Q&A with Marcie Nelson, interim library director

With Lincoln Parish Library up for a millage renewal in November, the LPJ decided to ask Marcie Nelson, interim LPL director, about some of the programs, activities and opportunities the library offers the parish.

What children’s activities does the library offer?
We are still running our current football themed reading challenge as well as our virtual story times on Mondays at 10 a.m. and virtual crafts on Mondays at 2 p.m. and our in person story time on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. New take-and-make crafts are also available each week in the children’s department.

What teen activities does the library offer?
We offer a monthly craft or challenge for teens and will be partnering with the Princeton Review to host a virtual ACT practice program on Saturday, Oct 9.

What adult activities does the library offer?
We also offer monthly themed adult reading challenges as well as monthly take-and-make crafts for adults. We also have an ongoing in person program sponsored by Trailblazer RC&D on the first Tuesday of the month where we will host a free workshop on various topics. Oct. 5 is Basic Estate Planning with featured speaker Attorney Paul Spillers in the Event Center. Johnny’s Pizza will be provided at 5:15 p.m., and the program begins at 6 p.m. The second part of the series for Advanced Estate Planning will be on Nov. 2. We will also host investigative journalist and Louisiana author Stanley Nelson on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. in the Event Center. He was a Pulitzer Prize nominee for his works written in the Concordia Sentinel and efforts investigating several cold cases from the Civil Rights era in our state which led to his first book, “Devils Walking,” published in 2016. His second book, “Klan of Devils,” will be available Oct. 6.

Basically, there’s something for everyone, right?
Absolutely! we have programs and resources for all ages and walks of life. From physical materials like books and movies to digital access to databases, ebooks, movies and music. 

What book are you reading right now?

Ooh, fun one! I’m reading a book on a list for a grant I’m actually applying for. It’s called “The Once and Future Witches” by Alix E. Harrow. It’s Salem meets the Women’s Suffrage movement.

What has been your favorite book of 2021?

I recently finished “The Last Chance Library” by Freya Sampson. It came out at the end of August and is about a band of misfit patrons who, with the help of a young librarian, fight to save their local library from closure due to budget cuts. You can see the appeal I’m sure. It’s a feel good read with vibrant and varying characters that ends on a good note but not in the way you’d expect. Of all the books I’ve read in ’21, however, I would say my favorite so far has been “South of the Buttonwood Tree” by Heather Webber. I am a huge fan of magical realism. Particularly when it has a southern setting. I devoured her first book “Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe” and was excited to find she had written another. In this story a young children’s book author is sort of the black sheep of the community. Her family has a sordid past and is considered cursed by all the locals. It’s a great tale of a small town set in its ways and how things aren’t always what they seem, especially people.

Why are libraries so important to the community?

Libraries are the heart of the community. A public library is the only place in today’s society where you can come as you are and simply be. We welcome everyone and we try very hard to serve everyone and help them grow in their journey. Within the four walls of a library connections are made and lifelong friendships are nurtured. We foster a love for literacy, the arts and culture through programs and resources for all ages. Our goal is, and always will be, the help people thrive and to make our community better each and every day. 

What is the best part of your job?

People. Plain and simple. I have always said that public librarianship is a lot like mission work. We meet people where they are and we help them to move toward the next step. Weather that’s obtaining a college degree or a GED, applying for a new job or natural disaster relief, or even just simply helping them find their next favorite book; libraries sometimes find people in their most challenging times and we help them move forward. For me it’s the absolute look of joy that lights up their face or the audible sigh of relief when they realize they aren’t in this alone. I would say only one thing can top that, and that’s when they come back a second or third or fourth time because they trust us and they know we are really here for them. When they keep coming back, we know we are doing our job and doing it right.

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