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Thursday, September 16, 2021

A Letter from Your Friendly MLC Archivist

Miranda Vaughn
Reference/Archives Librarian

Dear Reader,

While organizing the MLC archives, I’ve come across a number of letters, reports, etc. regarding programs and services the Library Commission has offered over the years. Some of these were standard library services, while others were quirky and creative. Since September is Library Card Sign Up Month (and since those magical library cards get you all kinds of amazing FREE services), I thought it would be appropriate to share a few of the programs and services MLC has offered over the years.

Throughout MLC’s history, we have collaborated with other organizations in the state to provide programs and services to library patrons across Mississippi. Beginning in the 1950s, the Library Commission offered training and resources to Mississippi’s Choctaw schools. MLC also assisted the Choctaw Indian Agency in setting up a bookmobile, pictured below. 

Mississippi Library News, September 1963

Thank you letter from Pearl River Indian School student

Thank you letter from Pearl River Indian School student

Through grants and partnerships, MLC has offered films, slide shows, and special performances to our public libraries. In the late 1970s, MLC partnered with Mississippians for Educational Television to offer puppet show performances by Puppet Arts Theatre’s Peter Zapletal to some of Mississippi’s public libraries. I came across some photos of these puppets. I think they could definitely be used for the next Tim Burton movie. What do you think? 

If you want to know more about the cool services and programs the Library Commission and Mississippi public libraries offered in the 70s and 80s, check out our digitized copies of The Packet.

Did you know that MLC had a catfish mascot? In the mid-1990s, MLC partnered with the Catfish Farmers of Mississippi to hold a “name the catfish” contest. The winner was Reada the Catfish. Reada made visits to Summer Library Programs across the state and was greeted with looks of astonishment and delight.

Clarion Ledger, November 12, 1994, p. 19

The 1990s brought another important service to Mississippi libraries: the internet. Not quite as imaginative but certainly more useful, the Mississippi Information Network (called MissIN) was created by the Library Commission to give internet access to libraries across the state.

The Library Commission continues to offer a variety of services and programs, which you can check out here. To learn more about the services we offer to public libraries, as well as unique services and programs that individual libraries offer, visit your local public library. Don’t forget to sign up for a library card, so you can access all these great services and programs for FREE!

All the best,

Your friendly MLC archivist

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