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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lusia Harris, Mississippi Basketball Queen

Elisabeth Scott
Social Media and Reference Librarian

Lusia Harris
Delta State University, The Broom, 1977

Mississippi's queen of basketball, the one and only Luisa Harris, passed away earlier this week. She was a world-class pioneer of the sport, an Olympic medalist, and an NBA draft pick. She helped redefine how people view basketball, especially basketball played by women, and doubly so by Black women. I've always found her story inspirational: she was a force on the court and gave back to her community as a coach. She had grace under fire and she rose above the barbs people slung her way, concentrating only on basketball and her education. There aren't any biographies solely about her yet, but there are some great books about girls on the court out there that I think you should know about. Check them out at your local Mississippi public library!


Allie's Basketball Dream
Barbara E. Barber, author
Darryl Ligasan, illustrator

This 1996 picture book is perfect for girls who dream of playing basketball, but are either intimidated by boys who play or told they can't play because they're girls. You'll cheer for Allie when she makes her first shot. I bet Lusia would have loved this book!

Pippa Park Raises Her Game
Erin Yun, author

Imagine Great Expectations, only Pip is a Korean-American girl who loves to play basketball. That's right! Grace Yun has updated Dickens's classic in this 2020 middle grade book that is no whining--I'm looking at you, Pip--and all heart (and basketball!)

Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball
Pamela Grundy and Susan Shackelford, authors

As this 2005 young adult book will tell you, women have been playing basketball practically since the sport was invented in 1891. If you want to explore girls playing ball, this is the book for you. Lusia Harris and her Delta State team are prominently featured in the chapter "The Fight for Title IX".


Full-Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the World
Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith

Did you know that a team of Native women playing basketball was one of the main attractions of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis? While this book lacks something in the way these women and other Indigenous peoples were treated as a whole, it is a fascinating look at women playing basketball and beating the pants off men. I think Lusia Harris would approve.

Inspired to learn more about Lusia herself? Don't miss Inaugural Ballers, coming this fall. (Yes, that's Harris with her Olympic medal, fourth from the left.):

Monday, January 3, 2022

Meet MLC Monday: Evan Theilman

 Elisabeth Scott
Reference and Social Media Librarian

Meet Evan Theilman, Patron Services Librarian and Readers Advisor in the Talking Book Services Department at the Mississippi Library Commission. Evan helps patrons select digital books, as well as responding to any concerns or questions they may have. He also assists in downloading books to cartridges for patrons. Evan holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Mississippi. 

Evan began working at MLC December 1 and says he enjoys working for an organization that's motivated by helping people rather than being purely profit-driven. When asked why he thinks libraries are important, Evan responds, "Libraries provide everyone with access to information that used to be the domain of the wealthy. They're a great tool you can use to better yourself for free."

Evan spends a fair amount of his free time reading, especially science fiction and fantasy novels. Even though it falls into neither category, his favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. When he's not reading, you can find him building models, cooking, and playing video games and RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons.

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