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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Visit from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Jennifer Peacock
Administrative Services Director

The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) receives federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) through the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States program. In order to receive these funds, MLC must have a federal five-year plan in place that provides direction for how these funds will be spent. Once during each five-year plan, the program officer from IMLS assigned to Mississippi comes for a site visit. These site visits are three days long, with the first day at MLC viewing records and talking with various MLC staff about the goals of the Five-Year Plan and how they are carried out. The next two days are on the road visiting libraries that have received LSTA subgrants to see how the funds are used in the communities in Mississippi.

Five people, 3 men on the left and 2 women on the right, pose for the camera in front of a concrete block wall. An abstract painting hangs behind them.
From left, MLC Executive Director Hulen Bivins, IMLS Senior Program Officer Dennis Nangle, IMLS CFO Chris Catignani, MLC Library Services Director Tracy Carr, and MLC Administrative Services Director Jennifer Peacock

Jennifer Peacock, who serves as both Administrative Services Director and LSTA Coordinator, and Susan Liles, PR Director, accompanied the IMLS program officer for Mississippi, Dennis Nangle, and another IMLS employee, Chris Catignani, who was scheduled to be in town for an event on Friday, so he came early to tag along on the site visit.

Books sit on a small red book cart. On the side it says borrow a book.
Text to Checkout at the Bovina Grocery
The site visit consisted of seven stops covering the central part of the state and showed both small, rural areas with smaller library systems as well as larger systems. First was a quick stop in Bovina where a pilot program called Text to Checkout is located in the Bovina Grocery. The next two days encompassed stops at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library, Humphreys County Library System, Madison County Library System, Noxubee County Public Library, Mid-Mississippi Regional Library System, and Central Mississippi Regional Library System. In each of these systems, the directors were able to highlight the projects that LSTA funds had helped them to roll out over the past several years and explain the impact it had on their patrons and communities.

Two men and two women stand in the middle of a library talking
Chris, Dennis, and Jennifer with Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library Director Katrina Stokes
Two men look at the papers a woman is holding. A man with his hands shoved in his pockets is looking on from a distance. They're standing in a library.
Jennifer, Chris, and Dennis with Humphreys County Library System Director Sidney Cobb
A woman is talking to a man and using her hands to explain. He is studiously looking at her. Another man to the side stares off into the distance. They are in a library.
Madison County Library System (MCLS) staff David Jackson, MCLS Director Tonja Johnson with Chris
Two men and two women stand in a library talking. This library used to be a jail and still has the bars.
Noxubee County Public Library Director Shameka Conner with Jennifer, Dennis, and Chris
Two women and three women stand in a semi-circle in a library talking together.
Chris, Jennifer, and Dennis with Mid-Mississippi Regional Library
System Director Josh Haidet and Youth Services Librarian Lindsay Fitts
A woman is showing two men a sheet of colorful fabric. They are listening to her intently as she talks. They are in a library.
Chris and Dennis with Central Mississippi Regional Library System Director Mara Polk
Special thanks to Katrina, Sidney, Tonja, Shameka, Josh, Mara, and their staff for welcoming us and taking the time to help advocate for all Mississippi libraries by showing the importance of the federal funding MLC receives and the impact it has both statewide and in the local communities.

Two men and two women pose for the camera. They are all smiling. They are standing in a library.
Chris, Jennifer, Dennis, and MLC PR Director Susan Liles

Monday, September 23, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Gavin Gainey

Meet Gavin Gainey, Facilities Maintenance staff for the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC)! Gavin's job includes maintaining MLC's lobby and grounds, as well as smaller duties, like meeting room set up. Gavin has been working at MLC for a month, so give him a warm welcome if you see him.

Since he has started here, Gavin says that he is impressed with what MLC does to enable visually and print disabled readers to enjoy and participate in a love for literature. He continues, "Libraries make sure people have access to information and knowledge regardless of social status, age, or even disability."

Gavin says that he read more when he was younger, but that his favorite book has always been The Count of Monte Cristo. He is also a musician, photographer, and graphic artist. He loves listening to music, whether it's in the comfort of his home or in a live venue.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Welcome to the MLC Board, Becky Wright!

Join us in welcoming Becky Wright, president of the GFWC-Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs (MFWC), to the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) Board. A little bit of history: nearly 100 years ago, the MFWC decided that every county in the state needed their own library. In fact, when MLC was officially created in 1926, the house bill that was submitted and approved specifically stated that the president of the Federation or a member recommended by her would always be a member of the Board. (1) MFWC is a fixed and integral part of Mississippi library growth and development and we're extremely pleased to have their continued valuable support.

Becky's local public library is the Jesse Yancy Memorial Library in Bruce. Not only is she a big library fan, but she has been a library volunteer for many years. She has shared books by reading them to students at local schools, but she is most involved with their Brown Bag Luncheons. She says she loves the opportunity to get to know local authors and make them welcome in their community. Bruce is a small town of about 2,000 people, but they've been able to entice some big names. Tom Franklin and Ace Atkins were just two authors whom she loved meeting at the library.

Becky and her husband own and operate the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Bruce, Mississippi. She brings a wealth of experience to MLC's Board: she has been actively involved with the Bruce Chamber of Commerce for 25 years and has served on their board for 22 years. Becky has seven grandchildren and says that one of the things she wants to accomplish while on MLC's Board is "making sure that libraries are always open and available. My grandchildren and their peers always need to have a place to go to learn, especially in cases where they don't have the means to gain information anywhere else." She adds, "Funding for libraries is something we always have to keep pushing for. Our organization will not hesitate to lobby for the continuance of full funding each year."

Becky has been most impressed with MLC's programs and achievements. She thinks the agency's goals are commendable and really likes that MLC staff is consistently out in the state, visiting libraries, training front-line librarians, and being available for consultations. MLC's Talking Book Services has also blown her away; their readiness to speak about the program to local clubs and service groups is a huge plus in her book. She is also excited about the Mississippi Book Festival and MLC's involvement with that from its inception. Regretting that she wasn't able to attend this year's festival due to a prior commitment, Becky pledged to make it to next year's event.

Congratulations on joining the Board of the Mississippi Library Commission, Becky Wright!

(1) A History of Mississippi Libraries, edited by Margarete Peebles and J.B. Howell
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