Jeffrey Martin Mug

Jeffrey Martin

Before I discuss all the exciting events coming to the library over the next few months, I wanted to wish Ms. Marilyn Leary a wonderful 90th birthday again. I am sure most of you know she was the local librarian from 1975 to 1997. She led the library in a time when it expanded its building to include three times its original floor space. This change resulted from countless hours of hard work and fundraising efforts on Ms. Leary’s behalf, and that of so many others in the county. Ms. Leary helped found the Redlands Festival, one of the most successful events in our county’s history. She also helped foster interest in what would eventually become the Itawamba Arts Council. She co-founded the Itawamba Historical Society and served for many years as its librarian after her retirement at the Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library. In 1981, Ms. Leary was named Itawamba’s Good Citizen for all the work she has done to improve our community. Ms. Leary is a truly great woman who has meant and continues to mean so much to our county. It meant the world to me to be able to have a part in her 90th birthday celebration.

March is shaping up to be quite a busy month here at the library. As I mentioned last month, we have two STEM-in-Action events scheduled in March. These two events will take the place during the usual time of our weekly STEM Story Times: Tuesdays at 4 p.m. ACES Science Labs from Huntsville, Alabama, will be here on Tuesday, March 24, for a hands-on Science experiment program, and Magician Bentley Burns will be here the next week on Tuesday, March 31, to do a fun math and science-themed magic show.

I have also planned a recurring event at the library every other Friday from 3:30-5 p.m. called STEM Lab Day. The first of these events will take place this Friday, March 6. These programs are non-structured, free play learning opportunities with scientific toys available for children to play and experiment with. Some items available include three Lego EV3 Robotics Kits, Bloxels Make Your Own Video Game Kit, Makey Makey Inventor’s Station, Squishy Circuits, OSMO Learning System, lots of standard Lego blocks and traditional arts and crafts supplies. Some of these toys require a tablet to be used for full functionality. Two iPads will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage children to bring their own tablets to use if possible. The goal of this program is to encourage scientific curiosity and experimentation in a fun group atmosphere.

Mrs. Lori Holland will be our guest speaker for this month’s Lunching with Books. That event will take place on Friday, March 27, at noon. I am sure she will choose an interesting book to discuss on that day.

Our next meeting of the Itawamba County Book Club will be on Monday, April 6, at 4 p.m. We will discuss “Something in the Water” by Catherine Steadman. This book is a psychological thriller that will appeal to fans of authors like Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Ruth Ware. The book club is open to anyone interested in attending. Contact us at the library if you’d like a copy of the novel to read before the meeting.

I have almost completed booking this year’s Summer Reading Program. I am only waiting to finalize a few details before I announce the lineup. This year’s schedule will include well-loved favorites, some great performers we haven’t had in many years, and some performers that we have yet to have at our library.

Last summer, we were able to give away bicycles to four lucky summer readers. We hope to do something similar this coming summer. Participants will be able to enter their names in the drawings throughout the summer by reading books, attending library programs, and more. In addition to the Summer Reading Program, I am also planning some exciting things for this year’s National Library Week, which will be observed from April 19-25. Be sure and like our library Facebook page to be the first to know when these and other events are announced.

Until next time, we would love for you to come and visit us here at the library.

Jeffrey Martin is the Branch Librarian for the Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library in Fulton. He can be reached at

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