Thursday, December 1

Morton Library - Growing Stronger Every Day


The Morton Public Library was first opened in the 1930s. The library was located in one room above Morton City Hall.  It was once said that they had a desk but no books!  Books were supplied in the 1930s by the  WPA.  After this funding, the library was sponsored by the Morton Climbers Club.
These women were members of the Mississippi Federation of Women's Club, which in 1925 pressed for library service in every county in the state.  The club adopted the city library as their main project with each member being challenged to collect and donate books.

 In 1952, the boards of supervisors in Hinds, Scott, Rankin, and Simpson counties established the Capital Area Regional Library and agreed to support a cooperative library.  Scott County Libraries began a bookmobile service.  Raymond served as headquarters for the Morton Branch.
In October 1986, Hinds county decided to become a separate library system and became the  Jackson-Hinds Library System.  Rankin, Scott, Smith, and Simpson counties formed the Central Mississippi Regional Library System which is made up of twenty branches.

On January 22,1991, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for an addition to double the size of the Morton Library. Fundraising for the addition began in the fall of 1987 with many events.  Pledges, memorials, and honorariums played a major role in the fundraising efforts. Local businesses and industries made up the bulk of the money. On November 17,1991 the dedication of the 2,486 square foot addition was held.  

In October 2022, we received funding from the City of Morton and the Friends of the Morton Library to remodel the interior of the library. We received new flooring, paint, furniture, and lighting.  The flooring was made possible by the City of Morton and the paint and furniture were provided by the Friends of the Morton Library and was made possible through fundraising events.

We are extremely proud of our library and know our services will continue to grow to further enhance the quality of life for all our patrons.

Wednesday, November 16

Pelahatchie Public Library - A Little Bit Truth, A Little Bit Tale

The definition of folk tale is “a story originating in popular culture, typically passed on by word of mouth.” Part of the history of libraries in Pelahatchie could be defined as a folk tale, because this writer was unable to find much irrefutable evidence but quite a bit of “this is what I remember” from local town residents.

What is known for sure is the library has been a part of the Central Mississippi Regional Library System since its inception in 1986. At that time, the library was located in town in a small building off Highway 80. On January 14, 1991, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new 1,600-square-foot building to be located on Highway 80 (where the Masonic Lodge is today). This project was a joint venture of the Rankin County Board of Supervisors and the Town of Pelahatchie. The library remained in this location until moved to its current location in 2009. In 2009, the town added on to an existing community center to establish a new library facility in Muscadine Park. The new library was larger and included a meeting room allowing for larger program attendance. It opened on February 13, 2009, the same date the town museum opened and the Mississippi Blues Marker tribute for Rubin Lacy was revealed. Recently, the Town of Pelahatchie updated the library facilities by installing new signage and replacing the carpet in the main area with laminate flooring.

Prior to 1986 is the start of our folklore. Patrons tell me in the 1940s books could be borrowed in the rear of a local merchant’s store. Memories include a bookmobile that stopped in town on a regular basis. At some point, a small library might have been established on Rankin County school property, but there was an issue with flooding so it was moved into town. The town has had a number of librarians through the years. One gentleman mentions Marjorie Murray, who he remembers from when he was a child in the early 1950s. He tells me she was the town librarian and her husband worked at the railroad depot. They both walked to work each morning.   Altus Rhodes was the librarian at the time of the 1991 groundbreaking, and Janice Gailey was the librarian when the current facility was under construction.

Several months ago, a picture appeared on social media that showed the front of the post office here in Pelahatchie from around 1940. In the photograph, Pelahatchie was spelled Pelahatchee. It sure started some conversations around town about when and why the spelling of the town’s name changed. When you have a reference question, where do you go? To the library, of course. After researching old newspapers, interviewing senior citizens in the area, and searching resources online, we never did discover exactly why the town name's spelling was changed. We did find that from 1859 through 1890, the post office was Pelahatchee Depot; from 1890 through 1950, it was Pelahatchee; and on December 1, 1950, the spelling was changed to Pelahatchie.

From the history of the local library to the spelling of the town’s name, two somewhat inconsequential events in the grand scheme of things, it has become apparent to me how important it is for us to document our history. You just never know when someone will want to discover more. Let’s leave it for them to find.                                              


Wednesday, November 2

Raleigh Public Library - 79 Years Old and Learning by Susan Cobb, Branch Manager

 The Raleigh Public Library was started in 1943 by the Raleigh Woman's Club. The library was in a room in the Crumpton Insurance building. The town of Raleigh paid the rent for the room where the library was located. The State Library Commission furnished the library with furniture and books. Members of the Federated Woman's Club acted as Librarians.

In 1952, the Board of Supervisors in Hinds, Rankin, Scott, and Simpson Counties established the Capital Area Regional Library System.

In 1963, Smith County became a member of the Capital Regional Library System and Raleigh had a paid Librarian.

In 1965 the home of Mrs. Floyd J. Robinson was given to the town of Raleigh for a Library by her two daughters, Mrs. Sarah R. Mitz and Mrs. May R. Killibrew.

The dedication of the library was on March 21, 1965.

Capital Area Regional Library System merged with Jackson Metropolitan Library System in 1973, where 500,000 books were available by request. These books were delivered every Wednesday afternoon by a station wagon from Jackson. It took one to two weeks for the requests to be at Raleigh Public Library. The Librarian worked 20 hours weekly in the library.

In 1978, the Floyd J. Robinson Memorial Library was built on its present site. It was a part of the Jackson Metropolitan Library System. 

In October 1986, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, and Smith County formed the Central Mississippi Regional Library System. 

At the present time, 20 libraries are part of the Central Mississippi Regional Library System. 

The Floyd J. Robinson Memorial Library is located at 150 Main Street in Raleigh, Ms. Our hours of operation are Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. closing for lunch from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m.  We look forward to you visiting our library. Our contact information is 601-782-4277 and feel free to contact me at 

Our library has survived World War 2 to the present day with COVID. We look forward to serving you at Raleigh Public Library. #cmrlsraleigh

Monday, October 17

Brandon Public Library- We've come a long way!

 Brandon Public Library- History Personified (Look How Far We've Come!)

by Amy Lee, Brandon Public Library Branch Manager

The City of Brandon is chockfull of history.  Today, Brandon, Mississippi is currently paving the way for today's modernized society.  A valuable gem of this charming southern town, withstanding the true test of time, is the Brandon Public Library.  Located off of West Government Street, the Brandon Public Library is conveniently nestled between the older and newer parts of the city, providing the ideal meeting point.  The sleek, modern building, built and designed in 2003 for multipurpose use, has been the bridge of connection to endless possibilities. 

While today's current library facilities have been around for almost two decades, what many of you may not know is the fascinating history behind them.  Specifically, "once upon a time...," this library was not the shiny, gorgeous "house of learning" that serves us today.   Here's a bit of a backstory...


The oldest records trace back to 1830 when the City of Brandon had humble, simpler roots.  In 1830, an academic learning group, called the "Brandon Library Society" was formed.  Later, in the 1970s,  the Brandon Public Library building was built.  By 1993, a study of the old library building was done, after concerns about the lack of space.   Around 1997, plans to construct a new library building were presented to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.  By 1998, the news spread throughout the city for a call for not only a new library but for more space.  Branch Manager, Ann Graham brought forth to the board that the old building, being at only 3,900 square feet, was running out of room.  Graham, additional library staff, and Friends of the Brandon Library officers supported the need for a new library building, with at least 20,000 square feet of additional space.   In addition, a member of the City Board supported library staff and patrons, stating that the city "deserved a new library."  The Mayor and board seemed to agree, but one major issue stood in the way- funds.  Soon, the Mayor devised a plan for a new Restaurant Tax.  Specifically, all restaurants in Brandon would add a 2% tax to all customers' bills.  As predicted, many citizens in Brandon and local restaurant owners did not take to this very well, especially as reflected on many voters' ballots, when the new tax was proposed.   As a result, the library saw a significant decrease in participation, including volunteers from the Friends of the Library group.   Later, after much persuasion and push from local officials and citizens, plans to rebuild a new Brandon Library, City Park, and Tennis Courts, as well as a new multipurpose center attached to the new library, began to take place.  Johnson, Bailey, Henderson, and McNeel designed the new library, and by 2003, the new (and current) Brandon Public Library building opened for service, and the rest is history! 

Current Brandon Public Library Building (opened in 2003)


As previously mentioned, the Brandon Public Library is a valuable gem of the city of Brandon, MS.  Much of this value comes from the awesome programs and services the library has to offer, warmly welcoming its community.  

We have staff members who are certified notaries, and notary services are offered Monday through Friday, and Saturday (by appointment only).  There is a nominal fee of $3.00.  Office services, including black and white ($0.25 per page)  and color printing ($0.50 per page), faxing ($1.00 per page), scanning ($0.50 per page), and copying are also available.  There is also an industrial-strength shredder, provided generously through our Friends of the Brandon Library, and all patrons and staff can use it for free.  Patron computers, as well as free Wi-Fi, are also available. We also offer proctoring test services for college students.

We also offer a variety of programs, including, but not limited to, DNA discovery and Genealogical society monthly meetings, a monthly book club, Family Night, weekly Preschool Story Time, monthly Teen programs,  Quilting, a Coin Club, VMA Veteran's monthly meetings, the Friends of the Brandon Library group (monthly meetings), and more!  

Genealogy Room:

Speaking of more, did you know that the Brandon Public Library has its own Genealogy Room?  That's right!   When the Brandon Library's new 2003 building opened, the plans included a special room, designed for Genealogical services. The collection started with 2,000 items, but it has grown so so much, since then.  Today, the room houses City Almanacs and Directories, yearbooks, slideshow/photo CDs of historic city events, city scrapbooks, artwork by local MS artists, newspaper clippings, maps, cookbooks, and so much more!  In addition, many wonderful organizations, such as the RCHS Red Jacket Chapter, MS State Society, and DAR have generously donated a huge selection of materials for our Genealogy Collection. We also have three computers with access to, as well as a cool feature where users can not only discover their roots but can design their own family tree!  As previously mentioned, our DNA Discovery Group and Genealogical Society meet every month at the library.  The meeting/program is free for anyone to attend.  

Brandon Public Library Genealogy Room

The Brandon Public Library is located at 1475 W. Government Street in Brandon, MS.  We are open     9-8 Monday through Thursday, 9-5 on Friday, and 9-4 on Saturday (closed on Sunday).  For more information, please feel free to visit us in person, or contact us at 601-825-2672 or at   We look forward to having you visit us!   I hope you have enjoyed today's visit down memory lane.  I am firmly convinced that the Brandon Public Library holds the key, which enables the past, present, and future of Brandon's community (as well as its people) to make and "unlock" these connections.   

Sunday, October 2

The Forest Public Library -- From Grit to Great

by Dianne McLaurin, Forest Public Library Branch Manager

GRIT: in psychology is a positive non-cognitive trait based on an individual's passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual's path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. 

For a more hands-on definition, visit the Forest Public Library and read the library's well-documented history. After perusing a binder filled with primary sources, one word comes to mind - GRIT. The Scott County Library (as it was named for years) started in the home of Miss Mary Katherine Knoblock. It was organized in 1933 by Rev. Jim W. Sells during the time of the Works Progress Administration. The WPA supplied paid jobs to the unemployed during the Great Depression to build up public infrastructure. According to an article in the Scott County Times, dated Thursday, January 21, 1954, only a few books were available at the beginning; however, through the efforts of Rev. Sellers, some collections were sent from Boston and other places.

The next ten years consisted of packing and moving, changing directors and assistants, and setting up library stations throughout the county. The following is a quote from the article: "The going was rough and the very existence of the library was often threatened. Funds were extremely low and sometimes nonexistent, and the library was constantly being moved due to various reasons."  The article also states that the library moved three times in as many years, from the high school to the county agent's office to the community house. GRIT.

In 1936, Miss Carrie Pevey began serving as the director with various assistants. Later, in 1943, the library closed for several months. Miss Pevey was so interested in the work of the library that she continued to work without pay. She became ill and died in February of 1945. That summer, Mrs. H.E. Bishop, Mrs. Ollie Ott, Mrs. V.R. Lackey, and Mr. Beamon Triplett met with the Scott County board of supervisors and succeeded in re-opening the library with a donation of $1200. GRIT.

A library board was established and met in the home of Mrs. V. R. Lackey. Board members included Mrs. Lackey, Mrs. H.E. Bishop, Mrs. W.W. Gaddis, Mr. Beamon Triplett, and Mr. Lamar Rigby. Mrs. Bishop was appointed to serve as the librarian, and Mrs. Ollie Ott assumed her vacated spot on the board. Throughout the summer of 1945, Mrs. Bishop salvaged through the neglected books. Another quote from the article records her efforts. "They (the books) had been scattered all over the room, torn, and abused until the task seemed hopeless. Practically all the records had been destroyed. Many of the books were obsolete and were later discarded." At the final count, 1,713 books were placed on the shelves of a new location above the W.F. Stevens store on the corner of Main Street. GRIT.

Still, more moves would be part of the library's future. The article documents a move to the upstairs floor of the Masonic Lodge in the summer of 1948, and by the date of the article in 1954, the library was housed on the street floor of the building. According to the article, "This is the most desirable location." 

Little did they know nor would they see how their seeds of grit would grow. According to an entry in the Scott County Mississippi History and Families, 1830-2002, the old band hall at 210 South Raleigh Street was remodeled in 1967 with funds provided by the city of Forest and the Library Services and Construction Act in cooperation with the Mississippi Library Commission. In 1986, after the merge and split of two library systems, the Forest Public Library became part of the Central Mississippi Regional Library System, which currently serves public libraries in Rankin, Scott, Simpson, and Smith counties. Then in 1988, the library was remodeled again.

In 2010, those seeds of grit would grow into a great achievement realization. The new construction of the current Forest Public Library began - a city block of 28,000 square feet which would include 15,300 square feet of building area, 23 total parking spaces on the lot, and landscaped areas surrounding three sides of the library at a construction cost of $2,230,230.00 and an architect cost of $96,000 covered by the city of Forest. Approximately $100,000 additional dollars were donated by businesses, groups, organizations, and individuals to furnish the new library building.

Primary sources provide documentation of the magnitude of the building process. All the contents of the library were moved to the Community Bank annex building during the construction process. The old band hall, the renovated library, the remodeled library...demolished down to the ground, and in its place would stand a beacon for all those gritty individuals who never gave up. TRUE GRIT.

A Mississippi news anchor once described the Forest Public Library as "the Taj Mahal of Mississippi libraries." With its high ceilings, large columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, and impressive facade, the current library houses 12 access computer stations, five work computers, a conference room, a large meeting room, a children's story room, 13 individual study tables, two large sitting areas, a kitchen, two public restrooms, a genealogy room, two employee work rooms, a branch manager office, a reference room, and an employee restroom. The library is a one-of-a-kind civic structure, not only in the county but also in the state. The library boasts the newest technology, an up-to-date collection of circulation items, and a community presence that is both relevant and recognized. From the library's humble beginnings to its promising future, the GRIT of many became something GREAT for all.  

Monday, September 12

Auto Repair Source


Auto Repair Source


It could happen to anyone. You're on your honeymoon and the next thing you know you're having car trouble. Then you find yourself at a garage after hours faced with the enormous task of spending the night rebuilding a car engine. The mechanic is going home for the evening. He doesn't do overtime. He leaves the garage open and in your capable hands for you to work on your car. Meanwhile, your spouse is not happy. He goes next door and checks into a hotel.


Then you see a light in the distance. It's a Starbucks. You retrieve your iPad from the back seat, close the doors and venture off into the night. As you walk next door to a Starbucks you find that Wi-Fi is available. Access to the CMRLS website is available. Auto Repair Source under the Virtual Collection weblink is also available. After some quick research you order a Mocha Frappuccino and return to the garage. It's going to be a long night.


While at Starbucks you opened the Auto Repair Source website by typing in your library card number. Never leave home without it! It can cost $3.00 to replace a library card. Then you type in the Year, Make, Model and Engine to access information on this vehicle. Then a virtual plethora of information appears and becomes available at your fingertips. Categories ranging from oil changes to transmission systems to digital electronics to internal components of car engines.


Now you can take apart the car engine, find the source of the problem and put the car engine back together and be reasonably sure that there won't be any nuts and bolts leftover. Sure hope there's no antifreeze in the engine block. That's no fun at all.


Not everyone can rebuild a car engine by memory, but imagine having this information resource available when you need it the most.


The mechanic checks in on you later in the night and you talk shop, auto shop that is. Then you are left alone to continue with the most daunting of tasks. Meanwhile your husband is in a nice comfortable hotel room watching late night television.


Working on a car is probably not what most people do on a wedding night.


An hour later it starts to rain.

Sunday, July 31

Magnolia Databases


Magnolia:  Scholarly Research with a Twist by Amy Lee- Branch Manager- Brandon Public Library

At some point during our school years (as well as throughout adulthood), we were required to at least one project that required extensive, involved research on our part.   Usually, this meant using at least one type of database or online search engine.   Today, new resources and innovative technology are on the rise, racing to meet user demands.   While research of all ages and ability levels is something that is not disappearing anytime soon, there will, indeed, be a need for reliable resources with even more reliable and up-to-date, accurate information.    This is where your local library can help!  With a CMRLS card, patrons have access to a variety of print and digital resources, including Magnolia.

Magnolia is an online database that can be easily accessed through Central Mississippi Regional Library System’s virtual reference page.    With Magnolia, users can peruse a variety of scholarly books, journals, and/or journal articles, and other materials, as well as create a unique research experience.   The familiar basic search bar is available at the top of the EBSCOhost software page, but users can perform an advanced search and choose one or more enhancing features, including maps, photographs, type of publication, specific limiters, publication date(s), number of pages, language, and more.  Ebscohost also offers additional information features, including Newspaper Source, Business Source Complete, and Academic Search Premiere, further assisting in tailoring to a user’s research needs.

Not only does Magnolia feature familiar, user-friendly search features for its online database through EBSCOhost, but patrons also have access to more specialized databases, which are tailored to specific subject-based topics, as well as links to resources that are free to CMRLS cardholders.  For example, Magnolia features a clean layout of links, including access to online reference tools, including AutoRepair Source for cars, Novelist Plus online reader’s advisory resource, and Flipster (e-magazines).  

Additional resources that can be accessed through Magnolia’s online database include Explora- a reference informational database designed for Elementary and Middle School students.  Another helpful feature for businesses and organizations can be accessed through Magnolia.  Business Searching Interface offers a large selection of articles and information relating to major organizations and businesses.  Users can also view business profiles, including specific information and marketing reports.  Lastly, patrons have access to up-to-date information in the medical field through various articles, an index with A-to-Z information on common ailments and/or conditions, as well as a database containing natural alternative treatments, and medication listings with information on potential harmful drug interactions and side effects.  A translated feature is also built in for the Spanish-speaking community.

Phew!  This is a lot of information to take in, but the good news is that it is organized by Magnolia’s easy-to-use database and webpage layout.  Also, feel free to stop by your local CMRLS Library Branch, and our staff will be more than happy to assist you with instruction or assistance with any type of information.    It’s one more reason libraries rock and are needed today more than ever!

Monday, May 23

Mississippi Encyclopedia


It is eight o’clock at night when your child informs you that they have an assignment due on a famous Mississippian, what do you do?! Use the Mississippi Encyclopedia Online Source! It is your one-stop shopping for all things Mississippi! Your  A to Z guide!

Slugburgers? What is that? A thin meat pattie, on a bun with chopped onion, pickles, and mustard.

Sounds like Krystal burger but read the article and watch the video and you decide!

ShooFly Decks?

I want one now but I don't have a tree big enough in my yard!

Beah Richards? She was an award-winning actress! Her career was over 50 years, in television, movies, and plays!

So on one hot and humid summer afternoon, go to the website and poke around!

Wednesday, April 13

Be Money Smart at the Library

 Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries. --Anne Herbert

Inflation is defined as the rate of increase in prices over a given period of time, and while most people can not do much about inflation, they can be money smart. Money Smart Week is a national public education program that empowers people with the knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions. The American Library Association supports the program, which is scheduled for April 9-16, 2022, because the library is a great place to be money smart.

One of the most important reasons that the library is money smart is its location within the local community. A full tank of gas or more is not needed to make a trip to the local library. Programming is available for all ages at the library, from preschool story time to adult books clubs. Passive programming is also available at local libraries, including make-and-take crafts, drawings and guessing games for prizes, and handout activities to enjoy in the library or at home. One of the most advantageous programs for families is the Summer Library Program -- six weeks of free entertainment for the local community. With the sponsorship of local businesses, families can enjoy a variety of presenters and programs -- all free and all local -- at their community library. 

Not only is saving gas money a smart solution offered by the local library, but also saving money on books, DVDs, and other items available for checkout. Librarians love book stores as much as anyone who loves to read, but purchasing books during times of inflation might not be as important as buying groceries. (Some librarians might debate that point.) Why purchase the latest bestseller by your favorite author when you can check it out at the local library. And, if that bestselling book happens to be located at another library 40 miles away, it can be requested from home and delivered to your local library for pick up, usually within a week. The same is true for blockbuster movies, children's DVDs, and television series. Each month, libraries order the most current DVDs available. Another money smart solution for families is to trim the paid subscription services and check out the free collection at the local library.

Free is the best money smart option during times of inflation, such as free wifi at the local library. Almost everyone has some form of internet service at home, but an afternoon at the library provides the entire family an outing. Mom or Dad can read free board books with baby, while teens sit in comfy chairs enjoying a cool space to use their smartphones. Students can improve their reading skills with graphic novels, early readers, bilingual books, or the latest young adult series -- choosing the books they want to read. All of the above are money smart solutions for the entire family. With increased wifi speeds at CMRLS libraries, all residents are welcome to access the library's free databases  -- listening to downloads on Freegal, reading magazines on Flipster, or reading ebooks on cloudLibrary. 

While libraries might not solve the inflation issues facing families in our communities, we can offer money smart solutions. If you want to save gas money, enjoy free programs, and trim the family budget, the library is definitely a money smart start. 

Monday, April 4

National Library Week


National Library Week is this week, April 3 - 9. This is a time to celebrate and recognize our libraries, librarians, and all the great resources our library can offer. This year's theme is Connect with Your Library. This is a very fitting theme because that is what libraries do; connect people with other worlds, each other, the internet, and so much more. 

The Central Mississippi Regional Library System uses this week to recognize our local funding authorities and our loyal library patrons. There are many events taking place this week to celebrate National Library Week. 

There will be ribbon-cutting ceremonies to celebrate our new Little Free Libraries in Harrisville, Puckett, Pelahatchie, and Morton. There will be patron appreciation events all throughout our system. Visit our online calendar for the complete list of programs your library will be offering this week! 

The Power of Poetry

 "On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at the presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe. Her poem, "The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country" ...celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.

--An excerpt from the book jacket of The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

Most Americans watched as a young woman dressed in yellow as bright as sunshine stepped up to a podium and began to speak. For the following five minutes, the power of poetry entered into homes to fix the listener in rapt attention. The poet is Amanda Gorman, and the event was the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden. Despite all the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the inaugural festivities, poetry won the day and the heart of a country.

Therein lies the power of poetry -- to stir the soul, to soothe the heart, to embrace hope, and to empower the listener to respond or act. April is National Poetry Month, and according to the official website, it is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and poets marking poetry's important place in our culture and our lives.

Throughout history, the power of poetry has been recognized by some of the world's most famous citizens. Plato stated that poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. Emily Dickinson said, "If I feel as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." Edgar Allen Poe defined poetry as the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. Samuel Beckett described poets as philosophers of the intelligence of humanity, and Wallace Stevens said the poet is the priest of the invisible. 

The CMRLS libraries certainly understand the power of poetry in all its many forms. An initial search of the system's card catalog lists 2,376 item records. A more advanced search displays a variety of poetry subjects from A to Z, from Tennesse to Thailand, from birth to death, from Hiawatha to Helen of Troy. The library collection includes popular works by American poets, English poets, Irish poets, and Scottish poets, but also a broader global community of Portuguese, Chilean, Greek, and Korean. One can find poems to suit all moods and interests, emotions and experiences, celebrations and sorrows, passions and protests.

In his essay, A Defence of Poetry, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote the following: The most unfailing herald, companion, and follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution is poetry. At such periods, there is an accumulation of the power of communicating and receiving intense and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature. The persons in whom this power resides may often, as far as regards many portions of their nature, have little apparent correspondence with the spirit of good of which they are ministers. But even while they deny and abjure, they are yet compelled to serve, the power which is seated at the throne of their soul. It is impossible to read the compositions of the most celebrated writers of the present day without being startled with the electric life which burns within their words.

And a present-day nation listened as the youngest poet ever to speak at a presidential inauguration startled her audience with the electric life which burned within her words...the power of poetry. 

Your Personal Readers' Advisory Librarian

 Have you ever been looking for your next book, but you don't know where to start?  What about finishing a series and you want another one like it?  You ask your friends.  You ask your librarian. Or maybe you don't want to ask because that last series you read was a a little risque and you don't want to admit how much you liked it.  Well, whatever the situation, we are here to show you how to find your next great read.  It's right at your fingertips at your library's website!

We're going to take you through this step by step and you are going to wonder where this wonderful tool has been all your life.  First, click on the link above and go to our website. 

Choose Explore  and then Novelist Plus  and then get ready to spend a little time doing what we like to call "book window shopping."  And make sure you've got your library card ready for the next step.

Type your library card number into the Patron ID box.  If you have any questions or problems with this step, call or visit your local branch.  Stop by if you don't have or have lost your library card too.  

Now that you're in, let's have some fun! Most of us have a favorite type of book that we like to read, so this is a great place to start.  Under the Recommended Reads List you can search by age and genre in fiction and non fiction.  There are even sub-genres for each one if you want to get more specific. 

There are also suggestions under I'm in the mood for books that are...  These are more specific and change periodically.  

Maybe you have a favorite author but have trouble keeping up with all of the books they have written or you can't remember the order of the books.  Just type in the name of the author in the search box on the home page and you can find all the answers you need.  Under the authors information you will see a list of their books.  Search by books and you can get them listed alphabetically or by date. Choose series and then you can see each series the author has written and the order of the books in it. This is great if you read anyone other than Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton.  

Maybe you just finished an epic, life-changing series and are heartbroken because the next book isn't coming out for two years or worse is finished. You want to read another book or series like it ASAP. We've got you covered.  Search for the series on the home page and you will see that each book not only has Title Read-alikes but author and series also.  Plus, there are always suggestions listed on the right side of your screen.  There is bound to be something to help you out in one of those lists. 

 Here is a sample of a read-alike list.  You can even print it out and hand it to your favorite librarian along with your library card and just tell them to pick one and surprise you.  Who knows?  You might find your next favorite series.

If you are the independent type, you'll love this feature.  When you choose a book to see more about it, it tells you how many copies are available in our library system.  If you click on that blue box, it will take you right to our library system's online catalog so you can order a copy and have it sent to the library of your choice.  

Now one more thing before we finish up. If you get in this website and get lost and can't remember all of the wonderful books you found to read, this will be your best friend.  Go to the top and create an account.  Then, when you find a book you want to remember, click on the folder (where the arrow is pointing) and it will save it for you.  

So the next time you get on the Novelist Plus site, all you have to do is sign in and click on the folder in the top right corner and all those great books you want to read are right there waiting for you.  

We hope you will learn to love this site as much as we do.  It such an easy way to find your next book.  Happy reading!

Saturday, February 26

Read Across America

 Read Across America

In 1998, the National Education Association (NEA) launched Read Across America, the nation's largest celebration of reading.  This year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read.  The NEA offers a list of titles and resources which reflect students' interests, as well as introduce them to new places and characters that could be different from their own.

Read Across America Day is celebrated on March 2, which is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Most schools celebrate on the school day closest to March 2, while community centers, libraries, and museums may celebrate over the entire week. During this time, teachers, librarians, and students everywhere will wear tall striped top hats and red ties.  They will read books about a cat who is not quite cut out to be a babysitter, or possibly an elephant who saves a teeny, tiny town.

Theodor Geisel is most known for his children's books, but he worked as a commercial illustrator for almost twenty years.  He worked on the FLIT insecticide advertising campaign, created political cartoons for the New Your newspaper, and illustrated posters for the U>S. government during World War II.  No matter the literary venue, it is hard to miss the distinct style in Theodor Geisel's work.

When Geisel did, in 991 Bob Chase, who was the NEA president at the time said, "we are calling for every child in every school in every community to be in the company of a book on Read Across America Day, in celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday."

In President Joe Biden's Read Across America Day Proclamation, he said, "The key to developing your learners into engaged, active and innovated thinkers is instilling in them a lobe of reading at an early age.  Reading is the gateway to countless skills and possibilities - it sets children on the path to a lifetime of discovery."

Help us celebrate Read Across America Day by stopping by your local library and checking out a book to read.  The CMRLS libraries have several special events planned for you to enjoy.

Harrisville: Dr. Seuss Birthday Party, March 1 at 4:30 p.m. This is a family program.

Flowood: Dr. Seuss Story Time and Butter Making, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. and March 5 at 1:00 p.m. This is a family program.

Raleigh:  Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss Story Time, March 1 at 11:00 a.m. This is a preschool program.

Forest:  Dr. Seuss Read Across America Celebration March 2 at 4:00 p.m. This program will be for children from Kindergarten age to fourth grade. 

Pearl:  Dr. Seuss Story Time, March 2 at 10:00 a.m. This is a preschool program. 

Pearl:  Dr. Seuss Story Time, March 2 at 4:00 p.m.  This program will be for children from kindergarten age to fourth grade.

Lake: Read Across America Story Time, March 2 at 10:30 a.m.  This program will be for preschool children.

Florence: Dr. Seuss Story Time, March 2 at 11:00 a.m. Preschool and March 3 at 4:00 p.m. for children kindergarten age to fourth grade.  

Tuesday, January 11

A Time for Celebration

In mid-January, there is excitement in the air for authors, publishers, librarians, and readers as the annual Book & Media Awards and the Youth Media Awards are announced. The announcements are made during the American Library Association’s Mid-Winter Meeting each year. This year, the American Library Association is changing their format to something called LibLearnX. “LibLearnX will offer innovative and participatory education programs to help you learn, network, and find solutions. Attendees can expect a combination of different formats geared toward higher-level education conversation, hands-on interaction, and trend-scanning information,” as noted on the LibLearnX website.  A large number of awards are presented at the Book & Media Awards and the Youth Media Awards. You may explore them all through American Library Association’s website at Today we will provide information about five of these awards.

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence:

Started in 2012, this medal is awarded to one adult fiction and one adult nonfiction title each year. The award was established to provide a guide for adults that are looking to select quality reading materials. Each year, a long list of titles is selected under each category and then that list is reduced to a short list of three titles each of fiction and nonfiction from which the medal winner is chosen. To view previous years’ winners and finalists,

Coretta Scott King Book Awards:

These awards started in 1969 and were created by two librarians and a book publisher that desired to create a method to recognize and encourage the talents of African American authors and artists. The award commemorates the late Martin Luther King, Jr., and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The awards committee names winners in three categories: Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award, and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Books that are selected “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.” To view previous years’ winners and honorees,

John Newbery Medal:

First awarded in 1922, the Newbery Medal was the first book award for children’s literature in the world. Even today, it is still the most discussed and well-known award for authors of children’s literature. The award is named after John Newbery, an English publisher in the 18th century, that was perhaps the first to recognize that children’s literature could be a profitable venture. To be considered a candidate for the medal, an author must be an American citizen and their work published in the United States. The medal is awarded to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” in the previous year. Each year the committee names one medallion winner and normally includes several honor winners. To view the previous years’ winners and honorees,

Randolph Caldecott Medal:

Established in 1937, the Caldecott Medal was created to recognize and honor the artists/illustrators of children’s picture books. The Newbery Medal already recognized authors of juvenile literature and many felt artists/illustrators should also be recognized. Thus, this second medal was established. Like the Newbery, the Caldecott Medal winner must be an American citizen and their work published in the United States. The medal is awarded to the illustrator of “the most distinguished picture book of the year.” The award is named for Randolph Caldecott, who was a prominent illustrator in England in the 1800s. To view previous years’ winners and honorees,

Michael L. Printz Award:

Named for a high school librarian that was active in YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a division of the ALA (American Library Association). The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the ALA, and was established in 2000 to recognize a work that exemplifies excellence in young adult (teen) literature. Libraries had started separating children's fiction into  juvenile fiction and young adult fiction. The creation of this award allowed for recognition of the young adult category. Unlike the Newbery and Caldecott medals, books previously published in other countries may be considered if an American edition has been published within the designated period. The committee names one winner and several honor winners as well. To view previous years’ winners and honorees,

These are just a few of the honors that will be bestowed January 23-24, 2022. It is an annual event that many anxiously await. Count me among them as a librarian that is passionate about reading.




Monday, November 22

Discover Gale Virtual Reference Library


Find a Wealth of Information in a Few Clicks with eBooks on Gale Virtual Reference Library

Easy to access through a Google Chrome app and save content directly to Drive

Gale eBooks on CMRLS is a one-stop learning destination for all of your ready reference needs! Let’s look at a few examples.

Here’s a familiar scenario: a high school student is writing a paper about Bill Gates. They are only allowed one internet source, and need book sources. What a perfect use of GVRL!  Sure, the database is accessed via the Internet, but the sources themselves are books. Glorious, full-text reference books!

A GVRL search returns two of the full-text reference books; both of the volumes have entries for Bill Gates. The student is skeptical – the entries looks like an internet print-off and they are worried that their teacher won’t believe that it really, truly, is from a book. No worries, just click on the “View PDF” link at the top of the Bill Gates entry and the screen changes to look like the entry from the print edition, just as if the student had photo-copied the page from the book itself.

There is even a “Listen” button. Press the triangle “Play” button and listen to the entry read by a computerized voice. It’s a nice voice – not overly robotic and with excellent pronunciation (not like your incomprehensible caller ID announcer; more like a real, human voice!)

Now, would the student like a citation of this source? Of course they would! Click on “Citation Tools” on the right side of the screen and choose from MLA or APA styles. You can even save the citation to one of a number of online options like EasyBib, EndNote, or ProCite.

The student doesn’t have to check out this eBook or any eBooks. They can access CMRLS’s full collection through our website Gale eBooks, or download the “Gale eBooks” Google Chrome app. After their first login with his library credentials, they can authenticate and login with his Google account credentials. Once logged in with Google, they can save articles or article highlights directly to Google Drive for future use.

The student is now ready to write their paper. Meanwhile, their parent has been watching this interaction and pipes in with a question of their own. “Is there anything in there about hypertension? This kid is giving me high blood pressure!” Yes, indeed, the GVRL has many eBooks on health topics. You can click “medicine” on the homepage of the database or just search key terms. 

Now, the parent is onboard with GVRL too, and gets excited. “I’m thinking about opening my own business. Are there books in this database to help me get started?” Yes, yes, yes! There are eBooks on business plans, e-commerce, and more. There are search limiters on the right side of the page as well, to really narrow the search to relevant topics, sources, and document types. One of the document types listed is “statistical data,” which is extremely useful in this kind of research!

It is even possible to translate articles into a variety of languages, making this a truly accessible resource. You can even download the MP3 to listen to an article offline.

This database is an extremely practical and relevant and accessible to you 24/7. Access Gale eBooks on GVRL from our library’s website CMRLS: Gale eBooks Should you have any questions, please contact our customer service at CMRLS.



Monday, November 15

Let's Celebrate Picture Book Month!

Celebrate Picture Book Month

    Children’s librarians LOVE picture books. They are perfect for teaching a lesson or a moral in thirty-two pages, and the illustrations can be as close to Art on the page, as Art on the walls. They are also great read aloud and acted out by the reader. Picture books pull young readers in when they are little and can make them life-long readers and learners

    There are not too many picture books that I do not like. I would like to highlight a few that I have enjoyed sharing in previous story times. Personally, I enjoy picture books that make me laugh aloud. One of those books is This is Not my Hat by Jon Klassen. A mischievous fish takes a hat from a much larger fish and “thinks” he is getting away with it. Let us just say the results do not fare well for the mischievous fish.

    I also like books that are fun to read aloud. Wet Dog by Elise Broach is hilarious. If you have a thick, southern drawl like I do, and read the antics of this hound, the kids go nuts. The illustrations are so bright and vibrant the kiddos are at once taken with it. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith is funny as well. The repetition and tongue twists can be a challenge for the reader but are great fun for the listener. Another author, Mo Willem, is great whether you want to read about Elephant and Piggie, or that crazy Pigeon. The books are perfect for early readers because they are funny, relatively short, and children can relate to the characters.

    So, what picture books do you enjoy? Have I left off your favorites? Of course, I have! I could mention books by Seuss, Carle, Bunting, Mayer, Potter, Wood, Henkes, Brown, but I just wanted to highlight a few of my favorites. I encourage parents to take the time to read to your children while they are young. Doing so, could be the difference between a reader and a non-reader.


Tuesday, November 9

Veteran's Day Closing

 CMRLS Veteran's Day Closing: 

All CMRLS libraries and administrative office will close Thursday, November 11, 2021 in observance of Veteran's Day. We will reopen at our regular hours on November 12, 2021

Monday, November 8

International Games Week

         International Games Week started out as a simple idea, can you set a world record by having the most number of people playing the same game, at the same time, on the same day at libraries around the world? Jenny Levine and Scott Nicholson sparked the idea in 2007. They called it National Game Day. In 2012, the name changed from National Games Day to International Games Day, then in 2017, it changed names again to what we now know, International Games Week. The event has grown to include all seven continents.

    The date for this year's International Games Week is November 7-13, 2021. During this week, libraries from around the world participate in local and international activities. The events vary by location. Past events would include a Rock Band concert, Mario Kart Tournaments, and simple board games. Things have changed a little bit with COVID-19. This year they have included some downloadable games for you to print out and play.

Below is the link to the PDF of all the Print and Play games:

   International Games Week sponsors include:

American Library Association

Australian Library And Information Association

L'Associazione Italiana Biblioteche

For more information about International Games Week and the sponsors visit the following website:

    Did you know that your library system has games for the following systems; Wii Gaming Console, Playstation Gaming Console, Xbox Gaming Consoles, and the Nintendo Gaming Systems? If you are 18 and older, all you need is a current library card. You are allowed to check out 2 games at a time and you are allowed to keep them for one (1) week. As the systems change, we strive to keep up with the current games. 

   On a personal note, games have evolved since I was a child. My first gaming system was the old Atari system. We loved that game system. My children have grown up with the Super Nintendo to the Nintendo Switch and much more. Now both of my youngest boys play RPG online with their friends and people all across the county. There is something to be said about the classic board games. When the weather gets bad and we think the lights are going to go out, we break out the battery-powered lanterns and some of our favorite board games. 

   Did you have a favorite board game or a favorite video game as a child? Do you play games on your phone/tablet, if so, what are some of your favorite games?

Wednesday, November 3

New Branch Manager at Sebastopol

Sebastopol Public Library has a new branch manager! Ms. Carolyn Price is very happy to meet her new patrons and to serve the community in Sebastopol. Sebastopol Public library is located at: 17403 Highway 21 North Sebastopol, MS 39359. Please stop by and take advantage of all the great services our Sebastopol branch has to offer!

Sebastopol Hours: 


9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday – Sunday


Friday, October 29

Happy Retirement to Ms. Joyce Bradshaw!

A retirement reception was held in honor of Joyce Bradshaw, Branch Manager of the Polkville Public Library on October 28, 2021. Ms. Bradshaw has been a valued and devoted staff member of Central Mississippi Regional Library System for more than sixteen years. She was awarded a plaque of service from both CMRLS Director Mara V. Polk, and the Mayor of Polkville, Robert W. Miles.  Ms. Bradshaw is looking forward to continue serving the library as a Friend of the Library. Thank you to the Polkville Friends of the Library for hosting the reception. 

Joyce Bradshaw with Polkville Mayor, Robert W. Miles

CMRLS Director Mara V. Polk, Coordinator of Branch Service Kimberly Cook, Smith County Board of Trustee Mrs. Margie Harper

Mara V. Polk (CMRLS Director) and Ms. Bradshaw

Joyce Bradshaw and family

Ms. Bradshaw and grandchildren

Happy Retirement from CMRLS mascot Acorn!