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Programs Created for the Public Library


Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Estate Planning Teleconference

The Library welcomed Mr. Cory Larkin, from law offices of Furey, Doolan, and Abell, LLP. In this teleconference, Mr. Larkin will discuss the importance and basic of Estate Planning, how to find a qualified attorney, and will answer questions from participants. Mr. Larkin "is an associate at Furey, Doolan & Abell, LLP. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Larkin practiced in the fields of trusts and estates, real estate, and corporate law in New York, where he was an active member of the Estate and Trust Administration Committee of the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Larkin obtained his J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law while building a financial services practice with Northwestern Mutual.." (Provided by Furey, Doolan, Abell Law Firm.)​

Voting Rights Teleconference

The Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Maryland and the Maryland State Board of Elections, held an evening teleconference focused on voting; voting basics, voting rights, and voting accessibility.  Most Americans have a basic understanding of voting; to vote, you are making your needs and values known to the leaders of your social group, your city, your state, and your country. However, voting is much more complicated than people often realize. Do you know all the rules? Are you familiar with how your vote moves from the ballot to place a candidate in office? Are you familiar with your rights regarding Accessible Voting? 

Big Read: Microaggressions Teleconference

The Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped continued the NEA Big Read at the University Baltimore celebration of Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine with a teleconference on Microaggressions. The event featured Dr. Harriette E. Wimms, the founder and director of the Village Family Center of Baltimore, speaking on the ongoing issues surrounding Microaggressions. Microaggressions are a key theme in the Big Read's Citizen: An American Lyric, as the author, discusses how every day assaults on her ethnicity and her gender shapes her view of the world around her. Dr. Wimms spoke about Microaggressions as a whole and how such assaults are not limited to race and gender. Drawing from her many years of experience, she helped define and expand our understanding of Microaggression to include the disabled community, while helping us find ways to combat the effects of this behavior on our mental health.  

Braille and Large Print Bingo

The Library will hosted a free bingo at their downtown location. The library provided large print and Braille bingo cards for those who do not have their own, light refreshments, and an engaging atmosphere.

50th Anniversary Celebration

Celebrating 50 Years of Words in Many Forms! The Friends of the Library cordially hosted a 50th-anniversary celebration in honor of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; Special guest speakers to include Maryland Disability Secretary Carol Beatty, Award Winning Maryland Poet Gayle Danley, and “The Blind Life” blogger/vlogger, Sam Seavey.

Fraud Prevention Teleconference

In partnership with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, the Library hosted a teleconference event focused on Fraud Prevention. This program was designed to provide information on common scams and fraudulent activities that many Americans fall victim to each year. Participants learned how to spot and report scams; learn how to protect yourself from fraudulent businesses.

Central Mississippi Regional Library System

Flowood Reads

 In fall of 2016, the hosted a literacy campaign based on the American Library Association's One Book, One Community program, found freely on their website. The program was a two year project, a year and a half behind the scenes and approximately 8 months of marketing, social media campaigns, contests, and interactive programming. With the help of the PR director for Central Mississippi Regional Library System, we developed a website: and an individualized Facebook page, that stood separately from the library's main media outlets. The contests included artwork and writing exercises while the interactive events included computer literacy, community engagement, and traditional literacy.  

Annual Doctor Who Nite:

 Since September 2014, the Flowood Library has held an annual Doctor Who Nite, designed to immerse all library patrons in the fun and exciting world of Doctor Who. Each year, the library will offer a "game show" program where contestants compete for prizes...and bragging rights. In addition to the trivia game, the library hosts a costume contest, nearly six mini-games, and a large spread of Doctor Who themed food. 

Annual Cookie Contest and Swap

Since December 2013, the Flowood Library has hosted a Cookie Contest & Swap, designed to get families baking holiday cookies together! The program is a contest where a local celebrity will "judge" the cookies, award prizes, and then encourage everyone to swap their cookies with other contestants. The first program yielded 45 people attending and 16 contestants. The second year yielded 30 attendants and 20 contestants.

Annual "Happy Birthday, Elvis!" Program

Since January 2014, the Flowood Library has hosted Tim "Elvis" Johnson of Madison, Mississippi as he paid tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. Patrons enjoyed music, dancing, and delicious treats. Mr. Johnson returned to perform in January 2015, January 2016, and January 2017. 

Annual Summer Reading "TV Game Show" Program

Since 2013, the Flowood Library has hosted a "game show" in honor of the Collaborative Summer Reading Program. In 2014, with emcee Derrel Palmer (Voice of the Mississippi Braves), the Library hosted Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader: Science Edition. We wrangled  a City Alderman, a Police Resource Officer, a local Firemen, and the Principal of Flowood Elementary, and pit them up against each other for prizes. Each contestant had to see if they could remember first through fifth grade science questions. In 2015, the library will be hosted Family Feud: Super  Hero Edition, again featuring local VIPs going up against the audience in a chance to win prizes. In 2016, the library's gameshow of choice was "Minute to Win It!"

Anti-Bullying Support Program:

With a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, I hosted the most rewarding program of my career; my intent was to build a collaborative and interactive support program for those who have been bullied by their peers or wish to help promote anti-bullying advocacy.  While the program was not a complete success, I was afforded an opportunity to evaluate my long term personal goals while helping to establish a positive report with teens, local schools, and the City of Flowood. The program is currently on hiatus, though I hope to relaunch the program as a an annual "Unity Day" hosted at the Flowood Library in 2016. The presentation can be found on Haiku Deck: 

Library Card Discount Program

 In honor of National Library Month for 2013, I attempted to encourage family use of the public library, I contacted local organizations to offer a discount for all customers who showed library cards. This program was not a success but did serve as inspiration for the library's annual fine forgiveness program.  

St. Tammany Parish Public Library System

Introduction to Genealogy:
Yearly, I host three individual “Introduction to Genealogy” classes, one at each of the major branches. The program consisted of an hour and a half talk with a thirty-minute question/answer session. Also included in the program was a complete breakdown of Ancestry Library Edition,, and our role as a Church of Latter-Day Saints Library Affiliate. A new guide was produced to go along with these classes, as well as additional handouts that focused on various genealogical subjects. These programs were well attended, averaging 40 people per session. 

African American Genealogy:
The Library hosted LaToya Devezin of the New Orleans Public Library for an African American Genealogy Program in February 2012. This program was primarily focused on Louisiana and the rich history surrounding African American and Cajun genealogy. The most important aspect about this class was that it conclusively told patrons that African American does not always mean “black.” This program was well attended, about ten people, considering that it was subject specific. LaToya Devezin came back for a second African American Genealogy Program in February 2013. It was a full house! I honestly hope to make this a yearly program! 

Genealogy Game Night:
Again, a new program to STPL, Genealogy Game Night was designed as an fun introduction (to advanced) genealogy class. The purpose of this program was to learn about in-depth genealogy research while playing the game Weakest Link. 

Family History Month: Saving Your Family's Treasures:
Our first program was with LaToya Devezin (NOLA Public Library) in collaboration with the Archival Training Collaborative. Held at the Slidell branch, we had a strict registration limit of 20 people. We had 18 people actually attend, plus a few who came in mid-way. By the end of the workshop, attendees learned the following skills: 

  • Define and differentiate between the terms preservation and conservation
  • Describe and apply basic preservation techniques for photographs, paper, documents, textiles, and home videos
  • Identify when to consult a professional conservator
  • Start developing a plan on how to share research with their community

Genealogy Social :
The second program was “Genealogy Social,” held at the Covington branch. It went very well, with almost 25 (official) people in attendance (and more who popped in and out). I gave several tours of the genealogy room, talked about the collection, and showed off our new microfilm machine. People ate everything I put out--I did Duncan Hines proud, apparently! They mingled with each other, and I saw a few people exchange contact information. Guests connected with the Genealogical Societies that came out, and some filled out applications for membership on the spot. Some even spent time doing joint research--a few people who never met actually worked together and showed newcomers how to get started in navigating a genealogy collection. A staff member came in and volunteered a look at her family's bible.  Bill Larsen-Ruffin (Reference Coordinator) was on hand to help those with Ancestry and HeritageQuest (and even stepped out to handle a reference question!). 

DNA and Genealogy: A Different Kind of Genealogy Talk:
The third program was “DNA and Genealogy,” a webinar with Dr. Coleen Fitzpatrick. The program was hosted via Go-To-Meeting at our Causeway branch. Colleen Fitzpatrick is a leading forensic genealogist who has worked on several high-profile cases. We had about 35 people attend, though less than half signed in. A few didn't stay for the entire program.  We had several people arrive late and didn't sign in because of traffic.  People stood, asked questions of Dr. Fitzpatrick live. It was not prerecorded, so very interactive.  Some patrons shared their experiences with Genealogy and Genetic testing while others asked questions on how to get the testing started. Dr. Fitzpatrick drew people in from across the lake, a few who had never considered St. Tammany for their genealogical research. Since then, several patrons have been back.