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Monday, August 29, 2011

Fred Who? Fred Meebo!

Who is Fred anyway? Could this man be Fred?
 A curious Meebo patron asked us if the Fred who appears in the Fred's SuperDollar commercials is the eponymous Fred who started the discount retail chain. After a little digging, I am saddened to report that he is not. I found an article from 2010 that states:
Besides changing the faces of hundreds of Fred's stores, the company is changing the face of Fred himself. Well, sort of.
The company revived a 1990s "Fred" character for new in-store promotions and on-site events. The new Fred is a neighborly, older gentleman. However, much like the "Wilson" character from "Home Improvement," Fred hides his face somewhere between his fishing hat and cardigan sweater.
I did learn one neat nugget. Fred's began life in Coldwater, Mississippi in 1947. How's that for Mississippi entrepreneurship?!

Concord Mansion Meebo Request.

Last night we received an interesting Meebo request from someone looking for photographs of Concord Mansion in Natchez, which burned in 1901. Luckily for the patron and myself, there are several good photos available online.

The Preservation in Mississippi blog has a good image of the house from a postcard:

That blog post also includes the text of an article about the house fire from the March 21, 1901 Natchez Democrat.

Several other images are available on this blog about Old New Orleans:

And this one, taken in 1940 of all that remained:

That blog post also includes the text from the New York Times article about the fire.

Meebo patron, I hope this is what you were looking for! Please let us know if you need more information. You can Meebo us again, email us at, or call us at 601-432-4492!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MLC Tech News.

A few weeks ago, I attended a fantastic library conference -- and before you ask, "Is that an oxymoron?" let me tell you: it is rare that each and every session of any conference, library or no, appeals to your interests. But the Mid-South eResources Symposium and the MSU Emerging Technologies Summit (held back to back on a Thursday and Friday) were just fantastic!

The most interesting thing I learned seems kind of obvious, but I hadn't heard it explicitly stated before: if your product isn't available through a mobile device, you're dead in the water. If you can't access a library's catalog on an iPhone, people aren't interested. Sometimes it's difficult to see things as a non-librarian, but yeah, I agree.

To that end, I'm excited to announce two things: one, that you can download the iLib2Go app for iPhones and search MLC's collection! While I have no information on when it will be available for Android, the app is free for Apple products. Once loaded, you choose your library, and off you go. If you log in, you can reserve books, see what items you have checked out, etc. I know I'm a library nerd, but I think it's pretty cool. I did a test run and reserved Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. When I returned to work from the conference, the book had been pulled for me and was waiting on my desk! Service!

The second thing is that you can now text us your questions. We have a special text-only phone number, 601-208-0868, and encourage you to use it! (If you're a librarian and are curious, it's free through Google Voice. I have a how-to I can send you.) We plan to put the number on all of our study tables so that if our patrons have a question while in the stacks -- "Hey, did my article print?" "Where are the books on Pomerarians?" -- they can stay put and get their answers fast.

We're very excited to join the 21st century in these two exciting ways.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adult Summer Library Program Winners Announced

The statewide drawing for the awarding of prizes for “Novel Destinations,” the Adult Summer Library Program, was recently held at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC). Winners were selected from participants of the Adult Summer Library Programs at 14 participating public library systems. The names were drawn by MLC’s Executive Director Sharman B. Smith while Consultant Barbara Price recorded the results.

The following are the winners’ names and prizes: Tracy Englert, The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal & Forrest County Library System won the Imperial Palace (IP) Casino and Resort in Biloxi’s - weekend stay; dinner for two at the impressive tien restaurant and a $100 Senses Spa & Salon certificate and Amy Dahl, Jackson-George Regional Library System also won an Imperial Palace (IP) Casino and Resort weekend stay in a luxurious standard room and dinner for two at tien; Nena Seiler, First Regional Library System won Bally’s Casino – Tunica in Robinsonville’s one-night, one room, hotel stay for two; the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi’s dinner for two at Vibe went to Scarlet Gassord, South Mississippi Regional Library System; Beth Jenkins, Sunflower County Library System, was the recipient of the Isle Capri Casino-Hotel in Biloxi’s two-night stay and two free buffets; Diamond Jack’s Casino in Vicksburg one-night stay and two dinner buffets was awarded to Barbara Harper, Yazoo Library Services; Sylvia Epperly, Lee-Itawamba County Library System, name was drawn for the Resorts Casino –Tunica in Tunica Resorts for two guests, one-night stay; Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg’s two guests, one-night stay, $40 certificate at Rocky’s and $10 GoPlay certificate went to Jessie McCarty, East Mississippi Regional Library System; Nanette Murphree, Hancock County Library System, won the two-night stay and dinner for two at The Great Buffet of Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino – Tunica in Robinsonville and Sue Weiger, Columbus-Lowndes Library System, was the recipient of the Silver Dollar Hotel & Casino – Pearl River Resort’s one night stay and buffet for two at Chef’s Pavilion.

As an added incentive to this year’s Adult Summer Library Program, nine Mississippi casinos donated prizes to adults who participated in the programs. The values of the prizes ranged from $100 to $430, and included free nights stay at the hotels, meals, and spa services. “Novel Destinations,” was the theme for the Adult Summer Library Programs. Each library system or branch provided different types of programs around the theme and many awarded local prizes in addition to the statewide prizes. All adults were eligible to participate; however, to be eligible to win a statewide prize, you had to be 21 years of age or older.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Librarian Karma!

Yesterday afternoon, a patron came in looking for a copy of The Help. While we have four copies (and a ten-copy set available for public libraries to use for their book discussion clubs), all of them are checked out at the moment. But because my patron has come in before and I knew her, I offered to loan her my personal copy, which I happened to have in my office.

“You’re so sweet!” she said.
“No, I’m a librarian,” I replied. As I smiled, a shiny reflection bounced off my tooth and there was a "ding!" sound in the air.

Today while at the reference desk, my patron came back with the book. “I’m done!” she said. (She was kidding.) She had a post-it stuck in the book to mark her place. “Turn to the bookmark and read the third sentence,” she said.

I turned to the page, and there sat a crispy $20 bill that I had apparently stuck in the book and forgotten about! While it was my money all along, it still felt like I was being rewarded for my small good deed. I'm now fighting the urge to run around the library handing out my copies of various books to the patrons.

If you haven’t yet read The Help but are dying to know the story, the movie opens nationwide today!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Picture Can Lead to One Thousand Words

Lillie Mae Walkup 1904
A few days ago, one of our Twitter followers asked if we could track down people.  Why, of course we can! Well, we can sure try. The young lady in question is a Miss L. M. Walkup from Florida. After seeing her in a class graduation picture--the only female to graduate from the Atlanta College of Pharmacy in 1904--our patron's curiosity was peaked. Mine was, too. How much is it possible to learn about someone from 100 years ago? Someone, that is, to whom my patron and I have no connection and therefore no way to gain any useful family anecdotes? Peruse the following and watch a snapshot form, all from census, military, and death records.

Miss L. M. Walkup's father was Henry C. Walkup. He was born in December of 1842. When he was 17, in May of 1861, he enlisted in Company B of the North Carolina 26th Infantry Regiment. Mr. Henry would've seen action in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and most horrifically, Pennsylvania. After seeing the atrocities of war at Gettysburg, Private Walkup was mustered out in December of 1863 due to an injury.

In the 1870 census, Henry is living in Sharon, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina with his wife Nannie, their five month old son, Robert, and their servant, Nancy Johnson. Henry has already become Dr. Walkup. (I suppose he was busy studying between 1863 and 1870.)

By 1880, Henry and Nannie have moved to Pineville in Mecklenburg County. Robert is no longer with the family (poor baby), but there are three other little boys and a girl all under the age of ten. Luckily, Henry's mother Dorcas and unmarried sister Julia are living with them. One hopes they helped Nannie with the children!

Little Miss Lillie Mae Walkup first appears with her twin sister Rosa L. on the Florida State Census in 1885. They are three years old and the youngest in a still growing family then consisting of their father the physician, their mother, and their sister and four brothers. The family lived in the small community of McIntosh, located south of Gainesville on Orange Lake. The family moved to there from North Carolina between 1880 and 1882.

At some point between 1888 and 1893, Mrs. Nannie T. Walkup went to her great reward. Her husband, Dr. Henry C. Walkup, remarried in 1893 to a woman named Ida H. (With absolutely no reason other than the fact that I like the name, I have decided "H" stands for "Hortense." What do you think?)

By the 1900 U.S. Census, sixteen-year-olds Lillie Mae and her twin Rosa were the oldest children in the household. Their younger siblings, Adam and Mary, went to school with them. Their father Henry worked as a druggist and physician and their step-mother Ida took care of the family. Miss Lillie Mae attended Atlanta College Pharmacy for two years and graduated in 1904. She was the class secretary and treasurer. After this, she returned to her family in McIntosh, Florida. Unfortunately, this was the last time I ran across her twin sister. (She has become my new obsession; I wonder what happened to her.)


By 1910, Lillie Mae's father Henry is presumably deceased. Her step-mother is living off her "own income" but several of her step-children are living with her. Lillie is a practicing druggist and her brother Adam is a physician. (Chips off the old block!) John and Samuel are merchants at a general store. Mary lives with them, too, but is unemployed.


By 1920, brother Samuel has left home, married, and started his own family. (They still live in McIntosh, though.) John is married and living in North Carolina; he runs a shoe store. Lillie and Adam are still practicing in their respective chosen fields and Mary is training to be a nurse. These three youngest "children" still live at home with Momma. According to draft registration cards, Samuel had blue eyes, black hair, and was of medium build and height. I wonder if they all had the same coloring.


By 1930, John has moved back to McIntosh with his wife Lucy. They have four children. Samuel still lives there with his wife Elizabeth and their four children. Adam was married in 1921 to a woman from Kentucky named Edna. He works as a physician on the railroad and also does some private practice. The couple lives in St. Augustine, St. John's County, Florida and has no children. Adam is also listed as a WWI veteran. (Samuel and John did not serve. I suppose they were too old and/or had too many children.)

The two unmarried sisters, Mary and Lillie Mae have moved to (guess where) St. Augustine, Florida!  Mary is an RN on private duty and Lillie Mae is a pharmacist at a retail drug store. They share a home on the same street as their brother. Step-Momma Walkup passed away in 1922 in St. John's County. It seems as if she must have moved there to be with her step-children.

Beyond 1930

Lillie Mae and Mary live together until at least 1934, according to city directories. By 1945, Lillie Mae has moved to Daytona Beach in Volusia County and lives alone. She passed away in 1952, when she was about 69 years old.

I agree with our patron--Lillie Mae Walkup was a fascinating individual. In 1910, less than 25% of women were "gainfully employed." Females only made up about 5% of the professional work force in Florida then. More than 85% of those professional women in 1910 were musicians, music teachers, school teachers, and trained nurses. In that day and age, she decided to enter a profession that was nearly absent of women. She was obviously very close to her family. I wonder how much her father's experiences in the Civil War influenced his children's career goals. She must have enjoyed her profession, too. She was a pharmacist for at least thirty years. That's some serious dedication!

I hope you enjoyed learning what you can discover in easily accessible historical documents. Remember, the Mississippi Library Commission offers free access to Ancestry Library Edition in the building. Another great goodie? Once you have applied for and received your MLC library card, you are eligible to receive access to our subscription to Heritage Quest for free!
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