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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mississippi Library Association Conference 2016 Wrap-up

This year's Mississippi Library Association annual conference took place at the Vicksburg Convention Center from October 18-21. The theme was Mississippi Libraries: The Heart of Our Communities and many of the sessions focused on this important idea. Several MLC staff were fortunate enough to attend part or all of the conference. After some reflection, here are our thoughts.

"The panel on digital curation was AMAZING. It gave me so many ideas about how to further my work. On another note, I’ve always wanted to know about Big House Books, so the fact that they had a panel was A+. They gave me so much more information than I was expecting."

-Katie Gill, Library Development Director

"MLA is such a wonderful opportunity for library folks to gather to share thoughts, ideas and to network. Our advocacy session on Wednesday was so highly attended that it made us realize the importance of this topic during these challenging economic times. Also, to have a couple of our community partners, Big House Books and MS Museum of Art, participate this year made us recognize the benefit of connecting people to achieve greater results. It was a great week! Way to go MLA!"

-Susan Liles, PR Director

"I was very inspired by the bookmobile-on-a-shoestring budget session. Not only was the 'shoestring budget' concept impressive (they used, not the $100,000 bus for mobilization, but rather, a customized trailer pulled behind a truck at a fraction of the cost) but it was also wonderful to see how a relic from vanishing past, the beloved bookmobile, can be re-invented with popular technologies of today--automated online scheduling, a traveling computer lab complete with wireless connectivity, niche customization. The creativity and resourcefulness of the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Library shown in this project was delightful to learn about!"

-Lucinda Ogden, CE Coordinator

"My favorite part was passing out stickers to entice folks to a program Wednesday morning as I was strategically located right next to the coffee and doughnuts!"

-Mac Buntin, Senior Library Consultant

"There are always so many great sounding sessions at MLA and I never get to attend all the ones that I want. (There's just not enough time!) This year I really enjoyed Anna Brannin's session on collaboration between school and public libraries, Shelby Parsons's presentation on Big House Books, and Cal Shepard's session on libraries yesterday, now, and in the future. The best part though? Reconnecting face-to-face with all the librarians I only see through social media and reference questions the rest of the year."

-Elisabeth Scott, Reference Librarian/Social Media Coordinator

"One of the best things about attending the MLA Conference is meeting some of the librarians from around the state, and talking about the needs of their patrons. It is a great opportunity to advocate for some of our special programs and get to know some of the people who referred some of our patrons to the Talking Books Program. The presentations are always informative, and the exhibits are always interesting. There are always great speakers to keep us motivated, and lots of good fellowship."

-Margaret Smitherman, Readers Advisor

We can't wait to see everyone next year in Hattiesburg. Until then, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Read Your Way Across Mississippi

Mississippi has produced a large number of writers for many years, both those born locally and those who have moved here. Last week, Amanda and I participated in a poster session at the annual MLA conference. We had been talking about ways to highlight our collection at MLC and were drawn to our large Mississippi section. At MLC, this section consists of authors from Mississippi and books about Mississippi. We wondered if there were as many people writing about our fine state as there were people writing from Mississippi. We did some digging on NoveList, Goodreads, Amazon, Wikipedia, and other sites and came up with a list of fifty books: twenty-five are juvenile and twenty-five are adult, with ten nonfiction books from each of these two categories. While we love and cherish such gems as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and The Optimist's Daughter (to name only two of countless like books), we wanted to present an up-to-date list featuring Mississippi. Therefore, our selections are from the last ten years.
You can access the Google Document of the lists here.

We also came up with a list of Mississippi authors that you can access here. If you spot someone you think we should add, please let us know in the comments. We hope you enjoy these recommendations. Until next time, happy reading!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Meet MLC Monday: Ally Watkins

Meet Ally Watkins, Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission! Ally works as a liaison between public libraries in Mississippi and MLC. She gives advice and provides information and resources to library directors and staff. Part of the Library Development team, she also assists with training and continuing education.

Watkins began at MLC in April 2015 after working in public libraries in Mississippi. She holds a Bachelor's of English from the University of Mississippi and a Master's of Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. She also took part in MLC's Mississippi Library Leadership Institute.

Ally says that one of the reasons she likes working at MLC so much is her frequent travels across the state. "I love seeing all the libraries in the state. I like being able to provide help and advice for our librarians that are on the front line helping Mississippians." She is a big library advocate and spoke some of her love for libraries. "I love libraries because they're one of the last places where someone can go in and ask for help and receive it. Libraries are absolutely vital to many people fro educational, vocational, and recreational purposes. Being able to help provide these services is really important to me."

Ally loves to read. Her favorite book is Persuasion by Jane Austen. She says, though, that she'll ready pretty much anything. She likes checking out middle grade and YA books and reads a ton of comics. (She shares them with the rest of the staff and we really appreciate it!) Apart from reading, Watkins also likes to cook. She is an awesome aunt as well, and spends a lot of her free time hanging out with her nieces and nephew.

Friday, October 21, 2016

MLC's Patent and Trademark Resource Center

In May of 1990 the Mississippi Library Commission was named the 69th Patent and Trademark Resource Center in the nation by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Patent, and Trademark Office. Figures indicated that a patent research library in Mississippi would generate between $3 million and $27 million in state personal income. To become a patent research library MLC had to acquire a minimum 20 year back file of U.S. patents, maintain selected documents supplied free of charge by the Patent Office, and make its data and services available to the public at no cost.

If you have questions regarding patents and trademarks, contact Lawrence Smith, Patent Librarian.

You can learn more about the history of MLC's Patent and Trademark Resource Center in Volume 23, Number 5, and Volume 25, Number 3 of The Packet.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reading Widely: Comics, Part 2

In August, I took on a bunch of comics for Reading Widely, but I wasn't finished! Here are even more to tickle your fancy.

Goldie is a 16-year-old girl detective in this historical sleuth series. She and her dad work at a hotel, and she's constantly trying to help the hotel's in-house detective with his cases. But when something weird seems to be going on with one of the hotel guests, can Goldie and her friends figure it out? Great for middle grade and young adult readers.

Written by Hope Larson, illustrated by Brittany Williams, Colors by Sarah Stern

(Four issues contained in one trade paperback)

In this new run about much-loved Marvel superhero Black Panther, the reader gets a look at what it's like to be T'Challah, the ruler of the country of Wakanda, and also to have the burden of being Black Panther.

Political upheaval and royal family drama make this one a great read for action and adventure fans. Author Ta-Nehesi Coates makes this one an enormous draw for readers of his work. Geared towards adults.

Written by Ta-Nahesi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze

(Four issues contained in one trade paperback.)

A lovely middle-grade story about two princesses, one who's been locked in a tower, and one who does the rescuing. The MLC staff loved this one SO MUCH--read our review here.

Written and Illustrated by Katie O'Neill

(Original graphic novel based on a webcomic)

Great Warrior is a very powerful (albeit physically small) being who protects her village fiercely from all outside forces. But when things get dicey and it seems that her friends are going to find out her big secret, will she be able to handle it?

This great all-ages comic has tons of amazing secondary characters, and the colors are gorgeous.

Written and illustrated by Madeline Flores with Trillian Gunn

(Trade paperback compiling webcomics)

Do you have more comic recommendations for us? We'll read them! Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Join the MLC Team!

Are you looking for the perfect job? We have an opening for a librarian on our team!

Librarian III
Open until 10/14/16

This position is open in the Library Services Division of the Mississippi Library Commission. It is professional library work with responsibility for applying professional library techniques in one or more phases of library services. Duties include reference, cataloging, collection management, government documents, services to special groups, and similar functions. Incumbents have a primary specialized service responsibility and may monitor budget for the service. Incumbents provide professional level reference and reader advisory services to customers utilizing electronic, print, and audiovisual resources, and maintaining databases. The incumbent has frequent contact with the public, state governmental employees, volunteers, and others. Incumbent markets library services by initiating contact with users and groups of users by developing and presenting workshops. Development and presentation of individual and group training sessions on electronic resources is also required. The incumbent participates in the selection of materials for the collections and in review of collections to maintain currency and relevance to customers' needs. Incumbent compiles statistics for service management reports. Data gathering includes development and production of routine and specialized reports utilizing a library automation system. Incumbent may supervise or assist in the supervision of others.

Applications for this position must go through the Mississippi State Personnel Board. They are available on the job opening page on their website. We can't wait to have you working with our team!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Talking about Talking Books

Yesterday, Talking Book Services Director Shellie Zeigler visited Sunflower County Library in Indianola, MS. She spent time with the Indianola Civic League, explaining the services, who is qualified, and how to sign up. The group was delighted with Zeigler's presentation and many plan to take advantage of the program. One particular lady was curious about something, though. "Well, how do people find out about this program??" Shellie's answer? Our outreach efforts! Talking Book Services staff would love to travel to your Mississippi organization and speak:
  • Lion's Club
  • Rotary Club
  • Kiwanis
  • MS Federation of Women's Clubs
  • Other service and civic clubs
  • Church groups
  • Retirement homes
  • Assisted living facilities
If your group is interested in scheduling a presentation, please call 601-432-4123 or email Shellie Zeigler at Until next time, happy reading!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ann Marsh Named MLC Board of Commissioner's Chair

Ann Marsh, Board Member at Large of the Mississippi Library Commission's Board of Commissioners, has been named chairperson of the board. She was appointed to the board three years ago by Governor Phil Bryant to fill the shoes of Dr. Russell Burns. Typically, the MLC Chairperson is the longest serving member and the person with the most experience. Mrs. Marsh notes that the Board's work is really a collaborative effort, especially with years such as this one with huge budget cuts made by the state. About her time on the Board, Ann says, "I've learned so much, about funding, personnel, decision making... We don't focus on just the Mississippi Library Commission. Our attention is on all the libraries in Mississippi: public, academic, school, and special libraries. We try to do our best, for MLC and for our Mississippi libraries."

Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Marsh obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Married 50 years this past summer, Ann and her husband lived in states from California to Maine before settling down in Mississippi 33 years ago. She says this gave them a great perspective on life because wherever they went, they met great people. Marsh spent several years as an elementary school teacher, but when a friend was hired as branch manager at the Northwest Point Reservoir Library in Brandon, she asked Ann to consider applying for a part-time opening at the branch. When that friend eventually left the Reservoir Library, Marsh was the obvious replacement. Twenty-six years later, she retired from her job as library branch manager that she said was "a wonderful experience."

"Many people think libraries are the purview of academia. That just isn't so. I see libraries as community centers and gathering places. They're for people who want a connection to the outside world. With the services that libraries provide--computers, storytime, wifi, research help, computer classes, what have you--we give people that opportunity to connect."

Marsh compares MLC to one of those connect-the-dot pictures kids like to do. "Our many public libraries across the state are the dots. MLC connects the dots; it's the line that makes sense of all the pieces and unifies them into a whole." Ann raves about MLC and her experience thus far on the Board, saying, "It's such a wonderful place to visit. The staff are all so professional and likeable; it's a pleasure to visit every other month."

Ann is just as active outside the library world as she is inside. She has quite the creativity streak and enjoys knitting and jewelry making, to name just a few of her artistic pursuits. She also loves to travel and recently made the trek to Yellowstone National Park.

The Mississippi Library Commission's Board of Commissioners comprises five members. Four members are appointed by the governor and one is the President of the Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs (or her appointee.) Of the four gubernatorial appointed members, two are appointed at large by the governor and two are chosen from a list presented to the governor by the Mississippi Library Association. Of the two chosen from MLA's list, one must be an active librarian and one must be an active board of trustees member of a Mississippi public library.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Books at the Fair

The 2016 Mississippi State Fair starts today (October 5, 2016) and runs through October 16, 2016.  Here are some books that will get you into a fair mood.
*The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
*The County Fair by Katherine Valentine
*The Pumpkin Fair by Eve Bunting
* So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz
*The Fatal Funnel Cake: A Fresh-Baked Mystery by L.J. Washburn
* The Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews
Click the link to learn more about the 2016 Mississippi State Fair. Happy reading!

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