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Friday, June 28, 2019

MLC's MRB at NLS in DC

Talking Book Services Director Mary Rodgers Beal recently returned from a whirlwind training trip to Washington, D.C. While there, she attended National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Orientation, a training hosted three times each year for network librarians from across the United States. NLS is "a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or instantly downloadable."

A smiling woman takes a selfie with shelves of books in the background
TBS Director Mary Rodgers Beal at the Library of Congress

Mary Rodgers says that some of her favorite parts of the training were touring the NLS recording booth and experiencing the book recording process firsthand, learning more about talking book player repair, and the tour of the Library of Congress.

A large building with many columns says Archives of the United States of America. A guard stands at the doorway.
The National Archives and Records Administration building
Rows and rows of card catalogs
Did you know the Library of Congress still has a physical card catalog for part of its collection?
A circular desk with shelves in the middle sits in the middle of the room. Long straight desks with lights and people sitting at them circle this. Statues and archways surround the outside of the room.
The prettiest, most stately reading room in existence, found at the Library of Congress

Mary Rodgers also loved hearing from the book and magazine production team. "It was neat to hear all of the different parts of the process of picking which books to order and record and then how they go on and process the books in their catalog to share with the network libraries."

Sitting next to a lectern and microphone is a large banner that says free braille and talking books and has a picture of two boys using a TBS machine. A paper nameplate that says Mary Rodgers Beal is in the foreground.
NLS seminar
Mary Rodgers said that networking with other NLS staff was fun and informative, but that she was ready to get back to Mississippi to apply what she had learned. You can learn more about Talking Book Services here in the Magnolia State by visiting their webpage. Welcome back, Mary Rodgers!

Monday, June 17, 2019

New Albany Library Is Far From Ordinary

MLC Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler visited the Jennie Stephens Smith Library in New Albany, MS, a few weeks ago to conduct a site visit and attend their first summer library program of the season. Union County Library System Director Sissy Bullock oversees the system that caters to 27,000 people in this northeast Mississippi county. While the library offers a great selection of books, naturally, Sissy has found new and innovative ways to involve the library in this community and the community loves it.

Two smiling women stand with their arms around each other and facing the camera. They are outside at the front of a building. A sign next to them says Welcome Shellie Zeigler Mississippi Library Commission Bentley Burns Magician 3pm
Union County Library System Director Sissy Bullock and MLC Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler
Tanglewood Trail, a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project located on the old Mississippi Tennessee railroad line, runs right by the library. The library decided the community needed better access to the trail and began a bicycle checkout program. All of the bicycles were donated by local patrons and businesses and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services donated bicycle helmets. They even have a volunteer bike mechanic! Right now, their twenty-one bikes live inside the library, but the county is building them a storage shed right behind the building.

A collection of about twenty bicycles sits in the middle of a library.
Bicycles available for checkout at New Albany library

Bicycle helmets sit on top of library bookshelves. Books fill the bottom shelves.
Safety first! Each checked out bicycle comes with a helmet.
The library has also begun participating in the local "Biscuits and Jam" Farmers' Market. They truck their little trolley down the street on market days and pass out bookmarks, library card applications, and news about upcoming events. Want to learn about their summer library program? Head to the Farmers' Market!

A red wagon sits in the middle of a library. A sign on the wagon says library and colorful books are in the wagon. Books about gardening are displayed in front of the wagon.
Little Red Library Wagon
Speaking of their Summer Library Program, Shellie said the kickoff was a lot of fun. A slew of kids turned out to see Magician Bentley Burns perform a special space-themed show and a good time was had by all. If you're near Union County, you should drop by the library for more interesting and educative programming!

A man stands at the front of a room of people. They sit in chairs and on the floor and he is talking to them.
Magician Bentley Burns performs for a rapt audience.
A pile of books, all on Mississippi or written by Mississippi authors
These books were purchased with money from an LSTA grant.
Shellie also noticed this display of new books about Mississippi and by Mississippi authors. The purchase of the books was made possible by an LSTA grant administered by the Mississippi Library Commission. As a MLC Library Consultant, Shellie will check in on Sissy in New Albany again in several months, but will be back sooner if she needs advice or help with any issues. For right now, we love seeing the novel ways Sissy makes this library an essential community hub.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: J.D. Burns

Meet J.D. Burns, Circulation Librarian for Talking Book Services at the Mississippi Library Commission! J.D. circulates and maintains Talking Books cartridges, machines, and other materials, and assists with anything else needed in Talking Books Services. He began working for MLC less than a month ago, on May 20, and says that so far MLC has been an incredibly welcoming environment. "The staff is fantastic and the grounds and building are beautiful. I love the sense that, in some small way, I’m a part of helping get books into the hands of people who need them."

When asked his opinion of libraries, J.D. had this to say, "I love the overall concept of the library. In my opinion, access to the written word is one of the most important things in life, and the library gives that to people. Having access to so much knowledge, free of charge, is an incredible thing." J.D. loves to read. He geeks out on everything from historical non-fiction to sci-fi comic books. Recently, he has been reading through classic Dr. Strange issues from Marvel Comics and he constantly thumbs through his well-worn copy of Last Night of the Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski. When he's not reading or taking care of his five cats, you can probably find him with a guitar in his hands. "Music is a passion, and I’ve been playing guitar for close to 18 years. I play original music with a band and overall just love all types of music." J.D. also loves to cook and is always interested in trying new recipes and techniques.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Building Readers at Emily J. Pointer Library

Margaret Murray served the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) and libraries in Mississippi for twenty years before retiring in 2014. At the annual Mississippi Library Association conference in 2015, the Friends of Mississippi Libraries announced a grant honoring her work in the library community. The competitive grant advances library programming and literacy for Mississippi public libraries through activities sponsored by the local Friends of Mississippi Libraries chapters. Three $1,000 grant recipients are named each year.
Two smiling women stand in a library filled with shelves of books. One hands the other a check as they pose for the picture.
Como Branch Manager Amy Henderson receives the grant check
from Del Ann Billingsly, Treasurer of the Como Library Friends.
The Friends group of the Emily J. Pointer Library, a branch of the First Regional Library System, is one of this year's recipients. This library, located in Como, Mississippi, wanted to advance early literacy through collection development. Nearly 50% of children in this area perform below passing levels in language arts. Their goals were to attract and expose preschool age children to the alphabet and numbers in a fun way while keeping with current trends of collection development, especially with the inclusion of books featuring diverse characters. In their grant application, the group said, "By offering an appealing, up-dated collection of books to our young patrons, we hope to aid in the improvement of literacy levels in school age children."

Two women each hold several picture books. Many more are piled on a table in front of them.
Como Library Youth Specialist Veneda Ruby and Pat Hendren
show off some of the books ordered with grant funds.
Many congratulations to Emily J. Pointer Library and the children of Como, who will benefit from this grant for many years to come. Check back with us soon for more posts featuring this year's Margaret Murray Grant recipients!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Bobbie Green

Meet Bobbie Green, Purchasing Chief at the Mississippi Library Commission! Bobbie issues purchase orders and tracks property and assets for the agency. She started working for MLC just a few months ago, in March of 2019.

Bobbie thinks libraries are important because they help people achieve their full potential by providing them with near limitless knowledge. (We agree, Bobbie!) She likes to read YA series, as well as science fiction. Her absolute favorite series is Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush. When she's not reading, Bobbie loves to help out with Vacation Bible School and Bible drills at her church. She's a country girl at heart, one who loves to fish and ride four wheelers. She's also an avid racing fan. The thing closest to Bobbie's heart is spending time with her three boys, which she jokes entails much cooking.
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