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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Good-bye, Jane Smith

Jane Smith (left) with Sharman Smith (right)
When Jane Smith retired from the Mississippi Library Commission in 2010, our farewell to her read in part, "her passion is libraries and her love is books." She has been an integral part of the library community in Mississippi for a very long time.

From left to right: Ethel Dunn, Glenda Tilson, Jane Smith, and Sharman Smith
Smith started at MLC as a Library Consultant March 1, 1980. She held a variety of positions and titles in the thirty years she worked with us, including Library Consultant Supervisor, Acting Assistant Director for Library Development, Assistant Director for Library Development, Deputy Director, Director of Public Services, and Acting Director of the Mississippi Library Commission. (She held this last position not once, but twice.) Jane was also the 2006 MLA Peggy May Award winner.

Farewell party with Tracy Carr (left) and Jane Smith (right)
In 1992, she was key in securing $10 million in bond funding for public libraries This was ths first time the Mississippi Legislature had approved such funding for public libraries. It led to 100 new and newly renovated public library buildings in the state.

Smith was the person who contacted Senator Gray Ferris about developing a statewide collection of databases for use by public libraries. Ferris thought it was a great idea and academic, public, and school libraries joined forces to get legislative support. The end result was MAGNOLIA, which is still in use today. Other states followed Jane's and Mississippi's lead and began offering statewide access to databases.

Jane passed away yesterday morning, January 26, 2016, in Jackson, Mississippi. There will be no formal funeral service, but a celebration of her life will be held soon. MLC Executive Director Susan Cassagne said, "She was a presence. She was always fair and ready to listen. She was an integral part of the MLC family for many years; she will be missed. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers."

The Packet April/June, 2009.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Meet MLC Monday: Lawrence Smith

Meet Lawrence Smith, Patent Librarian at the Mississippi Library Commission! Along with patents, Mr. Smith also handles trademarks, copyrights, and documents. He's been working at MLC for twenty years, starting with the agency when they were at their Ellis Avenue location and moving with them to their new building on Eastwood Drive in 2005.

"I love my job. When you can give a customer what they want, it makes them feel good and then you feel good."

"A lot of people call around to companies first and get quoted big fees. Then they call MLC. They're always surprised that we're free, plus we offer hands-on service. I like when people discover the Mississippi Library Commission. They go through the process of applying for a copyright or a trademark or a patent and they do it all themselves. It makes them feel good about themselves."

Mr. Smith enjoys reading books on business and entrepreneurship. He's also a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The First American Novel

Picture from The Library of Congress
The Power of Sympathy; or, The Triumph of Nature by William Hill Brown is considered by many to be the first American novel. It was published in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 21, 1789, by Isaiah Thomas. The novel is written in epistolary form and is based on actual events; however, it is classified as a work of fiction. The novel is meant to promote moral rectitude, mainly among women, and reflect the danger of yielding to sexual temptations and the rewards of abstinence.

William Hill Brown was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in November of 1765. At the age of 24, Brown published The Power of Sympathy anonymously. There were several ideas as to the author of this novel, but Brown's niece confirmed that he was definitely the author in 1894. Brown also used the pseudonym "Columbus" for many of his other writings, which were published in the Massachusetts Magazine and the Journal. In 1792, Brown moved south to Murfreesboro, North Carolina, to study law. In August of 1793, malaria struck the area and Brown fell ill. He passed away September 2, 1793, at the age of 27. His literary career was carried on by his aunt (the half-sister of his father's second wife), Catharine Byles.

There has been much debate as to whether or not The Power of Sympathy was actually the first American novel. What do you think?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Book Club Kit Titles Available

I just wanted to let you all know about some new Book Club Kits that are available through MLC. These kits were made possible through the Mississippi Library Leadership Institute Extension Project. 

The first sets of kits available are in our Literary Landscapes Collection. These kits feature works set all over the world. Each title is also a feature film! We did not purchase the feature films, but you can encourage your book clubbers to view them or host a screening at your library if you have access to them with public performance rights.

Australia Kit
Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington
Utopia DVD with Public Performance Rights (PPR)

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Secrets of the Dead: Vampire Legend DVD with PPR

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Butterfly DVD with PPR

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Empires: Japan DVD with PPR

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
The Story of India DVD with PPR

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter DVD with PPR 

Dominican Republic
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia

We also have the following themed kits:
Autism Awareness Kit
Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism,
by Arthur Fleischmann
Horse Boy: 2009 Documentary with Public Performance Rights

Hurricane Katrina Kit
Rivers: A Novel, by Michael Farris Smith
Trouble the Water: 2008 Documentary with
Public Performance Rights

The Art Forgery Kit
The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro
Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery:
Documentary with Public Performance Rights

Extra films. All have Public Performance Rights
GTFO: Get the F;#% Out
-Through interviews with video game developers, journalists, and academics, GTFO examines the female experience in gaming and begins a larger conversation that will shape the future of the video game world.

Growing Cities
-Tells the inspiring stories of these intrepid urban farmers, innovators, and everyday city-dwellers who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food.

Eating Alabama
-A thoughtful and often funny essay on community, the South, and sustainability, Eating Alabama is ultimately a story about why food matters.

The Girls in the Band
-Untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, history-making journeys from the late 30s to the present day. 

Contact Ally Mellon at or 601-432-4117 if you'd like more information or to reserve one of these kits for your book club group!

Friday, January 8, 2016

MLC Staff Reads: YA

Here are three great young adult books to add to your to-read list. Already read them? Let us know what you thought in the comments.

Saint Anything
Sarah Dessen
four stars

Sydney finds new friends and new love even while life in her dysfunctional family becomes to much to bear. Great character building and lovely reflections on responsibility, forgiveness, and belonging.

Kelly Loy Gilbert
four stars

Braden is the only witness to a policeman's death when his father is accused of the murder. Gilbert deftly explores issues of abuse, faith, and growing up, all centered around Braden's biggest passion: baseball.
How it Went Down
Kekla Magoon
four stars

How It Went Down, a 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, begins with sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson's murder. He was shot to death by a white man named Jack Franklin while walking home from the store. This heart-wrenching story is told with multiple POVs by those in Tariq's community. It is a touching, truthful, and thought-provoking novel by Kekla Magoon and it changed the way we look at the world.

Don't forget to follow us on Goodreads. Join us next week for our latest favorite picture books. Until then, happy reading!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Books of 2016

The new year offers exciting new stories that we can't wait to get our hands on.  Check out these book lists and tell us which books you are most excited about in 2016.

Young Adult:
Comics/Graphic Novels
Picture Books
Happy reading! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

MS Library Spotlight: Northeast Regional

Corinth Public Library
Last week, our PR director and one of our library consultants visited Northeast Regional Library. With 13 branches, this library system serves the people of the Mississippi counties of Alcorn, Prentiss, Tippah, and Tishomingo. Their headquarters is located in the historical city of Corinth. Be sure to check out their website; it was redesigned in June 2015.

William McMullin, Director of Northeast Regional Library (l) and
Cody Daniel, Branch Manager of Corinth Public Library (r)
They met with William McMullin, Director of Northeast Regional Library, and Cody Daniel, Branch Manager of Corinth Public Library. Daniel has recently taken the position of Branch Manager, but has worked at the library for some time in the capacity of assistant manager. We hear he puts on a pretty nifty children's program!

Vintage library furniture
Speaking of children, Corinth still has the original children's furniture from the time the current library building opened in late 1960s. Isn't retro fun?

Computer area

The system was the recent recipient of two American with Disabilities Act (ADA) computer kits. Each kit contained a large print keyboard, a trackball mouse, headphones, and a gently used computer.

Our MLC staff enjoyed consulting and visiting with the staff of Northeast Regional. We'll see you soon!
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