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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

University Press of Mississippi Starts 50th Anniversary with Cake at the Mississippi Library Commission

logo for university press of mississippi stylized u p m and 50
Steve Yates
Associate Director, UPM

The University Press of Mississippi (UPM) turns 50 in 2020. Founded in 1970, UPM is the only university press and the largest publisher of any kind in Mississippi. Its twenty employees work on the fifth and third floors of the Paul B. Johnson Tower diagonally across campus from the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC). The press began with two employees publishing seven books in its first year. In 2020 it will publish eighty-five new books. UPM is proud to represent the people of Mississippi and its eight sponsoring state universities.

Friday, January 24 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., the press will sponsor cake and giveaways at the MLC, and an array of food trucks will be on campus selling food as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Welcome to the World of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the many reasons I enjoy working at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) as a Reference Librarian is the constant flurry of information that finds its way across my desk. There's always something new to learn, no matter how much I think I know about a subject. We receive more questions about certain areas than others, so my knowledge about genealogy and Mississippi history, for instance, have burgeoned in comparison to my knowledge about, say, pop icons. (Sorry, BeyoncĂ©!) The 91st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth is today, January 15, and the  official observance of the day is Monday the 20th, when MLC will be closed. I realized that I have learned a lot less about Dr. King's life and work than I have our homegrown Mississippi civil rights icons, like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vernon Dahmer, and Anne Moody. I hustled myself to the shelves!

MLK bust posed with 5 books about MLK on a shelf

These are just a few of the many books and resources I found here at MLC to check out and peruse:
Sometimes I want more than just a book, funny as that may seem for a bookworm, so I decided to browse the Library of Congress's website to see what they have. Y'all. I stumbled across this half-hour documentary called A Time for Freedom. It's about the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom and features the first King speech to a national audience, the Give us the Ballot speech. Dr. King appears at the 24:07 mark.

They have even more interesting entries about this inspiring leader, so be sure to take a look at their catalog here. You're going to want to check out these excellent Internet resources as well.
I hope you've enjoyed this quick dip into the world of resources libraries offer about Dr. King. There are events planned across the state for Monday, so check with your local library or chamber to find out what's on tap. There's even free admission at the Two Museums January 18-20! Happy birthday, Dr. King!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Holiday of a Lifetime

What do you get when two state agencies partner to host a holiday event? Holiday of a Lifetime!
The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) recently partnered with the Mississippi Film Office (MFO) to screen the Lifetime holiday film Christmas in Mississippi at three of the state's libraries.

The partnership came about when Library Consultant Louisa Whitfield Smith brilliantly reached out to Nina Parikh with MFO to see if there was some way to show off Mississippi communities that go all out during the holidays. Christmas in Mississippi was filmed in Gulfport in 2017, and highlighted the annual event Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival. Featuring an all-star cast, the feel-good Lifetime Channel holiday movie even addressed the challenges of dealing with the aftermath of a devastating hurricane and the resilience of Mississippi coastal residents. It is hoped that this partnership will serve as an opportunity to secure another Lifetime Channel holiday movie that will be filmed in the state

The three Mississippi libraries that agreed to participate were the Canton Public Library, the Laurel Jones County Library, and the Columbia-Marion County Public Library. MLC worked with library staff to create special promotional graphics, and facilitated a community question and answer time  about what makes their town special during the holidays that was held after the film screenings.

The Canton Historic Courthouse on the Square
Madison County Library System Director Tonja Johnson and her team were excited to showcase their lovely town decked out for the season. They partnered with Canton Tourism and used it as an opportunity to draw visitors into local businesses by offering discounts from participating merchants. The film was shown in beautiful Canton Historic Courthouse located on the square.

The Laurel-Jones County Library was decked out for the holidays!

A large group of kids from Laurel enjoyed the screening.

The community of Laurel has experienced a great deal of notoriety since the HGTV show Home Town began and the library has been a bustling place ever since! This booming community makes the holidays a very special time for their residents, and the library is no exception. Popcorn and warm apple cider made watching the film an even more enjoyable experience.

Showtime at the Laurel-Jones County Library

The Marion County community of Columbia was the third location for a film screening. Called the "Most Magical Christmas Town in Mississippi," Columbia goes the extra mile when it comes to getting into the holiday spirit. Train rides, ice skating rinks, and visits with Santa himself are all a part of this fun and festival holiday treat. The film was shown at the Marion Theater and a community gathering was held afterward at the Marion County Development Partnership offices.

Nina Parikh with the Mississippi Film Office capturing the beauty of Columbia all decked out for the holidays.

Special thanks to MFO for partnering with MLC to celebrate the holidays by bringing families together and to the libraries that participated in the fun and festive film screening.
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