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Lincoln County Public Library is a ‘Star’ in the state

The Lincoln County Public Library possesses thousands of books and one big star.

The Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library System — which includes the main office in Brookhaven and branches in Monticello, Meadville and New Hebron — recently received one of 12 Mississippi Library Stars awarded by the Mississippi Library Commission for Fiscal Year 2017.

Henry Ledet, executive director of the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library System, credits the staff for continually trying to improve library services even while making do with less funding.

The library’s budget has dropped from $1.046 million in FY 2016 to $871,000 this year.

“We have the very best public library systems possible with the resources we have to work with, and the main resource that we have is our excellent and dedicated staff who believe that what we do is vitally important,” he said.

Ledet said library systems with similar resources are judged against each other. The Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library System was chosen to receive a Level III Library Star along with the Sunflower County Library System and the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library System.

Other winners were Sharkey-Issaquena County Library System, Carroll County Library Public Library System and Union County Library System in Level I; Carnegie Public Library of Clarksdale and Coahoma County, East Mississippi Regional Library and Waynesboro-Wayne County Library System in Level II; and The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal & Forrest County, Jackson-George Regional Library System and Central Mississippi Regional Library System in Level IV.

Winning a Library Star in Level III is big news, Ledet said.

“That means our staff is making the best possible use of what we have available to serve our public and the public is responding by using our services,” he said.

The library system had 163,191 items in circulation in the year ending September 2018. The system recorded an average of 478 visitors per day.

Star designation is based on traditional library services, which means all the extra services offered are considered in the determination.

“It says that we excel in providing regular library service,” he said. “It does not take into account all of the other enrichment we offer the community including our growing art collection, local history resources including oral histories, in-house databases, historic photo collection and such things the community values in addition to the traditional services.”

The concept of Library Stars comes from the national professional magazine, Library Journal, Ledet said. The publication separates library systems into categories by expenditures that they report on the annual Public Library Statistics report that is submitted to the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The star ratings are then calculated by comparing libraries’ in the following areas:

• Mississippi Measures – an amalgamation of statistics on interlibrary loan, statewide database use, number of registered users, and items withdrawn

• Circulation per capita

• Total program attendance per capita

• Public Internet terminal uses per capita

While Mississippi does not currently have any national Library Journal Library Stars, MLC has awarded Mississippi Library Stars to the best-scoring libraries in this state, recognizing the three highest-scoring library systems in each of four categories.

The winning libraries will receive a certificate and a Mississippi Star Library star to feature on their website

The Mississippi Library Commission supports innovative programs and initiatives to strengthen and enhance library services for all Mississippians.  The agency is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, with additional funding provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, offering leadership in library services, advocacy and training for library professionals and paraprofessionals.