New librarian in place at MSU-Meridian

By Staff
NEW LIBRARIAN Melanie Thomas is assistant professor/librarian and information specialist at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus. Thomas took over the new position last month. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Feb. 26, 2002
Melanie Thomas is a librarian without books.
Her job at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus is to help students find sources and information with computers through various databases or at Web sites.
Thomas began work this semester as assistant professor/librarian and information specialist at MSU-Meridian. She works closely with libraries at MSU in Starkville and Meridian Community College, which MSU helps support.
One of the tools she uses is called "Mississippi Alliance for Gaining New Opportunities Through Library Access," or MAGNOLIA for short.
MAGNOLIA is a statewide consortium funded by the Mississippi Legislature to provide online databases for publicly funded schools and libraries. It began in 1997.
With resources available through MAGNOLIA and other services, Thomas said, students can find full-text articles on just about any topic. Magazines, newspapers, books, corporate annual reports and legal references can be found online around the world.
Pat Wright of Union, an elementary education graduate student at MSU-Meridian, said the absence of a traditional library on campus has not been a hardship for her.
Students at MSU-Meridian usually use the MCC library, she said, "but I've never really had to. I usually find what I need online."
This semester Wright is researching children's literature. She said Thomas' guidance has been a big help.
Before the new position at MSU-Meridian, Thomas said someone from MSU's Starkville campus would travel to Meridian for orientation sessions to teach students how to find what they needed online.
Thomas now holds those orientations in Meridian for students and faculty.
Thomas, 39, is originally from Meridian. She earned a bachelor's degree Jackson State University and then attended library school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
She served as user services librarian at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro for 15 years. While there, she taught orientation classes and worked with a literacy group that taught adults how to read.
Thomas said one of the reasons she applied for the new MSU-Meridian position was because she wanted to be closer to family.