Wednesday, May 15

Mississippi Driver's Manual Available at the Flowood Library

Every morning when I get up and go to work, I often pass by Troop C in front of the prison where people are tested for their driver licenses. There is often a big long line stretching out into the parking lot at least one hour before opening. Even with all the advances that have been made in processing driver licenses, people are still left standing in the cold.

Things have gotten more complicated since that day when I went to get my driver license in 1983 in Tennessee. I was 16 years old and I was nervous as I prepared for this rite of passage of getting my first driver license. I passed the written test which was on paper; kiosks hadn't been invented yet. My vehicle passed inspection; the brake lights worked. I got into the car, let the examiner get in, buckled up, pulled out of the parking lot, proved I could come to a complete stop at a stop sign, got on the interstate, got off the interstate, returned to the parking lot and received my driver license. Then my parents wouldn't let me drive for the next four months.

Life is tough when you're 16 years old.

I have driven all over the country in the decades since I began my driving experience. Never had an accident. Been pulled over a few times, but never given a ticket. Even though I've tried to drive safely, I have sometimes had some close calls with careless drivers and reckless drivers and carelessly reckless drivers. Nothing like that experience of having to make a split second decision to avoid an accident because someone is not paying attention.

Driving habits have changed in the last 40 years. In the morning people are in a hurry to get to where they don't want to go, such as the workplace. It's much the same routine in the afternoon rush hour.

Road rage has become more common on the roadway in the last 20 years. Driver in a vehicle accelerates and cuts off another driver. A horn is blown. Someone yells the old familiar profane syllables or other common expletives. Universal hand gestures are exchanged, but I reckon that's better than gunfire. Traffic continues on. The local constabulary does not see the incident. They do not appear unless there is an accident or a speed trap or a driver license checkpoint or a president or presidential candidate needs an escort and traffic needs to be backed up for a few hours.

I still remember my experience back in 2014 when I exchanged my Alabama driver license for a Mississippi driver license. I entered the building and encountered a state trooper who clearly did not want to be there. That's okay. I didn't want to be there either.

I stated my business, used the touch screen computer and went to sit down and wait and wait and wait for my number to be called. I had my eyesight tested. They transferred my motorcycle privileges from my Alabama driver license; I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, but Alabama was giving this privilege to everybody back in 1986, so Mississippi gave it to me. They asked me if I wanted to register to vote; I declined so I could avoid being called for jury duty. They took my picture and sent me on my way with an eight year driver license which I plan to renew sometime in the future online.

Even though the facility was overcrowded, I was impressed with the way they sent people where they needed to go as quickly as they could. People in need of taking a test would go into a separate room and take the test on a kiosk. Others would go outside and take a drivers test. I'm grateful I didn't have to take a written or a driver test.

I stepped outside and went to get my car inspection permit. I pulled into this garage and the mechanic on duty slapped an inspection sticker on my windshield. I paid my five dollars and I was on my way. I guess he didn't notice or didn't care that I still had my Alabama license plate on my car.

I went to get my license plate and paid an exorbitant amount of money for my license plate in cash.  They don't accept out-of-state checks from local banks. Finally, I was licensed and registered to drive as a resident of Mississippi.

There is so much that goes into getting a driver license in the State of Mississippi. One would think that by earning a driver license, one would remember that there are traffic laws that need to be obeyed and followed to operate a motor vehicle safely. Too many drivers ignore these traffic laws and drive their cars without fear of impunity.

I've seen cars pass on the double line on a country road, involve themselves in near miss head on collisions in the same lane, tailgate, pass on the right shoulder of an interstate, speed up a small hill to the point of going airborne, pass a car only to slow down and make a turn in front of the same car, blow a horn or lean on a horn at a whim, speed up and run a red light with reckless disregard for human safety, burn rubber spinning back wheels in circles or donuts at the end of a road, hit a ditch and flip over. This is my experience while driving in Mississippi, and I think we can do better.

So many drivers in Mississippi are in need of a refresher course on driver safety. A Mississippi Driver's Manual is available at the Flowood Library. A free Driver's Ed Program is offered at

This morning I passed by Troop C Driver License Headquarters. I saw people standing in line to get their driver licenses, talking to each other and staring at their cell phones.

Will successful candidates for driver licenses learn that when they sign a driver license, they are signing an agreement that they will obey the traffic laws? Will new drivers realize that driving is a privilege and not necessarily a right?

Let's have a safe driving experience as we get ready for the summer travel season.

Tuesday, May 7

May Happenings at the Rez

Summer Greetings

Summer is almost here.  The librarians at the Northwest Point Reservoir Library are excited that summer is just around the corner! We are also excited that our yearly Summer Library Program is fast approaching as well.  We have been very busy putting the finishing touches on our 2019 Summer Library Program, A Universe of Stories. We hope that all of our patrons will come to the fun and exciting events we have planned this year!
The Lady Auto Mechanic

Join us in the parking lot of the Northwest Point Reservoir Library at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 7th as we welcome Allison Walker, better known as The Lady Auto Mechanic.  Allison who is an ASE certified mechanic and the host of MPB's AutoCorrect will be showing us many car related repair techniques such as changing a tire, checking the oil, checking the cabin air filter and many more helpful tips!  This is the perfect time to get the old family truckster ready for the big road trip or even just get the car ready for a trip to the local grocery store! 
Zombie Awareness Month
Have you been following the news lately? The signs are everywhere! Be alert and be prepared as we ring in Zombie Awareness Month. Stop by the Northwest Point Reservoir Library to see our display on how to fight the undead when they rise!
Memorial Day closing
All CMRLS Libraries will be closed Monday, May 27th for the National Memorial Day holiday. Business hours will resume Tuesday, May 28th.

Loose Knit Group 

Are you a master knitter who is looking for a group of new knitters to whom you can pass your knowledge? Are you new to knitting and looking for a group of master knitters to pass on their knowledge to you?  Join us at the Library for another meeting of the Loose Knit Group. The group meets every Tuesday, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., as we work on our own projects and share our knowledge of knitting and crocheting.

Summer Bird Watching

Are you interested in the various kinds of birds that live around the Ross Barnett Reservoir? Are you wanting to see if there are any feathered visitors from other parts of the country? Come by the Northwest Point Reservoir Library during the month of May to take part in our daily bird watching! We will have binoculars for patrons to use to watch for the different breeds of birds that call the Ross Barnett Reservoir home as well as those who are only stopping for a brief in-flight rest.

Movie Matinee

Are you prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse? If you had to leave in the event of a zombie attack would you be prepared? Join us Thursday, May 23rd at 11:00 a.m., for a special Zombie Awareness Month showing of the hit movie World War Z produced by Paramount Pictures, rated (PG-13), and running for 1 hour, 56 minutes. Free popcorn will be provided while supplies last. 

End of School Pizza Party

Are you out of school for the summer?  Are you wanting to get summer started off with a party but not sure where to go? Come to the Northwest Point Reservoir Library on Thursday, May 30th from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., for free pizza, as we kick off Summer 2019! 

Mugshots Family Trivia Night

Are you a trivia master looking for your next game to dominate? Are you entirely new to the game of trivia and want to learn how it is played? Join us Tuesday, May 21st from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Mugshots of Flowood, for another exciting evening of good food and even better trivia! Free Rotel Dip will be provided courtesy of Mugshots of Flowood! We cannot wait to see you there!

Keep the Rez Beautiful Nature Walk 

 Are you ready to spend time in the warm summer sun after spending months inside this past winter? Join us Wednesday, May 15th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., as we kick off the summer with some outdoor fun. We will tour the Reservoir Botanical Gardens with Jeannine May from Keep the Rez Beautiful.  Along the way, we will see the many different kinds of natural habitats that the Botanical Gardens have to offer. Feel free to bring your own binoculars to view the many animals and plants. 

High Noon Book Club

Join us Thursday, May 16th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., for another exciting lunch hour of fine dining and fine literature as the High Noon Book Club has its May meeting! We will be having a "Book Report" meeting. All participants are encouraged to read the book of their choice and then give a brief summary of it and tell why they liked or disliked it.   All ages are welcome and encouraged to bring their own brown bag lunch. Deserts will be provided.

Closing Remarks

We hope that all of our patrons have a great month of May! We know that this summer will be the best summer ever, filled with great memories you can look back on fondly years from now. While you are out making memories we also hope that you will stop by the Northwest Point Reservoir Library and attend the many fun and exciting events that we have planned for this summer.

Book Clubs...A Great Opportunity to Connect

When I was a little girl, I remember living in a neighborhood where we knew a lot of the families. My sisters and I played with the neighborhood children, and my mother was friends with the mothers of those children. About once a week, all the mothers would get together for coffee and conversation. I was not privy to most of those conversations but I feel certain they revolved around the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood. In the rush, rush of life today in this digital age in which we live, we often don’t take the time or find the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful pastime. If you are interested in adding this activity to your schedule, might I suggest joining a book club.

We started an adult book club at the Pelahatchie branch over five years ago. In that time, we have read and discussed over 60 books in many genres, but the most important thing that has happened for this group is they have connected personally with each other. During a typical meeting, the ladies will discuss the book they have read but also chat about the highs and lows of caring for an ill husband, the frustrations of growing older, the differences in their grandchildren’s generation and theirs, and, yes, occasionally politics. At one time or another, each of the ladies has spoken to me about their connection with this group and how important the time spent together is to them. Outside of the library, these ladies rarely see each other, but when they are here, they know they are among friends.

So if you’re looking to connect on a closer level, consider attending one of the book clubs in our system and check it out for yourself. The dynamics of groups are different so you might consider trying more than one until you find the right place for yourself. Click on the link to locate the book club meetings available in May. I counted 16 within our library system.

In the Keyword field, type in Book Club and click on Search to illuminate all book club meetings available in May.

Monday, May 6

Craft programming at the Pearl Public Library will "bowl" you over!


Bowls are the star of this month's Simply Crafts program, Tues. May 7 at 6 p.m.! Come make decorative bowls using balloons! 

How fun and easy! Just blow up a balloon, tie it and glue on festive decorations! Then deflate the balloon and voilà, a creative bowl!

There will be an assortment of colorful items to choose from such as beads and buttons. If you want, you can even paper mache the balloon and then paint on your favorite color(s)!  

Hey, it's a free, adult program that lets your creative, artistic juices soar!!!

You just can't beat that, right? RIGHT!

Remember the Simply Crafts program, at the Pearl Public Library, is every first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m.

Keeping in line with colorful creations how about painting glasses. That's what this month's How-To Tuesday program on May 21 at 6 p.m. is all about! The sky is the limit, so let your imagination go wild! How-To Tuesday is every Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.

Don't miss out!

We'll see you there!

Thursday, April 25

May Events at the Morton Library

Every Tuesday we have Preschool Story Time
at 10:30 a.m.
Be sure to bring your preschoolers to sing,
dance and listen to stories

This month's themes are:
May 7th Mother's Day
May 14th Machines at Work
May 21st Fingers and Finger Paints
May 28th Dragons

The events for K-4th grade are:
May 9th @ 5 p.m. We will be making Mother's Day cards
May 16th @ 4:30 Come join us for Tween Movie Night
We will be playing " The Incredibles 2"
Produced By: Walt Disney Pictures
Rating: PG
Run time: 1 hour, 58 mins
This event is free.

May 23rd @5 p.m. We will be having Family Game Night!

Tuesday, April 23



Families are invited to join the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program at their local CMRLS Library. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is a nationwide challenge that encourages parents and caregivers to regularly read aloud to their children. By reading just one book a night, and it is okay to repeat books, families can reach the 1,000-book goal in three years and provide their children with essential early literacy skills.

Research shows that the most reliable predictor of school success is being read to during early childhood. Reading to children from an early age can help close the vocabulary gap and prepare children to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed. Most importantly, sharing books with children promotes a lifelong love of books and reading.

This year-round program means that there is no start or finish date. You begin when you wish and read at your own pace. There are no fees and you may check out books for your child on their very own FINE FREE library card. Your library also has a phone app so that you can easily keep track of the books you read to your child -- even if you read the same book again, and again! When you have read 1,000 books together or your child begins kindergarten, your library can print for free a list of the books you have read together and a completion certificate for your records.

When asked about this program, CMRLS Director Mara Villa Polk said, “Reading with your children is a legacy that will remain with them for a lifetime.  I have two children under the ages of three.  I read to them before they were born and since then they have displayed excitement and joy for books and reading with me.”

The program is free, the library card is free - and FINE FREE, and you can keep track of your progress on your phone, tablet, or computer. You will have given your child the priceless beginnings of a skill they will use throughout their lifetime and a skill they can share with the next generation.

For more information on 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten and your child’s FINE FREE library card, visit or call your local CMRLS library. Contact information, location, and hours of operation can be found at or call 601-825-0100. Central Mississippi Regional Library System serves the public libraries and the more than 216,000 citizens of Rankin, Scott, Simpson, and Smith Counties.

Wednesday, April 17

Mugshots Trivia

Mugshots Trivia, an exciting contest where patrons gather to test their intellectual skills, meets at Mugshots Restaurant in Flowood, MS once a month, every third Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. to play for Mugshots Restaurant gift cards.

First prize winner will receive a $15 gift card. Second prize winner will receive a $10 gift card. Third prize winner receives a $5 gift card. Fourth prize winner will receive the satisfaction of playing the game while eating good quality food.

As for myself I receive practice in front of a live audience with my public speaking skills. Don't worry. Unlike some of the generals and colonels I knew in the Army, I try to speak well and say something. I try not to waste time and I get to the point.

People gather for the free family fun and with a coupon enjoy free Rotel Dip.

Mugshots Trivia is a library outreach program. It can be a challenging game to play for patrons, but it is also a challenging game to prepare for.

I am one of two branch managers with the responsibility of providing a reasonably challenging trivia game that is both intellectually stimulating and fun.

On my team I have a trivia gamemaster available to assist me in preparing the questions. These questions are often seasonal. For example, last night the theme was Easter, so Easter-related questions were asked. I never knew the Easter Bunny originated in Germany. I review these questions to determine the level of difficulty. I don't want anything too hard or too easy. Everyone needs a reasonable chance of getting the question correct.

The trivia questions are incorporated on a Power Point slide presentation to be displayed on a monitor. It's easier if people can read the questions.

I take a voice amplifier speaker system and attach it to my belt. The Loft, where the game is played, can be noisy with people talking downstairs and music and sports games playing in the background. I also tend to be soft spoken.

"Testing, Testing." The patrons give me a thumbs up letting me know they can hear me.

Then the game begins.

I ask the questions and give everyone time to answer on a slip of paper. I gather the slips of paper and hand them to my assistant. She compiles the score.

At the end of the game we generally know who the winners are. But, sometimes we have a tie and have to have a Bonus Round of questions. First team to get a question right wins.

At the end of the contest people continue with their meals and enjoy the Mugshots Restaurant atmosphere. I pack up my belongings and start to move towards the exit. As I leave the Loft I talk to a few people, but I want to leave everyone to enjoy their meals.

It is astounding that we can get so many people out on a Tuesday night to come and test their intellectual prowess.

A question comes to mind on what we can do to grow this program further.

Should we offer bigger prizes? Should we change the location? Should I ask Miss Mississippi to come and read the questions?

We continue to look for new and innovative ways for our patrons to enjoy their Tuesday evenings at Mugshots Restaurant.

Wednesday, April 10

Tax Day Approaches

Tax Day Approaches

Have you finished your taxes yet? Don't put it off. You can pick up copies of federal and state tax forms at the Flowood Library. We have a surplus of forms. Plenty to go around.

It's been said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. This statement is roughly attributed to Benjamin Franklin. I have a friend, a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, who would probably disagree with this statement. In the place of "death and taxes" he would say that the two certainties in life are "alimony payments and child support" but that's another story.

It used to be that tax forms could be picked up at the local post office. I don't know why this had to change and become the sole responsibility of the local library. Whatever the reason the library had to step up to this new challenge.

The library has the responsibility of having tax forms available, so that our patrons can complete their taxes without having to go to the internet websites to retrieve them. Tax preparation can be done on computer, but some of our patrons prefer having the booklets and forms in hand. Using a computer can still be a challenge for a lot of people.

As for myself I do my taxes the old fashioned way. I shake my head, crack my knuckles, and put my mind in tax mode. I can see why taxes can be "taxing" on the mind. There's a lot that goes into it. Everything has to be laid out on a table. I have to have peace and quiet and no distractions. I thought the government promised to make these forms less confusing. Of course, if they did that, then we wouldn't need accountants.

Some of our patrons would rather not print their forms off of the computer. I can understand that. However, some forms are special, so printing them off the computer is often necessary. The library is required to charge .20 cents per page for every copy printed.

So, to avoid the task of printing off the computer, our library system makes every attempt to ensure these tax forms are ordered and available to the patrons when they are needed. We are not always successful at getting the federal forms in a timely manner, but we are improving.

I know some of our patrons might want help completing their taxes, but I will have to refer that to your local accountant. Not all of us are tax experts. We're not allowed to view your personal information. We must respect your privacy.

April 15, 2019 is rapidly approaching. If you want to work on your taxes on Sunday, please keep in mind that the library is closed on Sundays.

Also remember that we no longer have 1040EZ or 1040A forms and booklets in the tax system. We only have 1040s. We have 1040s in surplus.

I preferred the 1040EZ. It was something I could understand.

Hay Caramba! I owe the State of Mississippi $3.00. Ouch!