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Shelf Talk 19: Holiday Reading

It’s the Holiday Season! Time to be thankful for friends and family, to count our blessings, and to celebrate the end of a long year. Over the next two months, we’ll be filling our baskets (both real and virtual!) with thoughtful presents, charitable gifts, rich food, and maybe even a little treat for ourselves. Even as our schedules fill with COVID-safe gatherings, this season also calls us to take quiet time for reflection and refreshment. What better way to relax than curled up with a good book? Save your money for presents and checkout your reading from the library!

Are you in the mood to get your home and hearth ready for holiday visitors? Drop by your local Mississippi County Library System (MCLS) branch for inspiration. We have the latest decorating, gardening, and home repair books and magazines. Additional titles are available for checkout through the Libby app: select Arkansas Digital Library Consortium, enter your MCLS library card number and PIN, then choose from over 80,000 eBooks, AudioBooks, and eMagazines right at your fingertips.

Are you hosting a meal? MCLS has hundreds of cookbooks available for checkout. Perennial classics like Julia Child’s Kitchen, Cooks Country, and The Joy of Cooking are sure to help you find just the right recipe. Books by famous chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Alton Brown can provide a tasty twist on a favorite dish. Or if you want to replicate a loved recipe you haven’t tasted in years, try looking through our collection of local and regional cookbooks. To bring together family lore and cooking, checkout Rick Bragg’s “The Best Cook in the World,” a memoir of stories and recipes from his mother’s kitchen.

Are you travelling during the holidays? Stop by your local MCLS branch for up-to-date travel guides from the Lonely Planet. Find hidden gems to visit locally with the Off the Beaten Path series, which features local attractions in each of the 50 states.

Maybe your treat to yourself is time. Time away from a hectic schedule, to relax and read. Visit your library for the latest novels by bestselling authors like John Grisham, Terry Goodkind, or James Patterson. Catch up with your favorite characters like Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, or Stephanie Plum. Curl up with a hot drink and a new-release romance, hot political read, popular biography, or period history.

As you consider giving this holiday, please keep the Mississippi County Library System in mind. Over the last three years, we’ve rebuilt the tornado-levelled Keiser branch, replaced a leaking roof and skylight in the Blytheville branch, updated broken and energy-inefficient HVAC and lighting in the Blytheville branch, and begun desperately-needed repairs on the Osceola branch. Physical plant work is expensive: the remaining $273,000 in debt requires a $3,000 monthly payment. The funds we are spending on necessary repairs mean that we have to reduce or delay community programming and services.

Tax-deductible checks may be made out to The Arkansas Community Foundation with “MCLS Action Fund” written on the memo line. Send to:

Arkansas Community Foundation

PO Box 125

Wilson, AR 72395

To give online, visit and click “Donate Now.” Be sure to choose “MCLS Action Fund” from the “Please apply my gift to” list and complete the other information on the form. Online giving requires a minimum $25 donation.

However you spend the holiday season, the Mississippi County Library System is here to make it merry! We are working hard to enrich life in our community. If you have an idea for a service or resource we could provide, let us know! As always, feel free to contact me at anytime with questions or suggestions.

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