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Friday, January 25, 2019

On the Road with MLC: Jackson George Regional Library System

Creative communities have a different feel, like something exciting is about to happen at any moment. I've always gotten that feeling when I visit Ocean Springs. It is so picturesque and quaint, with its streets lined with galleries and eateries, that I get swept up in the atmosphere of the place. Recently I had the chance to travel to this lovely community with two of my colleagues, MLC Consultants Shellie Zeigler and Louisa Whitfield-Smith. We met up with Lori Barnes, Jackson-George Regional Library System Director, and several of her qualified staff at one of the charming eateries along the oak-lined main street.

After a lively discussion and a hearty lunch, we headed out to the St. Martin branch to see the new teen area funded by an Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) LSTA grant. St. Martin is a fast-growing community in Jackson County with a population of almost 8,000. With a highly rated school system, it is the perfect community for families.

When we arrived at the St. Martin Library, we were greeted by Branch Manager Meg Henderson; she was ready to show us around her wonderful library. As we headed inside, Meg was proud to show off a community garden space filled with edible greens. What a great way to promote healthy eating habits to members of the community! The project has also allowed the library branch the opportunity to partner with the MSU Extension Service and the Pine Belt Master Gardeners.

The branch was filled with activity when we moved inside. The new teen area was easy to spot and we immediately gravitated that way. It turned out to be a fun, lively space to engage teens in reading and studying. There were computers designated for teen use, along with a table for studying that users are encouraged to use as notepads. This library tries hard to instill a love of libraries in their youth and it's definitely working!

At the back of the library, a large public computer area was filled with patrons. This is a well-used library with very knowledgeable staff who are filled with creative ideas.

With one last quick word, we made our way to the door for the ride home. Filled with a great lunch and lively conversation about all-things-library, we hit the road north for Jackson. Special thanks to Lori Barnes and all the great folks with Jackson-George Regional Library System for a perfect day. They dropped some tantalizing tidbits about programs and such going on at their other branches. We can't wait for them to invite us back for another consulting visit!

1 comment:

  1. The Pine Belt Master Gardeners started donating our salad tables to to Mississippi libraries in 2014 and would be happy to donate salad tables to other libraries.


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