Tuesday, June 30

Did you know...

That the library system has the Mississippi Encyclopedia Online?

During our Covid-19 break, we got the opportunity to refresh our minds on everything that the Central Mississippi Regional Library System has to offer.

If you look on our Virtual Reference page you will find the Mississippi Encyclopedia.

Mississippi Encyclopedia is everything Mississippi, from A to Z.

This online version has all the same material in the book version of The Mississippi Encyclopedia, with some new information, with additional videos and images. 


Did you know...
Mississippi governor Haley Barbour declared 2 April 2004 Mildred D. Taylor Day?

The towns: Shieldsboro (Bay St. Louis), Pass Christian, Mississippi City, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Pascagoula (East and West)—were known as the Six Sisters?

Mississippi had four base or main prisoner of war camps: Camp Clinton (Clinton), Camp Como (Como), Camp McCain (Grenada), and Camp Shelby (Hattiesburg)?

Mississippi beauty and barbershops occupy an enduring place in both southern society and culture. Eudora Welty set “Petrified Man” in a beauty shop, and William Faulkner used a barbershop as a backdrop in “Dry September.”

Local legend held that the name Jitney Jungle resulted from a printer’s error in the first newspaper advertisement that transformed Jingle to Jungle? According to W. H. Holman Sr., however, the name was a play on slang terms of the early twentieth century. Jitney was a popular name for the cheap taxis many customers used to travel to the store as well as a slang term for a nickel, thus echoing the firm’s slogan and advertising emphasis on saving money: “Every Jitney would be a jungle of bargains that could save the customer a ‘jitney’ on a quarter.” The Jitney partners estimated that customers could save 20 percent based on the cash-and-carry policy and self-service design, a viewpoint that inspired the longtime Jitney Jungle slogan, “Save a Nickel on a Quarter.”










Wednesday, June 24

Adventures in Freegal

During time at home during quarantine, we librarians were tasked with sharpening our skills--I personally watched and took notes on dozens of hours of webinars to continue thinking about ways we can improve our library service. The other thing we were asked to do during this time was to really get familiar with our digital library resources.

I myself had only been part of CMRLS for a month before the quarantine began, so I was really excited for this opportunity to really take a step back and look at what we had to offer. (No harm in looking on the bright side, right?) One of my favorite things I found, which I had not previously looked into much, was the digital music service Freegal.

Now, just to set expectations properly: Freegal is not Spotify. It doesn’t have everything available you could think of. But, unlike Spotify, it doesn’t have any annoying ads or make you pay for a subscription. And, for the time being during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has changed from 3 hours of streaming a week to UNLIMITED streaming.

And don’t worry if you’re not at your computer--it has an app ready for your phone. All you need is your CMRLS library card number and your PIN number.

But maybe you’re like me: not really all that into streaming. I like to download my music to my computer, and put it on iTunes, so then it’s stored on my phone. That way, I don’t have to use data to stream, and I don’t have to worry about it’s availability. If so, here’s my favorite part of Freegal: 5 free downloads per week!

It’s hard to tell what will and won’t be on Freegal, but I have to say, sometimes in the fun of discovery that I look forward to. In late March, I started a Jimmie Rogers kick after seeing his music on the soundtrack to the Ken Burns’s “Country Music” documentary from last fall. After perfecting my Blue Yodel, I downloaded a couple of Beyoncé songs I had been meaning to get for a while. I downloaded “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lovely Day” when we all mourned Bill Withers’ passing. One of my favorite country musicians, Jason Isbell, has his new album available on Freegal after releasing it in mid-May.

Sometimes, though, the fun is in finding--or reminding yourself of--music that you would have never thought about. I heard about the calypso folk styling of Alexander D Great when I heard his song “Maya Angelou” in the old CMRLS playlist “Book It,” listing a bunch of crazy songs with literary influences.

At least for me, music has always been a source of healing and comfort, among other things. I know a lot of people feel this same way. Freegal is an excellent, free source of satisfying your musical cravings during this unusual time, and it’s available to you through the use of your CMRLS library card!

Tuesday, June 16

Library Services Update


June 15, 2020

Dear Valued Library Patron:

On behalf of our entire family of libraries, we want to thank you for your support during the past couple of months. While our doors were physically closed to you, our Central Mississippi Regional Library System Board of Trustees and Library Team was committed to providing digital services which included access to eBooks, Databases, eContent, free Wi-Fi at all branches. We are grateful that you have continued to support us from a distance. Because of your support, we have been able to promote safety for our communities and our library team. We sincerely appreciate your vast loyalty and look forward to having you visit our libraries again soon.

What has been happening behind the scene at CMRLS Libraries? While not only getting your libraries ready to open and keeping everyone safe by quarantining and cleaning books, managing computer updates and cabling, moving the Mize Library, a new AC system at the Flowood Library, creation of policies and procedures for prolonged closing and reopening during a pandemic, and much, much more; the CMRLS staff have attended more than 2,530 webinars and self-paced classes ranging from the available CMRLS online resources to Top Ten Skills for Teaching Tech to Patrons.

We kindly ask that you refrain from visiting our libraries if you have any symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea), if you have had a fever of 100.4 in the past 48hrs, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID19. Additionally, we request your participation in our social distancing practices to safeguard our CMRLS team and patrons. Thank you for your assistance in this matter!  Libraries will follow all local guidelines to open at specified capacity rates. Below is a list of policies and operations that our libraries will be following, along with estimated dates of when each location plans to reopen.

·         Programming
o   In-person library programming, such as but not limited to story times and book clubs, will not be offered until further notice. We are offering virtual programs!  Visit us on our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CMRLS.Libraries/.
·         Library Staff
o   The Library Team Member is required to undergo a series of health screening questions before entering the building. Those showing any signs of symptoms or fever are prohibited from entering the library.
o   Library Team Members are required to wear protective masks and gloves with frequent glove changes and hand washing.
o   Library Team Members are provided proper training and guidance on safety protocols and steps to minimize the spread of COVID19.
·         Library Services
o   Curbside Services include material pick up and return.
o   All book drops are open.
o   All returned materials are quarantined for 14 days. All fines and fees will be waived. Materials should not appear on patron’s account after 14 days of quarantine. This will not prevent further checkouts.
o   Appointments can be made at libraries to use study tables and computers. Study tables and computer stations are seated at least 6ft apart from one another.
o   Availability of computers will be limited. We will adhere to thirty-minute sessions to allow for others to use computers. Free Wi-Fi can be accessed on the outside of the library building.
o   All libraries are offering Curbside Document Delivery Services such as printing, copying, and faxing for a fee. Wireless printing is available at select branches: Flowood, Pearl, Magee, Mendenhall, Forest.
o   Notary services are available for a nominal fee at the following branches: Flowood, Harrisville, Magee, and Mendenhall libraries.
o   Meeting room use and study room use are discontinued until further notice
 ·         Library Cleaning
o   Tables, chairs, and other library surfaces are sanitized after every use.
o   High-touch areas such as doorknobs, screens, restrooms, etc. are sanitized frequently throughout each shift.
o   Antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer are readily available for Library Team Members and patrons in the libraries.

We will continue to closely monitor the recommendations of local health departments and authorities to ensure we are serving you in the safest way possible. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have continued to prioritize the health and well-being of our library team members and library patrons. Thank you for being a CMRLS patron!  Be safe and be well. 

Warm regards,


Mara V. Polk
Executive Director

Friday, June 12

Spotlight on a Mississippi Author

Charlie Spillers


Spillers graduated from Magee High School in 1963 and spent three years in the U.S Marine Corps before embarking on a 42-year career in law enforcement including serving three tours in Iraq for the Department of Justice as the Justice Attaché for Iraq and as an Attorney-Advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal. Working full time and going to college off and on, he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a business degree in 1981 and from Ole Miss Law School in 1986.


This true story of an ex-Marine who fought crime as an undercover cop, a narcotics agent, and finally, a federal prosecutor spans a decade of crime-fighting and narrow escapes. Charlie Spillers dealt with a remarkable variety of career criminals, including heroin traffickers, safecrackers, burglars, auto thieves, and members of Mafia and Mexican drug smuggling operations. In this riveting tale, the the author recounts fascinating experiences and the creative methods he used to succeed and survive in a difficult and sometimes extremely dangerous underworld life.

As a young officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department, ex-Marine Charlie Spillers first went undercover to infiltrate criminal groups to gather intelligence. Working alone and often unarmed, he constantly attempted to walk the thin line between triumph and disaster. When on the hunt, his closest associates were safecrackers, prostitutes, and burglars. His abilities propelled him into years of undercover work inside drug trafficking rings. But the longer he worked, the greater the risks. His final and perhaps most significant action in Baton Rouge was leading a battle against corruption in the police department itself.

After Baton Rouge, he joined the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and for the next five years continued working undercover, from the Gulf Coast to Memphis; and from New Orleans to Houston, Texas. He capped off a unique career by becoming a federal prosecutor and the Justice Attaché for Iraq. In this book, he shares his most intriguing exploits and exciting undercover stings, putting readers in the middle of the action.
You can find a copy here.

Spiller's first fiction is Whirlwind: A Frank Marsh Novel.

A drone strike in the Golan Heights kills an Iranian Quds Force general.  In retaliation, terror cells are sent to the U.S. When a member of a terror cell dies in an auto accident, FBI agent Frank Marsh discovers that an attack may be imminent. Based on vague clues, he and Kathy Foster try to figure out where terrorists plan to attack. At first, sparks fly between Frank and Kathy because of an issue from their past. Their investigation is also hampered by bureaucratic obstacles, turf battles among agencies, and treachery. They become outcasts from their own agencies and no one listens when they discover the possible target of a pending terror attack.

Frank discovers that someone in Washington is providing information to the terror group. In Tehran, Marwan, the commander of a Quds Force assassination unit, realize Frank and Kathy are a threat to uncovering the traitor and he targets the couple for assassination.  Gripping intrigue propels Frank, Kathy, and Marwan to a final confrontation.
You can find a copy here

Friday, June 5

Summertime at Brandon





We have been busy here at Brandon getting ready for our virtual Summer Reading Program and decorating our library for when our wonderful patrons come back.



Our Summer Reading Program starts on June 15th through August 7th. You can find our virtual Summer Reading Program on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CMRLS.Libraries/.  Each age group has its own group discussion page that we will share all information regarding that week’s program.  Do not forget to sign up on BEANSTACK at https://cmrls.beanstack.org/ where you can win prizes when you participate in our reading challenges!
Cannot participate in our virtual program? No problem! Our Children’s Librarians have been working hard on creating craft kits that you can take home. 

Take a look at our Summer Reading banners!   Stay Tuned for more pictures of our library as we get ready to help you "Imagine Your Story"!







Tuesday, June 2

While we have been away

Patrons of the Magee Library are in store for some changes when we all return. While the patrons have been out of the building, we have been doing a lot of cleaning and checking the collection.

The adult graphic novel is off to its self. We moved the blue rays to the shelving unit behind the shelf in the picture. 

Books on CD have more space!
Movies have been moved to the front area to give us an opportunity to expand the area if needed. 

Home of the Large type collection
Biographies and Nonfiction have been shifted and dusted.
We cannot wait for our patrons to start coming back into the building! And please remember that if you need help locating anything, the staff will be available to assist.


Tuesday, May 26

June Greetings

June Greetings from the Reservoir


Greetings from the Northwest Point Reservoir Library! The staff of the library has been hard at work getting the library and all of our materials ready for our patron's return! We are so excited to begin curbside services at select branches within the Central Mississippi Library System.


Curbside services

The Library has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic however, we do have curbside services at the following branches: Pearl, Flowood, Richland, Raleigh, Magee, Mendenhall, beginning Tuesday, May 26th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We hope to see all of our patrons during this new program!

Library services during continued lockdown. 

While the library may be closed, we continue to encourage our patrons to enjoy the many services that are still available. Such services include free wifi in the parking lot and on the back deck, ebooks from the Axis 360 app, Flipster, Tumblebooks, Freegal Music, FReading, and many others! We also encourage our patrons to walk on the Reservoir Botanical Gardens and walking trail located across the parking lot.



We hope to see all of our patrons soon! We know that these have been unprecedented times in our nation's history but we also know that we will overcome it.

Check it out!

We bring it too you! Now that is what I call service.
Today seven of Central MS libraries (Raleigh, Magee, Mendenhall, Forest, Pearl, Richland, and Flowood) will start curbside service for you.
I know you have been missing your library materials but now you can get that next book you wanted to read or that movie you have been waiting to see.
It is simple, just place a book on hold or give us a call, and we will pull the book for you. When you pull up to the library, call the library and we will bring your books. Yes, you will need your library card. Have it ready when you call. You will need to drop all returning materials into the book drop. We can't wait to serve you!

Wednesday, May 13

Library Services Update


May 12, 2020
Dear Valued Library Patron
On behalf of our entire family of libraries, we want to thank you for your support during the past couple of months. While our doors were physically closed to you, our Central Mississippi Regional Library System Board of Trustees and Library Team was committed to providing digital services which included access to eBooks, Databases, eContent, free WiFi at all branches. We are grateful that you have continued to support us from a distance. Because of your support, we have been able to promote safety for our communities and our library team. We sincerely appreciate your vast loyalty and look forward to having you visit our libraries again soon.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we have continued to prioritize the health and well-being of our library team members and library patrons. As we enter phased reopening plans in our branches, we want to inform you of the practices and safety protocols we are following to ensure our libraries remain a safe place to work and provide library services. Below is a list of policies and operations that our libraries will be following, along with estimated dates of when each location plans to reopen.
We kindly ask that you refrain from visiting our libraries if you have any symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea), if you have had a fever of 100.4 in the past 48hrs, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID19. Additionally, we request your participation in our social distancing practices to safeguard our CMRLS team and patrons. Thank you for your assistance in this matter!
  • Libraries will follow all local guidelines to open at specified capacity rates.
  • In-person library programming, such as but not limited to story times and book clubs, will not be offered until further notice.
  • The Library Team Member is required to undergo a series of health screening questions before entering the building. Those showing any signs of symptoms or fever are prohibited from entering the library.
  • Study tables and computer stations are seated at least 6ft apart from one another.
  • Availability of computers will be limited. We will adhere to thirty-minute sessions to allow for others to use computers. Free Wifi can be accessed on the outside of the library building.
  • Curbside Document Delivery Services such as printing, copying and faxing are available for a fee. Wireless printing is available at select branches: Flowood, Pearl, Magee, Mendenhall, Forest.
  • Notary services are available for a nominal fee at the following branches: Flowood, Magee, Mendenhall
  • Library Team Members are required to wear protective masks and gloves with frequent glove changes and hand washing.
  • Tables, chairs, and other library surfaces are sanitized after every use.
  • High-touch areas such as doorknobs, screens, restrooms, etc. are sanitized frequently throughout each shift.
  • Antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer are readily available for Library Team Members and patrons in the libraries.
  • Library Team Members are provided proper training and guidance on safety protocols and steps to minimize the spread of COVID19.
  • Meeting room use and study room use are discontinued until further notice.

CMRLS has a plan for our libraries. The first part of the plan includes opening Book Drops and offering Curbside Services. During this phase, patrons will not be allowed to enter our libraries.

Book drops at selected locations will be open starting Monday, May 18, 2020 (at the following locations: Floyd J.Robinson Memorial Public Library (Raleigh, MS), Forest Public Library (Forest, MS), G. Chastaine Flynt Memorial Public Library (Flowood, MS), Magee PublicLibrary (Magee, MS), Mendenhall Public Library (Mendenhall, MS), Pearl PublicLibrary (Pearl, MS), Richland Public Library (Richland, MS)). All returned items will be quarantined for fourteen (14) days in the designated and approved area in the library. The returned items will be in quarantine. Items will remain on the patron’s account until the quarantine period is completed. However, it should not hinder the patron from borrowing more items.



We will continue to closely monitor the recommendations of local health departments and authorities to ensure we are serving you in the safest way possible.


Warm regards,


Mara V. Polk
Executive Director

Monday, May 11

Read Outside Your Comfort Zone


Why do you read? For companionship? for inspiration? to stimulate your imagination? for growth? We all have different reasons why we read. Some enjoy one specific genre: romance, suspense, fantasy, self-help; others thrive on variety. One might prefer first person narratives while others like to get into the minds of all the characters. Some visualize the characters and setting; others do not. We are quite a kaleidoscope when it comes down to our individual preferences.

Let me ask you this: Do you ever read with diversity in mind? Diversity, for most of us, brings to mind different races but that is just a part of diversity. Diversity can be a different culture, a different lifestyle, a different religion, etc. Reading a novel about New York City is diversity if you live in small-town America, because everyday life can be quite different for a big-city dweller versus one in a small town. Picking up a novel with characters of another race is diversity. Some books are culturally generic. They might have a cast of diverse characters, but the plot does not differ regardless of who the characters may be. Other books are culturally specific and the plot reflects diversity.

It is a challenge to me at times to read a culturally specific book because I don’t see myself in the story; however, I read on outside my comfort zone because I know these books expose me to a larger world and open my mind. I see that people that are different than me have many of the same thoughts and feelings I do but also it fosters understanding for our differences.  For this reason, I push on and try new titles. In the past few years, reading The Hate U Give provided many insights into concerns African American mothers have for their teenage sons that I never had for my two boys when they were teens and Every Falling Star opened my heart to the plight of the average citizen in North Korea. Recently, I watched a TED Talk entitled “The Danger of a Single Story.” The speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is less than 20 minutes and I would encourage you to watch it if you are on the fence about diversity in literature.


Give it a try. Find a novel by a foreign author or with a plot that is different than your world. Encourage your children to read about different cultures and races. Acceptance comes with understanding and what a better place we would live in if we viewed our differences with an open mind.

Tuesday, May 5

Fun at Home

So, here we are. Day #?, I do not even remember.  One thing I do know is that we miss our library kids. Some we see on a more regular basis than we do our own family. At Magee, our Branch Manager Frances Meadows tells us that she wants the people that come in the library to feel like family when they leave.

That made me think about how I am spending my time at home with my family.  We have spent time together playing games. Board games and cards are our favorites. When we do, two things always happen. We smile and we laugh. Sometimes, we laugh a lot! This has made me remember the times that I spent as a child playing games with my family. Good memories to have.

As you try to find things to do during your time at home, how about playing games with your family? Maybe you will find out who is most competitive or silliest or something you never knew? Board games, cards, make up your own, just spend some time playing. Hopefully, you will have as much fun as I am having with my family.

When this is over, we look forward to seeing all of our library "family" again. Maybe we can talk Frances in to hosting a whole day of games? I know that will be fun!

Tuesday, April 14

Your Own Backyard

In the past several weeks, I find myself outside around my home much more than usual. My back porch is a relaxing place to read or work on library activities on my computer. In the mornings, it is such a beautiful time listening to the birds sing and call to each other. There's also an abundance of squirrels playing and chasing each other up and down trees onto limbs you would never think could support their weight. I hope during this time you have found a sanctuary like mine to drink coffee, read, reflect.

Listening to the music of the birds calling, I became curious about the birds I could not see that were singing. What kind of bird was making that beautiful sound? After a little looking around on the Internet, I found my answer. Below is a link to a Mississippi State University website with Mississippi birds and their calls. In the event you, like me, are curious about some of our Mississippi bird calls, I thought I would share this resource with you. Sitting out at night, I now know the eerie calls I hear are those of the Barred Owl.


While we have all been challenged during the past several weeks, it is wonderful to embrace the beauty of things around us during our social distancing time. Hope you find the birds in your backyard from this list.

Wednesday, April 8

Social Distancing


Social isolation or social distancing as it is called involves keeping at least six feet away from another human being and avoiding groups exceeding 10 in number. It sounds like my social life in college.

Solitary confinement or shelter-in-place is another term that is becoming common in the lexicon. It reminds me of the days when I had to stay at home and watch television because I did not have the money to go out on a date with a pretty girl who would let me pay for her meal, and then choose to keep her social distance from me.

If not for these past social experiences, I might not have adapted so quickly to these unusual times, the new normal.

I used to enjoy the single life of eating, sleeping, watching television, reading, and exercising. I appreciated the overall peace and quiet. Today I live in the country. My nearest neighbors are far, far away. That's a good place for them.

I remember Y2K, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and 2012. I began doing research on the more viable disaster theories. This pandemic gives me the opportunity to test my preparation plan which has been years in the making.

One final bit of terminology I would like to share today is the definition of the word, "Covidiot." It's a derivative of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) nomenclature. I always try to be more kind with my words, but there is a pandemic going on and these are serious times. A "covidiot" describes a person who does not acknowledge social distancing or shelter-in-place protocols. He or she may not even realize that there is even a problem at all. This person may also have a habit of hoarding the essentials that other people desperately need; toilet paper, for example. Such an attitude can be extremely dangerous.

Beware of "covidiots." They tend to carelessly walk within a few feet in front of you and they may or may not have a persistent cough.

Not everyone is on board with social distancing.

Be careful out there.

Tuesday, April 7

What To Do?

All across our state, people are home. Adults are working from home and kids are doing distance learning for school. All this time at home eventually leads to the Teenagers' favorite cry, "I'm Bored!"

Well, Magee Teens and Tweens, be bored no more! The Central Mississippi Regional Library System and your favorite Youth Services Librarian Mr. Matt have got you covered!

Missing the chance to come to the library and find a good book? Then download the Axis360 or Freading app. They both have bunches of good books to read on your smart device or even listen to them.  You can also go to the CMRLS website and read books online through the Tumble Book Library. There is even a good selection of graphic novels. All you need is your library card number and pin.

Wait, you don't have a library card?!?! Go to the CMRLS website and click on the services tab to sign up for a digital library card! Once things return to normal, you will be able to come to the library and get a physical library card. 

Maybe you do not want to read. How about a magazine? Download the Flipster app and browse the selection of popular and specialty magazines. 

Maybe you need a dance party! Download the Freegal app and get your jam on. This free music app allows you to download 5 songs every week. During this unusual time, you even get unlimited streaming. So to quote Kevin Bacon from the classic "Footloose", Let's Dance!

All of this should keep you busy for a while. But, if you just need something different, try a scavenger hunt. I know, we have to stay home. Then do a picture scavenger hunt. Some friends of mine did one last week and it looked like a lot of fun. Here is what you do. Make a list of different kinds of pictures to take with your phone. Some examples could be a group photo with everyone cross eyed. Posing with a "duck" while making duck lips. A picture of something blue. Well, I think you get the idea. Then, send the list and photos to your friends so they can play too. Post them on your social media sites and see how many people you can get to play along. 

Please remember that through all of this, we miss seeing all of you every day at the library. We hope that very soon we will see you again. Until then, be safe and stay healthy!



Saturday, April 4

Library System Continues to Serve During COVID-19 Outbreak

All branches of the Central Mississippi Regional Library System (CMRLS) are currently closed to the public, but many of the library’s digital resources are still available online during this time of social distancing.


CMRLS has created a remote “digital library card” sign-up option to ensure that library cards can be issued to those who want to access digital materials and services while they are at home. To sign up for a digital library card, or to reset the PIN number on an existing library card account, users can visit cmrls.lib.ms.us and click on the tab “Services” and be directed to complete the online application.

The library has a Virtual Reference Collection page, located at https://cmrls.lib.ms.us/digital-library/virtual-reference-collection, to make it easy for users to access all its digital content in one place. Regular updates are posted to this page, including links to additional free educational and informational content. Users will also find links to the library’s Axis360 eBook service and Freading where cardholders can access eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, and more.


Library staff members will be working to possibly offer virtual children’s story times, and regular updates to its social media pages to share useful and interesting content. Virtual story times will be available through the library’s Facebook page and Instagram pages. Users can find the library on Facebook (CMRLS.Libraries), Twitter (CMRLSLibrary), Twitter (CMRLSTeen) Pinterest (CMRLSLibrary), Flickr (CMRLS Photos), Instagram (CMRLSLibraries).


CMRLS also wants library users to know that all materials checked out from the library have been extended to May 4th and that no overdue fines will be charged during the library’s closure. Library book drops are also closed, and patrons are being asked to keep their checked-out materials until the library reopens.


“Acting on advice and recommendations from the CDC, Governor Tate Reeves, the Mississippi Library Association, and Mississippi Library Commission, nearly all public library systems in the State of Mississippi are currently closed,” said CMRLS Executive Director Mara Villa Polk. “Even so, the decision to close was a tremendously difficult one to make, and we really miss our
patrons. I am proud of our library team member’s efforts as they continue to engage with the community in a safe and responsible way while working to improve and adapt library services during this crisis.”


The Central Mississippi Regional Library System serves Rankin, Scott, Simpson and Smith Counties. Patrons can contact the library via email at: custsvc@cmrls.lib.ms.us or by calling 601-825-0100.

Tuesday, March 31

Some thoughts on social distancing


The following is adapted with permission by Sheri Cornett from
somethoughtsbysheri.wordpress.com

As we socially distance from each other for the physical well-being of our community,
May we remember the importance of meeting together.
We are thankful for the tools such as social media and cell phones
That allow us to communicate with each other when we are not in each other’s physical presence.
May we love each other well.
Use this time,
To renew your people.
May this time of peace from social engagements
Bring us closer to our families
And closer to times of rest.
May we remember those who have been socially distant for years,
The elderly, the chronically sick, those with disabilities that make it hard to attend events.
May we learn what their lives are like and come through this
With greater compassion and understanding
And intentionality in our love for them.
May we not grow complacent in our love,
And our compassion,
Instead, may we grow and learn.
As we consider the physical well-being of our community,
May we be prayerful and humble
As we worry about our own well-being and the well-being of our loved ones,
May we be open and generous,
Not hoarding, but giving, as your spirit would teach us.
And may we do nothing out of fear,
But Love, Love, Love.

Wednesday, March 25

Getting Ready for Quarantine

The Coronavirus has been impacting the world since December 2019 with cases climbing on every continent except Antarctica. Some government officials downplay the seriousness of this pandemic by telling us not to panic or that it is not as dangerous as the regular flu which kills thousands of people every year.

Whenever I hear something like this I'm reminded of a direct quote from John Cusack in the movie 2012 released by Columbia Pictures, "When they tell you not to panic, that's when you run!"

There are several movies and television shows about pandemics that one can refer to that do not include mutant zombies: Contagion (2011), Outbreak (1995), Survivors (1975-1977), Survivors remake (2008-2010), Jeremiah (2002-2004) and others. If you really want to crank this up a notch to something more realistic, then the docudrama, After Armageddon (2010) (available online) will put everything into perspective. 


The Spanish Flu lasted for two years from 1918-1920 and infected 500 million people worldwide in a world of nearly 2 billion with a fatality rate of at least 50 million. According to World Book Online, "the Spanish flu killed at least 600,000 people in the United States and 20 million to 50 million people worldwide."

If it comes down to quarantine, preferably at home, do you have water, food and reading material? Have you refilled your medical prescriptions? This will be a good time to catch up on your reading. Maybe I will have time to work on my taxes.

There are books on survival that you can read such as, How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times or Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You're on Your Own by James Wesley Rawles. He also has a blog online available to the public called SurvivalBlog.com

The LDS Preparedness Manual by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a comprehensive study guide on food storage and disaster preparedness. It is available online.

Remember grocery stores maintain an inventory for three days thanks to our Just In Time (JIT) inventory system. After a crisis event it will take about three days for things to begin to get ugly. It has been said that society is only 72 hours away from anarchy.

When this pandemic comes to an end, we will hopefully be better prepared for the next crisis that comes our way.

Tuesday, March 24

Having Trouble Finding Titles to Check Out on our Magic Wall?

Several months ago, I was set to travel for several days and wanted several audio books to listen to during my road trip and several eBooks to have reading material while I was gone.  A confession: I still prefer to hold a book in my hands to read. Reading off a screen is okay but given a choice I will almost always opt for a physical book. Over the past several years, though, I have discovered how wonderful it can be (and lighter too!) to download books and audio onto a device when traveling. Anyway, back to my trip. When I tried to download items, I got extremely frustrated because I put in umpteen titles and always got the result to get in the queue because the item was checked out at the moment. Has that happened to you? Getting put on the hold list is great and easy; however, if you are looking for something to read right now, it can be annoying. Allow me to show you something I discovered. This is the screen you see when going to our Magic Wall.



With one minor change, you can see all titles that are available for immediate checkout. Under the Availability tab, change All to Available Now and the items displayed are available right now. Under format, you can also limit your results to Audio or eBook. 




For those of you that have never tried an eBook, let me encourage you to give it a try during this time that our libraries are closed. It may not be your preference, but it's an alternative that will allow you to read new material during this time. We certainly miss all our patrons and hope we will be able to see you face-to-face soon.


Monday, March 23

A Book Review for Times Like These

Last year, I received this book as a birthday gift. The book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, is written and illustrated by Charles Mackesy. The book was also selected as the 2019 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year; however, I wonder if it might be an insightful message for the COVID-19 world that we witness today.

Our CMRLS director, Mara Polk, sent out an email on Friday confirming another week of library closings and requested that branch managers "keep up the CMRLS blog." She suggested that we do book reviews, share things we could do while at home, DIY, etc., and then she ended the email with this statement, "You're doing the best you can, when you can, and how you can," which is exactly the message of this book.

When reviewing an adult book, it is easy to discuss character development, realistic settings, strength of plot, conflict and resolution, audience appeal, appropriate genre or writing skills; however, when reviewing books with illustrations, such as children's books or graphic novels, you have to not only read but see. These pages belong to Charles Mackesy -- the words, illustrations, and copyright; but the message belongs to us all.

I was reminded of the book over the weekend when one of Forest's hometown authors, Jan Risher, posted an illustration on her Facebook page and then followed-up with her weekly column for The Acadiana Advocate. I read the column and shared it to my own page, then I decided to review the book for the CMRLS blog.

Here's my book review of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy:

My first reaction to the book was...Huh? I don't get it. How was this book selected as Barnes and Noble Book of the Year? And it's written for adults? Do any of the libraries in our system have this book? I called my daughter who also bought herself a copy and asked for her thoughts. She had the same reaction. Are we missing something? Three days ago, I re-read it after seeing the post, and I realized that the book is a rare literary masterpiece. That morning, I showed up for class at the school of unlearning.
"The greatest illusion," said the mole, "is that life should be perfect."
-Charles Makesy
I am so grateful that I am reviewing this book today and not three months ago. My reviews would have been completely different because today our lives are completely different. The words on each page are not simple, they are profound. As we face the most indescribable world crisis, this book provides lasting lessons. Life is not perfect. How we react to things is a freedom. We can't control the big things, but we can love what is right in front of us.
"One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things." 
-Charles Mackesy
"When the big things feel out of control...focus on what you love right under your nose." 
-Charles Makesy

"Life is difficult but you are loved." -Charles Makesy

A book review is so subjective. I read hundreds of book reviews each year, as does every librarian who is responsible for ordering books for their patrons. The reviewers for journals and magazines try to convince us that their reviews are completely objective, but they rarely are. We all have these elevated notions that we are completely unbiased. No. We are still human. What we read and how we read depends on many personal factors. This book is small by adult fiction standards - not much text, mostly illustrations - and yet my adult heart grew three sizes reading it again this weekend. Three months ago, I was enjoying a birthday trip to booksellers, eating out at a favorite restaurant, and shopping at specialty stores. That was three months ago, not today.
"When the dark clouds come...keep going." -Charles Makesy
"This storm will pass." -Charles Makesy

"We have such a long way to go," sighed the boy.
"Yes, but look how far we've come," said the horse. 
-Charles Makesy

"I think everyone is just trying to get home," said the mole. 
-Charles Makesy

Last week, one of our "home" assignments was to watch webinars and tutorials to improve our library skills. I watched a webinar entitled Finding the Heart of Library Service. The webinar ended with a quote from Ram Dass, an American author of the book Be Here Now: We're all just walking each other home. So much of our world is quarantined at home, trying to stay safe, and avoid COVID-19. Businesses and schools are closed. Libraries are closed. Home has a new meaning for us all. We play music, we read books and exercise (and try new recipes), we post encouraging quotes, we find ways to be generous and supportive, and we show kindness.

One library in the CMRLS system has a copy of this book, cataloged as an adult graphic novel. (No, it's not Forest.) As soon as we librarians get back to reading reviews and ordering books, this book is going to the top of my list as highly recommended..if for no other reason than times like these.