The Dart: The Lincoln County Children’s library is this Wesson native’s jam

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, July 23, 2022

Children’s Librarian Patty Shelton sat behind the help desk at the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library close to where The Dart landed Thursday. She will celebrate a year with the library this September.

Shelton is a native of Wesson and graduated from Wesson High School. She attended Co-Lin Community College and earned her associates degree in marketing. Out of college, she worked at Union Planters Bank, which was bought out by Regions, and at Dr. Kergosien’s office for 15 years as a receptionist.

About a year ago she saw a post for a job with the Library. It was something she thought she could do. Afterall, she had always done vacation bible school and enjoyed working with kids, she said.

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“I gave it a shot. I love books and I have always loved to read,” Shelton said. “I loved coming to the library but I never thought I would be a librarian until it happened and now I’m having fun.”

The job requires a lot of planning as she tries to develop lessons kids will both enjoy and learn something from. She is very organized so it helps her stay on top of things. Everything has a place and she can’t work if things aren’t organized, she said.

Her hope with the children’s library is to grow the program to where kids see more than just the book. Shelton’s degree in marketing isn’t as useful to her job as her creativity is. A decorator, she went all out for the summer theme under the sea and built a coral reef with pool noodles. An octopus and a ship called A Happy Minnow made out of a refrigerator box welcome children to the section.

“I get my creative side from my mom. You have to be creative to work here and think outside the box,” she said.

One of the ways she stays creative outside of the library is by decorating her home and decorating for parties. If someone wants their kid’s party to be a Peppa Pig themed party she is the one to make it happen, she said.

Another way she stays creative is in the kitchen. She began cooking 20 years ago and has grown a love for the culinary arts. Her love for cooking didn’t start until she got married, she said.

Now, she tries to cook and explore different things. Her 13 year old son loves to cook and is always in the kitchen with her. One of her signature dishes is her homemade chicken pot pies because they are creamy and delicious. Her favorite thing to do when cooking is to change things up.

“Several years ago I won a fire pit from a church cooking competition for those chicken pot pies,” Shelton said. “My problem is I don’t always write my recipes down. I like to change it up and experiment. I don’t follow the rules, or recipe, when I cook. I also love to go out to eat and try to figure out the ingredients in dishes so I can make it. One day I will figure out how to make the turnip green bites from Georgia Blue.”

She looks forward to December when they go all out decorating the children’s section for Christmas. Her plan is to have a gingerbread house village. The library wants to make it a joyful place for kids to be, she said.

The children are the best part about her job. They are funny and she never knows what they will say. She said over the past year they have started to open up to her and the library is a comfortable place for them.

Shelton said she does not plan on leaving the children’s library any time soon, or the Brookhaven and Wesson area.

“This is my jam. This is where I was meant to be. It is fun back here,” she said. “The thought of leaving Brookhaven or Wesson has never crossed my mind. It is home. I don’t think about myself being anywhere else but here.”