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Shelf Talk 23: Employee of the Quarter Randy Newman

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

The Mississippi County Library System (MCLS) is delighted to announce Randy Newman as MCLS Employee of the Quarter for 4th Quarter 2020. Congratulations, Randy!

Randy is the MCLS Technology Specialist, but his hard work, energetic personality, and positive attitude make him an asset no matter what position he fills. “Randy is my ‘Right-hand Man’ on about anything I need,” says MCLS Director Lowell Walters. “Whether it be to investigate a facility issue, troubleshoot technology, or conduct a collection inventory, Randy approaches matters with dedication and a good spirit. He is also very proactive to help customers in a friendly manner. And he is skilled in offering programming to folks of all ages from pre-school through senior adults. Finally, he is an excellent sounding board for me to run concerns and proposed initiatives across. I am very happy to extend this recognition to him. It is well-deserved.”

For over 20 years, Randy has served the people of Mississippi County through his work at MCLS. He began his career in 1999 with a part time position in the Osceola Library. Soon, he was putting his education to good use through helping the then seven-branch System install and maintain computer networks. Now based out of the Blytheville Library, Randy maintains the System’s public and staff computers and printers, Internet and WiFi systems at each MCLS branch, the System-wide online catalog (available at, phone and security systems, and much more. He serves each customer with a smile, always the first person to help with a computer question.

What is his favorite part of the job? “Everyday is different at the library,” Randy says. “We get to respond to what customers need. I get so much joy from helping a customer learn something new. When someone comes in with a phone or an iPad and wants to use Libby, but has no idea where to start, I get to walk them through the process, show them how to enter their library card information and check out a book. I love to see the joy on their faces when all of a sudden thousands of books open right up to them.”

Randy’s customer service experience is not limited to technology. He organizes the popular Family Game Nights at the Blytheville Library (held weekly pre-COVID), leads children’s story times during the summer, and runs a monthly book club, YA Forever. “Long days of work and programs are never a burden because they’re so much fun,” he says. “I love to work with kids, to get to know what they think is funny. They love to beat me in a game, or watch me fall asleep in the middle of a story.” A library’s job is to make books come alive, to introduce customers to new ideas and stories. “My book club is about enjoying what we read. They probably get sick to death of me talking about Harry Potter, but I think those books are the definition of 5 [stars]. We have to have a standard to rank other books!”

As MCLS works to improve its facilities and services, Randy looks forward to bright, sun-filled buildings with a modern aesthetic. “The library should be a friendly, open, happy place to be,” he says. He dreams of integrating technology more into the customer experience, through offering fully-equipped business meeting rooms, a Maker Space, and quality virtual programming. Libraries are no longer static places, but contain a flow of information, ideas, and conversation. “It’s all about meeting people where they are,” Randy says, “That’s how we contribute to the community.”

Please join us in congratulating Randy Newman on the MCLS Employee of the Quarter award. If you have an idea for a service or resource the Mississippi County Library System could provide, or would like to volunteer at one of our library branches, let us know! As always, feel free to contact me at anytime with questions or suggestions.

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