• 15 Feb 2016 6:34 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, announced the winners of the 30th annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Each year, a new writer and new illustrator are celebrated. The 2016 award ceremony will be held on April 7th during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The winners receive a gold medallion as well as an honorarium of $1,000.

    “We are proud to present the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award to the best new talents in children’s illustrated literature each year. These are writers and illustrators whose books reflect the spirit of Keats, and at the same time, are refreshingly original,” said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “This year is Ezra’s 100th birthday! So we are especially delighted to celebrate him by honoring those whose books, like his, are wonderful to read and look at and reflect our multicultural world.”

    “The Keats Archives at the de Grummond Children’s Collection is a happy reminder of the joy that Ezra’s books have brought to readers and the impact they have had on children’s book makers. Once again, we see that influence in the work of this year’s EJK Book Award winners. We are confident that they’ll join the long list of illustrious past winners whose books continue to delight and make a difference,” said Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.

    Lois Lowry, two-time winner of the Newbery Award for Number the Stars and The Giver, will present this year’s Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards. Michael Cart, columnist/reviewer for Booklist and a leading expert on young adult literature, will deliver the Keats Lecture.

    The 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner for new writer is:

    Don Tate for Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton

    Published by Peachtree Publishers

    In the South before the Civil War, it was illegal to teach slaves to read, but George Moses Horton loved words too much to be stopped. He taught himself to read as a child and grew up to be a published poet, while still a slave. Writing about slavery for young readers is challenging but important, and Don Tate succeeds brilliantly, in an engaging, age-appropriate and true narrative.

    Tate said, “Three years ago, I won an Ezra Jack Keats honor award, one of the proudest moments of my career. I never imagined being considered again… this time [for] the top award. There has always been a special place in my heart for Ezra Jack Keats. When he chose to picture brown children in his books, he chose to acknowledge me. I wasn’t invisible to him. As a creator of color in a field that sorely lacks diversity, it can be easy to sometimes feel unseen. This award serves as a reminder to me that I am not invisible and that my work matters.”

    The 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner for new illustrator is:

    Phoebe Wahl for Sonya’s Chickens

    Published by Tundra Books

    Sonya’s dad presents her with three baby chicks to care for, and she does her job well, providing food, shelter and lots of love as they grow into hens. Then one night, Sonya discovers that one of her hens is missing! But as her father explains, the fox stole the hen because he loved his kits and needed to feed them. The circle of life is gently and exquisitely depicted in Wahl’s rich and colorful watercolor and collage illustrations of a multicultural family’s life on a farm.

    Wahl said, “Keats’ work stands out as some of the most impactful of my childhood. I can directly trace the roots of my obsession with pattern, color and my use of collage to my affinity with the lacy baby blanket in Peter’s Chair. Keats inspired me to create stories that are quiet and gentle, yet honor the rich inner lives of children and all of the complexity that allows. I am humbled to be associated with Keats’ legacy in being presented with this award, and I am so grateful to the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the children’s literature community for this show of support and encouragement.”

    The 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award honor winners are:

    2016 New Writer Honor

    • Julia Sarcone-Roachfor The Bear Ate Your Sandwich(illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers)
    • Megan Dowd Lambertfor A Crow of His Own (illustrated by David Hyde Costello. Published by Charlesbridge)

    2016 New Illustrator Honor

    • Ryan T. Higginsfor Mother Bruce(written by Ryan T. Higgins. Published by Disney Hyperion)
    • Rowboat Watkinsfor Rude Cakes (written by Rowboat Watkins. Published by Chronicle Books)

    To be eligible for the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the author and/or illustrator will have no more than three children’s picture books published prior to the year under consideration. The selection committee is comprised of nationally recognized early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children’s literature: Carolyn Brodie, Chair; Rita Auerbach, Jason Chin, K.T. Horning, Angela Johnson, Claudette McLinn, Sean Qualls, Caroline Ward, and Paul O. Zelinsky. Ex-Officio members are: Deborah Pope, Executive Director, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation; and Ellen Ruffin, Curator, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.

    For a complete list of past award winners, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org/ezra-jack-keats-award-winners. For information about submissions, visit www.lib.usm.edu/degrummond/ezra_keats.html.

    About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

    Founded by the late Caldecott award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation fosters children’s love of reading and creative expression by supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries; cultivating new writers and illustrators of exceptional picture books that reflect the experience of childhood in our diverse culture; and protecting and promoting the work of Keats, whose book The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. Keats. Imagination. Diversity.

    For more about the Foundation, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.

    About the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection

    The de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi is one of North America’s leading research centers in the field of children’s literature. The Collection holds the original manuscripts and illustrations of more than 1,300 authors and illustrators, as well as 180,000+ mostly American and British published books dating back to 1530. Since 1985, the de Grummond Collection has been the home of the Ezra Jack Keats Archive, which includes manuscripts, typescripts, sketches, dummies, illustrations and proofs for Ezra Jack Keats’ books.

    For more about the de Grummond, visit www.lib.usm.edu/degrummond.

    Submitted By

    Dawn Smith, M.S.

    Assistant to the Dean for Publicity and Outreach

    University of Southern Mississippi Libraries

  • 15 Feb 2016 5:49 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    On April 16th, 2016, for two hours Indianola Academy 6th Grade students will impersonate different individuals interred at the Indianola City Cemetery.  A cemetery stroll is a unique and interesting way to teach history and we bring this unusual teaching strategy to the local community.  Last year was the sixth occurrence of Headstone Stories and this year it’s going to be even better.  Using our experiences from previous years and our aspirations for this year, the IA teachers and I have created an outline for the project.  We have coordinated what knowledge and experience the teachers want for the students with what historical materials for research are located in the History Room. The students write an eight paragraph paper concerning the lifetime of the interred, specifically the political atmosphere, the economic and agricultural conditions, and the cultural trends.   The students will make two visits with their class to the History Room, utilizing newspapers, microfilm and books to research these areas for their paper and personal reconstruction and one visit individually.  Then on April 16th, 2016 from 10am to noon at the Indianola City Cemetery, the students will represent the interred to the community.  Entertaining and educating visitors with personal stories, anecdotes of their time period and Indianola history.

    Photograph by Jennifer Rose

    Carolyn Kelley participates in Headstone Stories in the Indianola City Cemetery.

    Submitted by

    Jennifer Rose

    Public History Coordinator

    Sunflower County Library System

  • 15 Feb 2016 5:48 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    A dual master’s degree is the preferred degree for reference positions at many academic and research libraries. The first online dual degree - MLIS/IT (MS in Library and Information Science/MS in Instructional Technology) is now available at Southern Miss.  Requirements for the dual degree are listed at: http://www.usm.edu/library-information-science/dual-mlis-programs


    Application for the dual master’s as well as the MLIS degree, MLIS with school licensure emphasis, Graduate Certificate in Archives and Special Collections and Graduate Certificate in Youth Services and Literature is available online. The Southern Miss School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is now accepting applications for summer and fall 2016. http://www.usm.edu/graduate-school/apply-graduate-school.


    Submitted by

    Teresa Welsh, Ph.D.

    Professor and Director

    School of Library and Information Science

    The University of Southern Mississippi

  • 15 Feb 2016 5:45 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    The School of Library and Information Science is pleased to announce the 49th annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, to be held April 6-8, 2016, at the Southern Miss Thad Cochran Center. The highlight of the festival is the presentation of the Southern Miss Medallion awarded to an author or illustrator for his or her body of work. The 2016 Southern Miss Medallion winner is Jacqueline Woodson.

    Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. The author of more than two dozen books for young readers, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a three-time National Book Award finalist, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

    Other outstanding authors and illustrators scheduled to appear include:

    Michael Cart, a columnist and reviewer for Booklist magazine, is a leading expert in the field of young adult literature. The author or editor of 23 books including his history of young adult literature From Romance to Realism and the coming of age novel My Father’s Scar, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, he is a past president of both the Young Adult Library Services Association and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English. He is the 2000 recipient of the Grolier Award and the first recipient of the YALSA/Greenwood Press Distinguished Service Award.

    2003 Southern Miss Medallion Winner Lois Lowry is one of the world’s most beloved and versatile authors for children and young adults. She is the author of more than forty books, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has sold millions of books worldwide and twice received the prestigious Newbery Medal, for Number the Stars in 1990 and The Giver in 1994. Other honors she has earned include the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. For her contributions as a children's writer, she is the U.S. 2016 nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award; she was a finalist in 2000 and nominee in 2004. In 2007 she received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contribution to young adult literature.

    George O’Connor’s first graphic novel, Journey into Mohawk Country, used as its sole text the actual historical journal of the seventeenth-century Dutch trader Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, and told the true story of how New York almost wasn’t. He followed that up with Ball Peen Hammer, the first graphic novel written by playwright Adam Rapp, a dark dystopian view of a society’s collapse as intimately viewed by four lost souls. Now he has brought his attention to Olympians, an ongoing series retelling the classic Greek myths in comics form. In addition to his graphic novel career, Mr. O’Connor has published several children’s picture books, including the New York Times best-selling Kapow, Sally and the Some-Thing, and Uncle Bigfoot. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

    As Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Dr. Deborah Pope has directed its work toward increasing diversity in children’s literature and enriching the quality of public education. Through her efforts, the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award is recognized internationally as an imprimatur of quality children’s books for a multicultural audience. Deborah came to the Foundation after an extensive career in theater and arts-in-education. She has two daughters, and lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.

    Joyce Sidman is the winner of the 2013 NCTE Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry and author of many award-winning children’s poetry books, including the Newbery Honor-winning Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, and two Caldecott Honor books: Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (also a Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award winner) and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (which won the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award). She teaches poetry writing to school children and participates in many national poetry events. Her recent book, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings, has been critically acclaimed and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Joyce lives with her husband and dog near a large woodland in Wayzata, Minnesota.

    Since entering the world of children’s books with illustrations for the first of James Howe’s Pinky and Rex easy reading series, Melissa Sweet has illustrated many children’s books, from board books to picture books and nonfiction titles. She received a Sibert Medal for Balloons over Broadway and Caldecott Honors for A River of Words by Jen Bryant and The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus also by Jen Bryant, as well as two New York Times Best Illustrated citations. Her collages and paintings have appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Madison Park Greetings, Smilebox and for eeBoo Toys, which have garnered the Oppenheim and Parents Choice Awards. Melissa currently lives in Rockport, Maine, and loves riding her bike and hiking with her two dogs, Rufus and Nellie. Melissa’s newest book, Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White is a biography of America’s beloved author, to be published in fall 2016.

    Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900s. Responding to a scarcity of Choctaw lore, Tingle began collecting tribal stories in the early 90s. His first children’s book, Crossing Bok Chitto, (Cinco Puntos Press, 2005), garnered over twenty state and national awards. In 2010 Tingle released Saltypie and contributed the story "Rabbit’s Tail Tale" to multiple-award winning anthology, Trickster. Both Saltypie and Trickster were selected as 2011 American Library Association Notable Books.

    Author of several award winning novels, Rita Williams-Garcia continues to break new ground in young people’s literature. Known for their realistic portrayal of teens of color, Williams-Garcia’s works have been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Award Committee, PEN Norma Klein, American Library Association, and Parents’ Choice, among others. She says, “My readers are always sharper than my characters. They are always telling the characters a thing or two. I like that. That’s why I enjoy writing for teens. Teens think. They question.” Rita recently served on the National Book Award Committee for Young People’s Literature and is on faculty at Vermont College MFA Writing for Children and Young People.

    The Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival is Proud to Host the Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards. Since 1985, the Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards have been given to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator of picture books for children who share Ezra’s values: the universal qualities of childhood and multicultural nature of our world. Now in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, the EJK Book Awards continue to encourage the next generation of talent who are committed to celebrating diversity through their writing and art.

    For more information, including the tentative schedule and registration information, please visit www.usm.edu/children-book-festival or call the USM School of Library and Information Science at 601.266.4228.

    Submitted by

    Teresa Welsh, Ph.D.

    Professor and Director

    School of Library and Information Science

    The University of Southern Mississippi

  • 15 Feb 2016 5:02 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    Melissa Wright began her position as Public Services Librarian at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia in August of 2015.  She obtained her Masters in Library and Information Science and her PhD in adult education from the University of Southern Mississippi and has worked most recently at UMMC’s Rowland Medical Library as head of instructional services.  “I’m so excited to be part of the Northwest team and to work with such a talented, innovative, and creative group of people.”

  • 15 Feb 2016 5:00 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    Nathan Howe joined Hinds Community College Libraries January 4, 2016, as the Reference Librarian at McLendon Library on the Raymond Campus.  He comes to Hinds after serving as a technical services assistant for the Jackson Hinds Library System, where he previously served as interlibrary loan officer. He had worked with the Jackson Hinds Library System since August 2010. He graduated from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi in August 2014. He also holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Mississippi.

  • 15 Feb 2016 4:58 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    In December 2015, Joyce Shaw and Peter Dean became the recipients of the first Friends of University Libraries’ grant to purchase award winning children’s books that portray Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a realistic way. Shaw and Dean compiled a bibliography of the books as part of a poster presentation at the 2015 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. From this list of twenty-two books, eighteen were not owned by University Libraries in one or more collections.  This award will benefit three University Libraries’ collections that include children’s literature: the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, Cook Library Curriculum Materials Center and Gulf Coast Library Curriculum Lab.  

  • 02 Feb 2016 1:12 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Miss Jane Smith. 

    Mary Jane Smith, 69, passed away Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. A private graveside service will be held by the family.

    Miss Smith was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in Pulaski County. She was a longtime resident of Jackson, retiring as Assistant Director of the Mississippi Library Commission after 40+ years of loyal service. Miss Smith enjoyed needlepoint, cross stitch and reading. Reading was her life, giving her great joy. She was a loving sister, friend to many, a woman of her word and someone you could always count on.

    Miss Smith started at MLC as a Library Consultant March 1, 1980. She held a variety of positions and titles in the thirty years she worked there, including Library Consultant Supervisor, Acting Assistant Director for Library Development, Assistant Director for Library Development, Deputy Director, Director of Public Services, and Acting Director of the Mississippi Library Commission. (She held this last position not once, but twice.) Jane was also the 2006 MLA Peggy May Award winner.

    In 1992, she was key in securing $10 million in bond funding for public libraries. This was the first time the Mississippi Legislature had approved such funding for public libraries. It led to 100 new and newly renovated public library buildings in the state.

    Miss Smith was the person who contacted Senator Gray Ferris about developing a statewide collection of databases for use by public libraries. Ferris thought it was a great idea that academic, public, and school libraries joined forces to get legislative support. The end result was MAGNOLIA, which is still in use today. Other states followed Jane's and Mississippi's lead and began offering statewide access to databases.

    MLC Executive Director Susan Cassagne said, "She was a presence. She was always fair and ready to listen. She was an integral part of the MLC family for many years; she will be missed. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers."

    Photo taken from MLC Reference Blog

    Jane Smith (left) with Sharman Smith (right)

  • 14 Dec 2015 1:14 PM | Sarah Mangrum

    Julia M. Rholes, Dean of Libraries at the University of Mississippi, is retiring at the end of December after twelve years of service to the University.  She can be credited with the creation of a Library Annex for the storage of archival materials and lesser used collections.  This helped free up space to transform the library to better meet the needs of the students and faculty.  She led several renovation projects, including the creation of several commons spaces, and a crowdfunding initiative that built StudioOne, a one stop video recording and editing studio. The addition of comfortable seating and a coffee shop created a welcoming environment for the students.  Rholes also oversaw the growth of critical research collections and the digitization of many archival and accountancy collections. Angela Barlow Brown, director of development for special projects at UM said “I love her passion for serving the students.  She wants only the best for them that she can provide as a dean and as a library team member.” The University of Mississippi is thankful for her dedication to the library and we wish her the best in retirement. 

  • 10 Dec 2015 9:36 AM | Sarah Mangrum

    It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Mr. Billy Beal, who served on the MLA Executive Board in the position of ALA Councilor. 

    The Meridian Community College will hold a memorial service for Vice-President Billy Beal at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, December 10 in the McCain Theater. Mr. Beal's visitation will be at Berry & Gardner Funeral Home on Sunday evening December 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday morning, December 14 at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Meridian.



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