Jeffrey Martin Mug

Jeffrey Martin

When Adam asked me a few weeks ago if I’d be interested in writing a recurring column for The Itawamba County Times, I gladly accepted. I appreciate their providing me this new avenue to talk about library events, news, and history, as well as other related items of interest. Also, thanks to a certain delightful former librarian for putting the idea for this column into Adam’s head.

Before I discuss library topics, I wanted to do a little personal update. I really can’t decide whether it seems like a long time ago or just yesterday when I agreed to take the job as Branch Librarian here at the Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library. I was 24 years old, armed with a teaching degree and splitting most of my time between jobs at Walmart in Fulton and a Tupelo hotel. I was glad to find a job that allowed me to express my love of literature and that allowed me to transition to a traditional 40-hour work week.

Since then, a lot has changed in my life, but I do still love my job and the unpredictability of it. From one day to the next, I may be picking out new books for the library, authoring grants, conducting children’s programs, assisting library patrons with computer questions, or any number of different things. When I’m not at work, I spend most of my time with my wife, Sarah, chasing after the world’s cutest and most mischievous redhead, Silas. It is my belief that a love of reading can change a child’s life by providing an escape from stressful situations, increasing his or her vocabulary tremendously, and promoting lifelong learning, which will ultimately be the key to advancement later in life. I hope to inspire this love of reading in Silas so that his future can take him anywhere he wants to go.

We have a lot going on at the library right now. You may have read that we received a $10,000 grant recently from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi to kick-start a program called STEM Story Time, which we host every Tuesday at 4 p.m. The program takes the traditional story time model and adds in more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts (the S, T, E, and M in STEM). Each week, we read stories on a different theme with accompanying hands-on activities and/or crafts. The grant will purchase books and materials used during these events and allow the library to bring in a few special guests to raise interest in the program.

Approximately once a month, we will host different guests who have exciting jobs in STEM fields to host fun, interactive, and educational programs. We are calling these programs “Stem-in-Action.” We have already hosted programs on the human body with Healthworks! North Mississippi, a Cute and Creepy Live Animal Program with Animal Tales LLC, and, as of Tuesday, the amazing juggler Ron Anglin from Atlanta, Georgia. We also have a special STEM-in-Action Christmas Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. That morning will begin with a fun and interactive program from children’s musician Jacob Johnson from Nashville, Tennessee, who will blend holiday music with science. Jolly Old St. Nick will arrive after the music to hear Christmas lists and pose for pictures. We will also read Christmas stories, do fun crafts, and have milk and cookies.

Please come out and join us for these events or whenever you feel like getting a good book to read! It’s getting cold out there, and that is a great time to curl up by the heater with a good book.

Jeffrey Martin is the Branch Librarian for the Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library in Fulton. He can be reached at jmartin@li.lib.ms.us

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