Elsie E. Jurgens Library
Serving Madison County, Mississippi
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It has been an exciting year for the Ridgeland branch with the addition of several fresh new programs. Last January the Adult Coloring Club was introduced in both Ridgeland and Madison. This fall we are delighted to increase the coloring sessions at Ridgeland to two nights a month. We also enjoyed a Mardi Gras celebration with the “Krewe of Ridgeland.” Both the Coloring Club and the Mardi Gras party got off to a rough start due to thunderstorms and persistent flooding of the building, but we managed to take the oars and carry on.

In February, the Friends of the Library sponsored a Christian Fiction author panel. Those in attendance enjoyed interesting and inspirational stories from authors Lorraine Beatty, Virginia Vaughan, and Jacqueline Wheelock. This was just the beginning of a Season of Authors at the Ridgeland branch! In March we were honored to host award-winning children’s author Barry Wolverton, the nephew of Ridgeland’s very own Mayor Gene McGee. Despite more rain and flooding, Barry was well received by a large congregation who enjoyed the debut of Ridgeland’s Hot Cocoa Bar.

The Madison County Mystery readers welcomed a visit from Owen Laukkanen. This event took place during National Library Week on April 12th. Coming to the group via Skype from Vancouver, British Columbia, Mr. Laukkanen fascinated the mystery readers group with the methods of his writing and his life as a writer.

To conclude the Season of Authors, the Friends of the Ridgeland Library presented a local author and the assistant director for University Press of Mississippi, Steve Yates. Yates entertained patrons with a book reading and book discussion which evolved to his writing techniques and motivational messages to those inspired to write.

In recognition of this year’s National Library Week theme, “Libraries Transform,” the Friends of the Library sponsored the family event “Transform Yourself @ the Library”. The sizeable crowd of all ages was fascinated by the MoodHair Cosplay team who spoke about the art of making costumes and provided an impressive display of handmade costumes and props.

Thanks to the efforts of branch manager Antoinette Giamalva and circulation assistant Ke’Aura Lawson, our branch was proud to host its first Adult Summer Reading Program! Keeping this year’s Summer Reading theme of “Exercise Your Mind: READ”, the library hosted three programs and gave away prizes related to health and fitness. Walgreen’s held a walk-in body mass index and blood pressure screening; Whole Foods of Jackson and Alzheimer’s Mississippi also sponsored programs giving informative lectures on superfoods, juicing, and brain health. The Friends of the Ridgeland Library generously provided the grand prizes of two FitBit watches. The program was quite successful with attendance goals exceeding initial expectations and we look forward to another Adult SR program in 2017!

Looking forward, the Ridgeland library is enthusiastic about the Fall 2016-Winter 2017 season. We have already started a new Fandom support group that meets one Saturday a month to share common interests about graphic novels, movies, gaming, cosplay, and more. October will be the kick-off month for the Madison County Young Professional Social Nights on the 1st and 3rd Monday evenings. We will also begin “Spin, Deal, Roll”, a weekly entertaining pastime filled with all types of games from Backgammon to Scattergories! Those participating are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. Beverages will be provided by the Friends of the Library.

On October 13th, Jane Nickerson, young adult author from Aberdeen, Mississippi, will talk about her newest book, A Place of Stone and Shadow. Jane’s mysterious historical fictions are popular with young adults as well as adults. And what would the month of October be without a Halloween party? Ridgeland will host “Cos-Ween”, an adult Halloween party complete with costumes, games, prizes, and Candy Apple and Hot Cocoa bars on October 25th.
The Ridgeland library will observe the holiday season this year on December 8 with Gingerbread Champions, a gingerbread house contest to include different categories ranging from child, teen, adult, family, and most creative. We plan to start 2017 properly with a repeat of the “Krewe of Ridgeland” Mardi Gras celebration. In March we are excited to offer Monte Carlo Night, an evening filled with casino style games and some surprise visitors. May will be a blast with Murder May-hem, a murder mystery dinner party!
-Branch Manager, Antoinette Giamalva