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Friday, December 28, 2018

Meet Our Library Board: Jolee Hussey

Jolee Hussey was recently named the Chair of the Mississippi Library Commission's Board of Commissioners. She says that she loves being on MLC's board because it lets her see firsthand the dedication of library directors and staff in libraries and communities across the state. "I appreciate all they do. I love libraries. I'm passionate about them being used and being funded. All libraries are important. They truly open doors for people."

Jolee is originally from Eupora, but she moved to Oxford in 1968 and has been there ever since, except for four brief years when her husband taught at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. She said they loved living in Colorado; she also taught while they were there. 

She was a librarian at Oxford High School from 1998-2010 and was recognized as a Teacher of the Year, as well as the District Teacher of the Year, in 2009 for her years of exemplary service. Jolee says she loved working with the students and helping them with whatever they needed. She said the work was incredibly rewarding. One of her fondest memories is the time she ran into a former student in a parking lot: "I hadn't seen him for years, but he came right up and told me all about how I changed his life during high school in the library!" She's still involved with schools: Jolee supervises Social Studies and English student teachers from the University of Mississippi as they learn to work with 7-12 graders.

She spent four terms and two decades on the board of the First Regional Library System, starting back in 1993 as the trustee from Lafayette County.

Jolee says, "Libraries still change lives! They're the only free place where people can access information and they are the hubs of our communities, the hubs of our schools." Jolee says she loves to be involved in her community and with her family, especially her grandchildren. She is also very committed to her church life. She cried when she left school, but she retired so that she could spend more time with her grandchildren. She also loves to travel and she loves Oxford sports.

We look forward to Jolee's leadership in Mississippi libraries.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

On the Road with MLC: Lincoln, Lawrence, and Franklin Counties

Shellie Zeigler
Mississippi Library Commission
Library Consultant

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library System with Susan Liles, MLC's Public Relations Director. Our first stop was the headquarters library in Brookhaven. I was immediately struck by the gorgeous mid-century modern architecture and furnishings. The library is bright, open, and very welcoming. They even offer free coffee to their patrons, and for those who know me, this won my heart! The Friends of the Library were busy decorating holiday trees during my visit. Assistant Director Katrina Castelaw gave us a tour of this wonderful library. There was a new art exhibit area in the front lobby that included pieces loaned from the collection of local artist J. Kim Sessums, as well as a piece by Stephen Scott Young the library was able to purchase with funds acquired through the Mississippi Arts Commission's Dille Fund for Visual Art Acquisition. The adult reading area was appointed with four large overstuffed leather chairs. It would be difficult to drag yourself away once you started your favorite book or magazine.

We were able to visit the three other libraries in this system as well. Our next stop was Meadville, a very well organized branch with great signage. A beautiful quilt graced the wall of this delightful library, each square depicting a special landmark or area in the county.

The Monticello branch is a busy and much-loved library. Every single one of the public access computers was being used and people were busy checking out books and looking at magazines. One patron even stopped us to let us know she was a huge library supporter; she uses it not only for herself, but she brings her granddaughter on a weekly basis so she can check out books and take advantage of library programs too.

Our last stop was the library in New Hebron. It was the smallest of the system branches, but it was still bright and cheery with many patrons taking advantage of the computers and library materials.

One thing we noticed about the libraries in this system was that they all contained the work of local artists. It's a great way to expand the artistic literacy of the people living in these communities, as well as giving exposure to talented locals. If you'd like to know more about art in libraries, read this short piece from the American Library Association. 

What a great day this was! I am so grateful to Katrina and all of the staff members we met during our visit. Thanks for your hospitality!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Kristina Kelly

Kristina Kelly started at the Mississippi Library Commission in May 2018. She serves as Administrative Assistant to Jennifer Peacock, MLC's Administrative Services Director, and the rest of the Administrative Services Bureau. Kristina holds a bachelor's degree in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations.

Kristina says that she was initially drawn to working at MLC because of the connection to books and public libraries. She's found that she really enjoys working with the friendly staff and is a big fan of her job! Of libraries and books, she says that, "Books are the gateway to knowledge, other places, and even other worlds. Reading expands a person's horizons and libraries are a valuable resource for people to use to educate themselves and to grow."

Kristina and her family love to read. Other book fanatics might relate--she says they have stack of books on the floor because they have run out of bookshelf space. She claims she can't pick just one favorite book (can anyone?), but has a few favorite books by favorite authors: Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files are just a few. She just finished reading The Annapolis Book of Seamanship by John Rousemaniere and is working her way through The Shack by William P. Young and The Bluejacket's Manual, published by the United States Naval Institute. Kristina says that what she reads really depends on her mood or where she is, so she always tries to keep a few books close at hand.

Kristina says she loves being a wife and a mom and is very proud of her family and their accomplishments. She is active in her local Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) group; she and her husband have been members for 25 years. SCA recreates pre-1600 society and cultures. Kristina specializes in creating historical costumes and non-European dance. Her current research project involves researching how European explorers and settlers viewed indigenous peoples and cultures with an emphasis on their dance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Art in the Library: Preview Party Two

The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) and the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) partnered this year to showcase artists adjudicated through MAC's annual Visual Artist Fellowship Grant program. The exhibits, on display at MLC (3881 Eastwood Drive in Jackson), have featured some of Mississippi's finest artists.

The current exhibit, which runs through January 11, 2019, features seven pf the 2019 MAC Visual Arts Fellowship recipients. A special artist reception takes place Thursday, December 13, from 5-7 pm. MAC's Visual Artist Fellowship grant program honors Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create outstanding work in their chosen field, including painting, sculpture, photography, and many other mediums. These grants are highly competitive - only a small number of applicants receive an award. Meet some of these folks below!

Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi-the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Doyle is a recipient of a 2018 Visual Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission for his ongoing project on African American cowboys and cowgirls in the Delta. The project was featured in the Half King Photo Series in New York City in June 2018, along with a concurrent show in Harlem.

He was also recognized for the project by winning the photojournalism category at the 2018 EyeEm Awards in Berlin, Germany. Doyle's publication list includes The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Photo District News, The Atlantic, ESPN's The Undefeated, Getty Images, Financial Times, Yahoo News, and more. Born and raised in Maine, Doyle has lived in Mississippi since 2009.

Eric Huckabee was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1985 and grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he currently lives and works. He earned his MFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2011, and his BA from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2009.

His work has been exhibited across the eastern United States, including shows at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, Prince Street Gallery in New York, and at The Satellite Show Miami. In 2018 he was awarded an individual artist grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. His work is included in the collection of Woodmere Art Museum. Huckabee has been featured in New American Paintings and is currently teaching drawing at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Betty Press never expected to be living in Mississippi. She grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska. After graduating from university, she traveled around the world for two years with her husband. In the 90's, she worked as a photojournalist for eight years in Africa. Because of this, she brings a singular perspective to her current photo project which documents the black and white culture in Mississippi. Recording "real life" in small communities throughout Mississippi with black-and-white film and toy and vintage cameras - the resulting imperfections, soft focus, and vignetting serve as metaphors for how landscape, race, and religion have played a part in the complicated history of Mississippi and still affect lives today.

She is well known for her photographs taken in Africa where she lived and worked in Kenya from 1987 to 1995 and in Sierra Leone in 2008-2009 while her husband was on a Fulbright scholarship. Now living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and retired from teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi, she continues to photograph in the South as well as in Africa, which she still considers her second home.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out yesterday's post collecting the rest of the artists who are showing their work at the Mississippi Library Commission, Charlie Buckley, Carolyn Busenlener, Rob Cooper, and Earl Dismuke! We look forward to seeing you Thursday, December 13, from 5-7 pm.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Art in the Library: Preview Party One

The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) and the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) partnered this year to showcase artists adjudicated through MAC’s annual Visual Artist Fellowship Grant program. The exhibits, on display at MLC (3881 Eastwood Drive in Jackson), have featured some of Mississippi’s finest artists.

The current exhibit, which runs through January 11, 2019, features seven of the 2019 MAC Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients. A special artist reception takes place Thursday, December 13, from 5-7 pm. MAC’s Visual Artist Fellowship grant program honors Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create outstanding work in their chosen field, including painting, sculpture, photography, and many other mediums. These grants are highly competitive – only a small number of applicants receive an award. Meet some of these folks below!

After studying at Ole Miss (BFA 2004) and Miami University (MFA 2009), Charlie Buckley taught drawing and painting at Miami, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. Since 2011, he has been working exclusively as a painter, and is represented by Fischer Galleries in Jackson, Southside Gallery in Oxford, and The Arts Company in Nashville. Charlie's work was recently on display in the Bicentennial exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art, "Mississippi, Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise". A two-time fellow in Visual Arts from the Mississippi Arts Commission, Charlie has also been awarded the Visual Arts award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and has been chosen to be an Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park for the Spring of 2019. He is the collection of the Walton Family Foundation, Bank Plus, The Graduate, the Community Development Foundation, Metropolitan  Bank, The Arkansas Children's Hospital, the University of Mississippi, Baptist Memorial Hospital, and more.

Charlie lives in Tupelo with his wife Amber and daughter Jane.

Mississippi abstract artist, Carolyn Busenlener, lives in Pearlington, Mississippi, with her studio on a bayou next to a pond. She enjoys the serenity of the country after living most of her life in New Orleans. After receiving a BFA from Tulane University (Newcomb College) the artist taught and continued to paint. She has won numerous awards at juried shows and was chosen to participate in the Mississippi Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Carolyn has twice been a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellowship. The artist also was awarded the Jane Carter Hyatt Fellowship.

Carolyn is represented by four galleries across the country and has a painting the permanent collection of the Mississippi Art Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

Rob Cooper has spent his artistic life surrounded by glass. The Jackson-based artist has spent most of his years as an active artist working at Pearl River Glass Studio, a commercial studio that creates stained glass windows, architectural art glass, and restores historic stained glass. He currently works as one of the glass artists for the studio, painting imagery on the stained glass windows and other glass artwork they create for churches, private residences, and commercial clients.

Cooper got his start at Pearl River Glass while in high school, doing an internship at the studio through the APAC arts program at Jackson Public Schools. He spent some time studying outside of Mississippi, earning a BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Afterwards, he returned to Jackson and continued his work at Pearl River.

Cooper plans to spend at least part of his Fellowship year deepening his knowledge of the history of the art form and trying to find ways to incorporate classic design elements into his own work.

Earl Dismuke works out of his studio in Oxford, Mississippi, where he resides with his wife, two daughters, and two sons. He received his BFA from the University of Mississippi in 2007. He is a cofounder of the Yokna Sculpture Trail in Oxford, MS. He was the recipient of the Oxford Mississippi Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce's "2015 Leadership Award" for his work on the Yokna Sculpture Trail, a 2017 recipient of the Gallucci Creative Fund Grant, and a 2018 recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship Grant.

His work has been shown internationally in Basel, Switzerland at Scope Basel, and in Lima, Peru, and across the southeastern United States. He has a piece in the permanent collection of the Dallas Museum of Biblical Art. His goal with his work is to tell a story, but to leave enough ambiguity in the work that the audience can make interpretations themselves. When the artist invites the viewer to interpret what the work means or what the artist was thinking, the viewer is forced to bring something of themselves into the work. He believes this binds the artist and the viewer.

Don't miss tomorrow's post collecting the rest of the artists who are showing their work at the Mississippi Library Commission, Rory Doyle, Eric Huckabee, and Betty Press! We look forward to seeing you Thursday night at 5 pm at MLC.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Scott Higdon

On November 1, 2018, the Mississippi Library Commission welcomed a new Director of Technology Services to our staff. Scott Higdon now oversees the daily operations of the department. He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Mississippi College and a master's degree in Leadership from Belhaven University.

Since starting at MLC, Scott has observed the unique camaraderie between the Tech Services employees and says he likes that uniqueness. "I enjoy the teamwork that a Technology Services staff must have to be successful. I have played, and loved, sports all my life, and sports are all about learning to work with a team. Everyone has different specialties and responsibilities, but what you do or don’t do with the skills you have can have a positive or negative effect on the whole team.  Not everyone is a pitcher, a slap hitter, or can mash home runs, but they are all vital to the success of the whole." Scott notes that the entire staff has been very welcoming since he started work here, making his transition from his former place of employment much easier than expected. (He had worked there for 22 years!)

When asked about the importance of libraries, Scott had this to say, "Growing up with a mother who was a teacher and a principal and a grandmother who was a college professor, my family always recognized the importance of education. Education is all about knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge. Where better to pursue knowledge than in a library? There is no age restriction on that pursuit either. Libraries allow people of all ages to come in, explore, and learn."

Scott enjoys reading, but with a busy family has difficulty finding time. His favorite book is The Big Miss by Hank Hane; he recently finished The Escape by David Baldacci. He says he's obsessed with golf, travel, sports, and live music. Scott has only missed two Mississippi State home football games in the last 33 seasons and has even attended (at the minimum) one MSU game in each of the SEC stadiums. He's also a New Orleans Saints and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. He and his wife of nearly twenty years have two daughters, aged 8 and 11. He is a deacon, a Sunday School teacher, and a member of the choir at First Baptist Church Richland.

Friday, December 7, 2018

MLC is Proud to Support Mississippi's Public Libraries

Hulen Bivins
Mississippi Library Commission
Executive Director

With the conclusion of Fiscal Year 2018, a final accounting by the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) shows that over 7 million dollars of support was provided to the state’s 53 public library systems. These funds were provided as direct grants, competitive grants, and via statewide services. Of the total amount provided, the State of Mississippi was the source of $6,737,643, with the balance of the funding provided by the federal government under the Grants to States program administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Using state funding, direct grants provided employee benefits throughout the state to library staff members; these funds also enabled each of the 53 public library systems to maintain a highly qualified, masters-degreed professional as the library director, thereby enhancing the services of each public library. Further, with competitive grants, public libraries were able to create and expand new services while maintaining traditional services. The MAGNOLIA information database collection is an example of a statewide service that is provided by public libraries through state funding and made available to every citizen.

The federal dollars received from IMLS supported a variety of services, such as the procurement of new public computers, community reading programs supported with new book titles in a variety of formats, continuing education activities, development of STEM programing, and cooperative activities with K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities.

Following the tabulation of monies as reported for the fiscal year, MLC Executive Director Hulen Bivins noted that, “In all of the activities enumerated, the Mississippi Library Commission has worked with the state’s public libraries to both strengthen and enhance library services for the benefit of the state’s citizenry. This work has provided homework aid, business development assistance, and a furtherance of knowledge regarding issues in the fields of finance, law, and medicine. The achievements accomplished are a direct result of the cooperation and tremendous work of the 53 public library systems in using the funding made available by MLC in an efficient, cost-conscious manner.”

Monday, November 26, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Josh Saxton

Our Facilities Maintenance Supervisor Josh Saxton may have started at the Mississippi Library Commission back in August of 2017, but from February through October of this year we had to make do without him: his National Guard unit was deployed overseas. We welcomed him and his expertise back with open arms last month! Josh is in charge of all major equipment and systems at MLC, as well as everyday maintenance and monitoring. He holds a national EMT certification, HVAC/R certification, and a universal EPA license. He is currently working on an associate's degree in history.

Josh says that he likes working at MLC because of the atmosphere and the people. He also enjoys lunches with co-workers and paid days off to spend with his family. Josh is a big library fan and says, "I believe libraries play a tremendous role in education. They offer books, the internet, and other paths of knowledge to people who otherwise can't afford them." He loves to read Stephen King books; the last one he read was The Drawing of Three. In his free time, he likes playing guitar, working out, games and gaming, fishing, and sightseeing.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Sandra Tucker

Sandra Tucker is the Janitorial Supervisor at the Mississippi Library Commission. Since she joined our team five months ago in May, she has done an exceptional job in making sure that our facility is clean and inviting. Sandra says she likes working with all the friendly people who work at MLC and says one of the best parts of her job is greeting the staff and public who visit the library.

Sandra enjoys MLC's quiet environment. She also says, "I like libraries because you can always visit and learn something new. They're an important part of our community because people use them to study and find books that are the right fit for them."

Sandra isn't a big reader, but does like to read the Bible. She shared Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus with her grandmother recently and both of them had a great time reading the children's classic. In her spare time, Sandra likes to spend time with her family and attend church. She also likes to stay active by walking and playing tennis and softball.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Annie Watkins

Annie Watkins joined the team at the Mississippi Library Commission a year ago as our Collection Management Librarian. She adds new books, comics, DVDs, and special items to MLC's collection, as well as new documents to the state document depository. She also removes holdings that have been weeded from the collection. Annie holds a master's degree in Library and Information Science. She confesses that one of her favorite parts of working at MLC is that she has her own office; at her last job, she had a desk in a shared office. "It's nice to have my own space!"

"I like libraries because they provide a needed service to the public. They don't provide just entertainment, but also a place to learn and relax," says Annie. "I love libraries because they allow me to keep up with literary trends and to find new and interesting authors." Annie says that she loves to read, but doesn't have a favorite book and rarely rereads them. The last book she read was Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater, but says that it was "complete garbage" and doesn't recommend it. When Annie isn't working or reading, she loves playing video games. "I’m big into Overwatch right now. I usually main healers or Junkrat when I get sick of people spamming 'I need healing' even though they’re halfway across the map or in the middle of enemies, but I’ve recently discovered the pure joy of playing a tank and decimating my opponents."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Will Barber

Will Barber is the Patron Services Librarian in the Mississippi Library Commission's Talking Book Services Department. He provides customer service for patrons by assisting them with readers' advisory, sending them digital books, and assisting with outreach efforts. Will holds a master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Archives and Special Collections

Although Will has worked at MLC for less than a month, he says he likes "making sure that every patron I come into contact with is left with a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Having the ability to provide specific services to people that are not available elsewhere is an amazing work experience." He says working at MLC is great because of the friendly environment.

Will is also a longtime library lover. "I like libraries because they are the centers of information for communities. They enable anyone to find information about anything and everything. Libraries are important because they not only enable people to learn, they also bring communities together."

Will says that he absolutely loves to read. His favorite book of all time is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. He recently finished My Girls: A Lifetime of Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher. When he's not reading, Will enjoys catching up on television and movies. An animal lover and a history buff, he also likes to fit regular exercise into his routine, rotating between cardio, weight lifting, and yoga. Will is also a regular at his church.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Training on the Road: MLC Style

I recently traveled to the Paul E. Griffin Library in Camden, Mississippi, early on a Thursday morning to meet up with my colleagues from the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) for an all-day staff training for the Madison County Library System (MCLS). Canton Flea Market days are the perfect opportunity to do trainings because the main branch is located just steps away from the goings-on in the Canton Square. Getting to the library that day is almost impossible for staff and patrons. The Camden Library, in a quieter part of the county, is located next door to the community center... the perfect spot for a gathering of librarians.


The day of training started with MCLS Director Tonya Johnson giving an update on things going on system-wide. There are some great things in the works for the patrons of this library system thanks to this director and her hard-working group of librarians. 

MLC staff members Lacy Ellinwood, Ally Mellon, and Shellie Zeigler had their toolboxes loaded with all sorts of information to help these folks better serve the residents of the Madison County communities. Shellie started everyone off with tips on how to better serve older adults, a new offering by MLC.  

MLC Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler shares ideas about how to serve senior adults.

Ally provided everyone with an outstanding and detailed training on how to use MAGNOLIA and its databases, explaining what a value it is not only to patrons, but to librarians too. This ole girl even learned a few tips!

MLC Information Services Director Ally Mellon talks about MAGNOLIA.

Lacy talked about customer service and how to effectively help patrons, including those who can be challenging. She included an activity that let everyone talk about the most commonly asked questions in the library. She also went over different personality types and how to deal with them, even if they don't match your own!

MLC Library Development Director Lacy Ellinwood discusses customer service.

It was a great day with these folks and I am once again amazed by the knowledge and generosity of my colleagues at MLC. Helping librarians be the best they can be is their number one goal. I'm honored to be their traveling buddy and official photographer. I even learn a thing or two!

Special thanks to Tonya and all of the staff of the Madison County Library System. It was a fantastic day!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Lisa Boyd

Lisa Boyd began work at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) about one month ago, filling the position of Purchasing Specialist. This position involves processing purchasing requests and acting as property officer for MLC's equipment and assets. She says she enjoys working for the agency because everyone is so knowledgeable and friendly. "I feel honored to be working here!" Lisa adds with a big smile.

When asked what it is she likes about libraries, Lisa says, "Libraries hold a special place in my heart. Throughout my years, I have found that books are more interesting than movies. With a book, your imagination can run wild. One page of a book might have you sailing the oceans in search of sea monsters; another page might see you riding horses on the wilds of a ranch while hunting down outlaws. There are helpful books available, too: books to help you fix your car, books to help you cook your meals, and even books to help you host guests from foreign countries. There is so much more in a book than just pages! In a library, a person can find anything, no matter their interest."

Lisa loves to read and says her favorite book is the Golden Spur award-winner Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson. She says it's based on the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, a young white girl kidnapped by the Comanche people in 1836. Lisa also enjoys cooking for her family. She likes trying out new dishes, some of which she says are hits and some aren't as popular.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Neil Machowski

Neil Machowski is a Computers System Analyst here at the Mississippi Library Commission. He provides support at MLC's Help Desk, troubleshooting computer problems for MLC and Mississippi public library staff. Many people have already gotten to know him, if only via phone, in the 1 ½ months he's worked with us. Neil also assists with audio/visual support at the agency. Prior to working with us, he served for twenty years with the United States Navy; we're lucky to have his dedication and strong work ethic here at MLC. Neil says that he likes performing his job well so that other people can do theirs. He adds that all the people he has helped have been friendly and appreciative, making his job even easier and more enjoyable.

Neil is a lifelong library user who knows firsthand the importance of libraries. "Growing up of modest means, the library was a source of both knowledge and entertainment that otherwise wouldn't have been available. This is still true for many people today." Neil likes to read, but confesses that he hasn't read much for pleasure lately. "I'm just as likely to be reading a maintenance manual nowadays, but I've always been a fan of great fantasy series. Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series is one of my favorites." In his free time, Neil likes to mess around with computers and online gaming. He also loves motorsport.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Teachable Moment

The Mississippi Library Commission recently held Librarianship 101, an extremely comprehensive workshop for library paraprofessionals. This is the fifteenth year that the program has provided in-depth training in library law and ethics, library programming for all ages, collection development, readers advisory, and much more for those who want to better serve their home libraries. Librarianship 101 participants go through a nomination process; class size is limited to fifteen individuals. Nominees are service-oriented librarians who want to enhance and improve their community through their work at the public library. This is one of many continuing education options offered by MLC.

MLC Library Services Director Tracy Carr leads a session at Librarianship 101.
I've always admired people who can command the attention of a room. Keynote speakers at large conferences have always amazed me with their confident body language and their ability to stroll from one side of the stage to the other. I have never possessed that gift. I avoided speech class in college at all costs... no sir, no way, was this girl getting up in front of a room full of folks to talk about anything.

Over the years I have had to take the mic on a few occasions with a great deal of anxiety and stress.  That old statement about picturing the crowd in their underwear never worked for me. When I started at MLC, I was so impressed by the level of ease my colleagues displayed when presenting to groups of librarians. They are always funny, informative, and provide great handouts. I have learned so much from watching these guys.

Welcome by Hulen Bivins, MLC Executive Director

A participant introduces herself to the rest of the Librarianship 101 group.

The first day of 101 began with a welcome from MLC Executive Director Hulen Bivins, followed by introductions of participants. I could tell these folks were excited to learn and were going to be extremely entertaining.

Ice-breaker fun!
The group participated in a fun ice-breaker that involved getting creative! The rest of the day was information-packed with topics covering library structure and social media. They departed on day one with their minds and notebooks full!

On day two, MLC Library Development Director Lacy Ellinwood covered the topic of library programming and I followed up with public relations. The participants were in five groups; each group created a program and had to write a press release appropriate to send to the media. I felt like a proud mama: they all did an outstanding job writing their first press release. We also talked about creating a library newsletter and social media. It was a great day for someone who is terrified of presenting!

I talked about creating a library newsletter.

On the final day, they learned about weeding, statistics, and MLC's Talking Book Services. They went home with a certificate and, hopefully, a better understanding of the overall workings of a library. Congratulations Librarianship 101 graduates of 2018! Get out there and serve your communities!

2018 Librarianship 101 graduates

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Stories from the Road: Home of the King

Recently, I took a trip to Tupelo with MLC Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler. We rushed in, right in time for her Readers' Advisory training to begin. Once we were settled and she began sharing information with the group, I slipped out and checked out the Lee County Library. There it was... encircled in glass like the crown jewels... Elvis's library card application with this wonderful photo of him as a child. I was just mesmerized by this precious gem.

When I was growing up, holidays were spent at my grandmother's house. My dad, the oldest of ten, enjoyed spending Christmas Eve at her small house that would soon fill to the brim with our large family and many friends. The food would be overflowing because my grandmother loved to cook. She would be in the kitchen for hours planning for the onslaught of children, grandchildren, and other folks who would converge on her house to celebrate the season.

One of the things I remember most about those times was Elvis. My dad's six sisters loved Elvis and they spent Christmas Eve playing his holiday records on the big "something-like-wood" encased record player. They would all gather in the tiny living room (after a little too much holiday cheer) and dance like no one was watching. They would talk about their boyfriends, school activities, and other such things. Having had no sisters of my own, my aunts set the bar for my life ahead... and of course, Elvis.

After having my Elvis moment and paying homage to the King's library card application, I began checking out the rest of Tupelo's wonderful library. It boasts a really large, open space with colorful flags and art everywhere. There are lots of public access computers ready for use and the sounds of a children's program soon captured my attention.

I discovered a bunch of families involved in some fun activities over in the children's section. The families were enjoying themselves and I couldn't help but wish that those who wonder about the value of public libraries these days could be present to see why they are still so important. Providing a chance for grandmothers to connect with their grandchildren and stay-at-home moms the opportunity to enjoy some planned activities with other moms is an invaluable service for members of the community.

This trip also reminded me of the wonderful services the Mississippi Library Commission provides to public libraries across Mississippi. Library Consultants are constantly on the road to provide training, advice, a helping hand, and anything else that they can possibly do to provide assistance. MLC wants public libraries to be successful and to have resources that may not be readily available and our staff are ready and willing to help.

Special thanks to Jeff Tomlinson, the Director of the Lee-Itawamba Library System for being such a great host and for welcoming us to the home of Elvis and the Lee County Library. Until next time...

The King is everywhere!  This is outside Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen in Tupelo... they make a mean burger.
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