large overstuffed leather chairs. It would be difficult to drag yourself away once you started your favorite book or magazine.

We were able to visit the three other libraries in this system as well. Our next stop was Meadville, a very well organized branch with great signage. A beautiful quilt graced the wall of this delightful library, each square depicting a special landmark or area in the county.

The Monticello branch is a busy and much-loved library. Every single one of the public access computers was being used and people were busy checking out books and looking at magazines. One patron even stopped us to let us know she was a huge library supporter; she uses it not only for herself, but she brings her granddaughter on a weekly basis so she can check out books and take advantage of library programs too.

Our last stop was the library in New Hebron. It was the smallest of the system branches, but it was still bright and cheery with many patrons taking advantage of the computers and library materials.

One thing we noticed about the libraries in this system was that they all contained the work of local artists. It's a great way to expand the artistic literacy of the people living in these communities, as well as giving exposure to talented locals. If you'd like to know more about art in libraries, read this short piece from the American Library Association. 

What a great day this was! I am so grateful to Katrina and all of the staff members we met during our visit. Thanks for your hospitality!

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