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Monday, July 22, 2019

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

For most of us, stepping outside our comfort zone is difficult and stressful. I like to be challenged and to experiment with new technology, but I am intimidated by things that are difficult for me to understand. I recently faced this dilemma and it really sent me into a tailspin.

The executive director of MLC told me earlier in the year that he would like me to start a podcast for the agency. I knew absolutely nothing about podcasts and the prospect of creating one sent me way outside my comfort zone. There is a whole lot more to podcasting than I ever imagined!

I had no idea where to begin, so I requested that MLC purchase some books on podcasting, read a lot of articles, and spent several months researching ideas. I listened to some incredibly good podcasts, a lot of average podcasts, and some exceptionally bad ones, all of which gave me concrete ideas about what would work best for MLC. I reached out to my peers across the country to see who's podcasting and I received lots of great feedback from them. (Thanks, ALA PR Talk!) I did a few test runs in the beginning that were bad... really bad. No one in their right mind would listen to my first efforts unless they needed a good nap! The biggest challenge was coming up with an interesting story line for my show.

About six weeks ago, with some additional input from colleagues, I worked out a plan that has serious potential. Once our executive director signed off, I hit the road for my first interview... then my second. I am on my way to creating an informative, interesting, and, hopefully, successful podcast for MLC and I can't wait to share it with all of you.

The moral of this story: never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. You can accomplish anything you want with outstanding results through a little bit of research and planning.

P.S. Be on the lookout for the podcast in the coming months! More details to follow soon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Not Even the Sky's the Limit!

Do you have a great idea? Have you thought of something innovative and extraordinary? Something unique and useful? If you are an inventor, an entrepreneur, or an innovator, you need to get to know the Patents and Trademarks division of the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC). For over twenty years, MLC's Patent Librarian Lawrence Smith has been assisting people in the know research patents and trademarks.

One such patron is Martin McCurtis. Many years ago, Martin was waiting for his then-fiancée to finish at the beauty salon. After seeing how uncomfortable she was after an hour under a hooded hair dryer, he was astonished that her hairdresser said she needed at least another hour before her hair would be dry. He had what he called a "God breathed" moment and got to work. Once finished with his design, he visited Lawrence at MLC to find out more about trademarks and patents. Lawrence pointed him in the right direction and now Martin holds the patent for the Momentum Hair Dryer. (You can read more about his hair dryer in this Mississippi Business Journal article.)

Two men sit in a room with a computer and smile at the camera. There is a black and white picture on the wall and a very large book is open on the desk.
Lawrence Smith and Martin McCurtis in MLC's Patent and Trademark search room

While Lawrence is always available to assist patrons, representatives from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office, and the Mississippi Small Business Development Center will be here tomorrow, July 10, for a special Patent and Trademark Workshop. The workshop runs from 8:30-4:30. Sign up through our Survey Monkey link and join the ranks of those innovators who have gone the extra step to make their inventions reality. Not even the sky's the limit!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Remembering our Mississippi Heroes

Two of the most influential figures in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement were born on the same day only three years apart. Aaron Henry entered the world on July 2, 1922, in Dublin, Mississippi; his friend Medgar Evers was born July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi. Both men were Army veterans and college graduates. Both were members of the NAACP and fought for the civil rights of African-American citizens in Mississippi, whom the white population segregated, disenfranchised, terrorized, and murdered. Evers was assassinated in his driveway when he was only 37. Henry became a long-time member of the Mississippi House of Representatives before passing in 1997.

The covers of "The autobiography of Medgar Evers" edited by Myrlie Evers-Williams & Manning Marable and "Aaron Henry of Mississippi"  by Minion K.C. Morrison

To learn more about Medgar Evers, check out:
  • For Us, the Living
    Myrlie B. Evers
  • The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero's Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches
    edited by Myrlie Evers-Williams and Manning Marable
  • Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr
    Michael Vinson Williams
  • Never Too Late: A Prosecutor's Story of Justice in the Medgar Evers Case
    Bobby DeLaughter
  • Medgar Evers
    Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • Medgar Evers
    Mississippi History Now
To learn more about Aaron Henry, check out:
  • Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator
    Minion K.C. Morrison
  • Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning
    Aaron Henry
  • Aaron Henry
    Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • Aaron Henry
    Mississippi History Now
If you're in Mississippi, consider a field trip to:
Both of these Mississippi heroes and icons deserve our attention and our respect. Join us in honoring their memory and their accomplishments. Happy birthday, Mr. Evers and Representative Henry!
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