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Friday, April 21, 2017

More Stories from the Road...

It's been too long since I've updated my travels. I've been from one end of the state to the other and almost every spot in between (or so it feels!) Mississippi is such a great place to just get out and wander, so I really enjoy this part of my work here at MLC.

A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Bay St. Louis with MLC's Executive Director Susan Cassagne to attend a Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the privatization of the Hancock County Library System. A company called LS&S had approached the Board of Supervisors claiming they could save the county money by making the library system a private entity. Needless to say, library supporters were not happy about the possibility and showed up in great numbers to the supervisors' meeting. The issue is ongoing, but this particular night proved to the supervisors that the residents of Hancock County do not support this idea. It was great to see the power of advocacy at work for this outstanding library system.

Hancock County Library Supporters

Next stop... Coffeeville! Have you ever met someone who made you feel like you have been friends forever? Patty Bailey, Director of the Yalobusha Library System, and I became fast friends when I visited her library a few weeks ago. Coffeeville is such a charming place, and she has created a space that is inviting and educational for the members of her community.

Patron computers at the Coffeeville Library
I was intrigued by a book in her collection, as it is one of my favorites. When John Grisham released his first novel, A Time to Kill, in 1984 he made a stop at the Coffeeville Library to promote the book.  He left a signed copy for the patrons of the library to enjoy.

Signed copy of John Grisham's first novel, Coffeeville Public Library

Last week, Susan Cassagne and I traveled to Starkville for a wonderful celebration the Starkville-Oktibbeha County Library held recognizing their "Mississippi Star Library" status through MLC. Late in 2016, MLC awarded star status to twelve libraries across the state based on per capita rates in four different areas including visits, circulation, program attendance, and public internet usage.

Mississippi Star Library celebration at Starkville

Parker Wiseman, Mayor of Starkville at the Starkville-Oktibbeha County Library
Board members, local dignitaries, and patrons of the library came out that day to recognize the staff for a job well done and we were honored to be a part of the festivities. Congratulations to all!

I'll be on the road again soon heading to McComb. I'm looking forward to learning about the great things going on with the Pike-Amite-Walthall Library System. Stay tuned for more from the road!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

National Arab American Heritage Month

April is National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM). NAAHM celebrates many aspects of Arab American heritage and, as book lovers, we're featuring some great Arab American books and authors who have shaped literature.

The Book of Khalid
by Ameen Rihani

The Woman Upstairs
by Claire Messud

Lebanese Blonde
by Joseph Geha

Throne of the Crescent Moon 
by Saladin Ahmed

The Language of Baklava: A Memoir
by Diana Abu-Jaber

The Moor's Account
by Laila Lalami

Once in a Promised Land
by Laila Halaby

In the Heart of the Heart of Another County
by Etel Adnan

Shatter Me
by Tahereh Mafi

Saving Sky
by Diane Stanley

The Girl Who Fell to Earth
by Sophia Al-Maria

Saints and Misfits
by S.K. Ali

by Craig Thompson

Arab in America
by Toufic El Rassi

The Turtle of Oman
by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Olive Tree
by Elsa Marston and illustrated by Claire Ewart

Big Red Lollipop
by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

One Green Apple
by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ted Lewin

Happy reading!

Friday, April 7, 2017

It is time for JAM! April is Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) was created in 2002 by John Edward Hasse, PhD, curator of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, to herald and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz.  Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) is intended to draw public attention to the glories of jazz as both a historical and a living treasure. The idea is to encourage musicians, concert halls, schools, colleges, museums, libraries, and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April. 

2017 JAM celebrates “Women in Jazz”. You can visit the Official Jazz Appreciation website at the National Museum of American History site,

How can you celebrate JAM? There are lots of ways! Get out there and JAM!
·        10th Annual Township Jazz Festival:
A free event held April 8, 2017 in Ridgeland, MS.

·        Juke Joint Festival - April 20 - 23, 2017
The 14th Annual Juke Joint Festival weekend, will be held in Clarksdale ,MS April 20th through April 23rd. The main Festival itself will be Saturday, April 22nd. For more information about the festival, please visit

·        How to Celebrate Jazz! (By the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center)

April Jazz Events Worldwide:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

20 Children's Books Celebrating Passover and Easter

Believe it or not, Passover and Easter are right around the corner! Whether you're preparing matzah or dying eggs, we've rounded up a selection of books that will get your small ones in the swing of things for this special season.

Hop! Hop!
Leslie Patricelli

Ollie's Easter Eggs
Olivier Dunrea

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Easter Colors
Eric Carle

Llama Llama Easter Egg
Anna Dewdney

Happy Easter, Mouse!
Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

My First Easter
Tomie dePaola

Here Comes the Easter Cat
Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda 
Preschool-Grade 2

Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure
James Dean and Kimberly Dean
Preschool-Grade 3

Junie B. Jones, First Grader: Dumb Bunny
Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus
Grades 1-4

My Weird School Special: Bunny Double, We're in Trouble!
Dan Gutman and Jim Paillot 
Grades 1-5

My First Passover
Tomie dePaola

Lotsa Matzah
Tilda Balsley and Akemi Gutierrez

Passover is Coming!
Tracy Newman

Company's Coming
Joan Holub and Renee Andriani

Dayenu! A Favorite Passover Song
Traditional and Miriam Latimer

Sammy Spider's First Passover
Sylvia A. Rouss and Katherine J. Kahn
Preschool-Grade 3

A Tale of Two Seders
Mindy Avra Portnoy and Valeria Cis
Preschool-Grade 3

A Sweet Passover
Leslea Newman and David Slonam
Preschool-Grade 3

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah
Leslie Kimmelman and Paul Meisel
Preschool-Grade 3

The Yankee at the Seder
Elka Weber and Adam Gustavson
Grades 2-5

Until next time, happy reading!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Friends of Mississippi Libraries Announce 2017 Margaret Murray Grants

The Friends of Mississippi Libraries Inc. is pleased to announce the recipients for the 2017 Margaret Murray Grants. Each library will receive $500 for their project, along with a cash match provided by their local Friends of the Library organization.

There were 18 applicants this year and the applications were more competitive than expected. Thus, the state Friends of Mississippi Libraries Inc. provided a partial grant to a fourth Friends group that was only fractions of a point away from being awarded a full grant. Please join us in congratulating these Friends groups!

These are the groups and projects awarded for 2017:

Friends of the Pass Christian Library: “100 Books Before High school” Literary Program. Promotes reading for fun to school age youth, for every 25 books read a prize is won and at the 100th books a free book is awarded. Funds will be used to purchase prizes, award books, and program supplies.

Friends of Pontotoc County Library: Purchase new children’s non-fiction animal books for the library collection in conjuncture with “Animal Tales” an educational program with live animals to be held in the library.

Friends of Lexington Public Library: Purchase 2017 ALA award winning books to increase local access to high quality materials on school reading lists.

*Partial Award
Friends of Stone County Libraries: Purchase five sets of books for the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration. “15 Great Books for Mississippi Kids” will serve as the initial list of books for Bicentennial Book Club meetings.
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