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Friday, October 27, 2017

How to Build a Franken-Bear

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best. One day, Purvis Public Library's Youth Librarian Chancey Windham and Brandon Public Library's Reference Supervisor Kayla Martin-Gant were talking about Toy Story. (Who doesn't love discussing Pixar's first feature film?) When one of them mentioned destructive Sid Phillips and his toy mutilation predilection, inspiration struck.

Mutant toys from Toy Story
Why not host a program where kids could create their own crazy creations? That's when the Franken-Bear Workshop was born.

Event header from Purvis Public Library

Chancy talked local thrift stores and patrons into donating unwanted dolls and stuffed animals. He amassed quite the collection of stuffed dogs, bears, and babies. Patrons also donated assorted nails and screws. Buttons and fake plastic bones from previous programs were added to the pile. Chancy said, "Our cost for this program was practically nothing. After donations, all we had to buy was hot glue and some thread."

Donations from local thrift stores and patrons
Kids of all ages had a blast ripping apart the old toys.

Then they sewed and glued and stitched their new creations together, adding buttons and other gee-gaws as they saw fit. 

The finishing touch came when Chancy helped add a plastic bone to "bring the Franken-Bear to life," much like the heart ceremony at Build-a-Bear Workshops.

The program was a huge hit, bringing in many, many more participants than initially anticipated. Chancy said, "We had nearly 50 participants. When I think of something easy like this, I think no one will show up to the program. It's such a simple idea, but they came and it really blew up. We had such a great time and the kids loved their creations." Check them out--what do you think of these creative kids' Franken-Bears?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Outstanding Achievement Award for Vivian Sanderford

Congratulations to Vivian Sanderford, Senior Network Specialist and E-Rate Specialist here at MLC! Vivian was honored at last week's annual Mississippi Library Association Conference with an Outstanding Achievement Award for her years of service to Mississippi libraries. The nomination, quoted in part below, came from Jennifer Wann, Director of the Bolivar County Library System.
"The success of public libraries in the twenty-first century is directly dependent on our ability to connect users to the Internet and all of the myriad information resources and tools necessary for modern life. Yet, for many of our state’s small and rural communities providing high speed Internet access at the public library is not just difficult; it’s almost impossible. This perhaps sounds hyperbolic in the era of free Wi-Fi at every McDonald’s and seemingly universal smartphone ownership. Yet obstacles such as lack of funding, lack of technical expertise, and the Byzantine federal e-rate program inhibit public libraries’ abilities to provide adequate access to our patrons. Vivian has dedicated her career to helping public libraries overcome these obstacles"
Jennifer went on to praise Vivian's patience in assisting Mississippi's librarians and her tenacity, skill, and savvy in dealing with statewide network and vendor issues. She has saved Mississippi libraries hundreds of thousands of dollars with filtering and firewall protection and even more by assuring that annual e-rate applications are filed correctly and on time. Jennifer went on to say, "In 2015 (the last year that information is currently publicly available) 2,500,843 sessions were logged on public access computers in Mississippi’s public libraries. Every single one of those 2.5 million sessions was in some small way supported by the work that Vivian Sanderford performs in her role... at the Mississippi Library Commission."

Thank you, Jennifer Wann, for nominating Vivian Sanderford, and to the MLA Awards Committee for honoring her with this award. The biggest thanks, however, go to Vivian herself, for her many years of service to MLC and to Mississippi libraries. Congratulations!

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