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Mississippi's largest library consortium is adding new libraries this week. After the acquisition, the system will serve 55 libraries in 16 Mississippi counties.

The Mississippi Library Partnership (MLP) welcomed the Lee-Itawamba Library System to the consortium in an official contract signing on Thursday, August 23, 2012. The Lee-Itawamba Library System currently serves Tupelo's Lee County Public Library & Fulton's Itawamba County Public Library.

The Lee-Itawamba Library System joins the MLP, which serves libraries on the campuses of Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, East Mississippi Community College, Starkville High School, and in the cities of Aberdeen, Ackerman, Amory, Artesia, Batesville, Caledonia, Carthage, Coldwater, Columbus, Como, Crawford, Crenshaw, Duck Hill, Durant, Eupora, Goodman, Hamilton, Hernando, Horn Lake, Jackson, Kilmichael, Kosciusko, Lexington, Louisville, Maben, Mathiston, Mayhew, Meridian, Nettleton, Olive Branch, Oxford, Pickens, Sardis, Scooba, Senatobia, Southaven, Starkville, Sturgis, Tchula, Tunica, Walls, Walnut Grove, Weir, West, West Point, Winona, and Wren.

During the contract signing in Mississippi State University Libraries' John Grisham Room, Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, welcomed the new members to the MLP stating "We are very proud of Mississippi State University's role in the growth and development of the Mississippi Library Partnership. The affiliation of the Lee-Itawamba Library System with the Partnership brings even more strength and prestige to this important consortium."

Lee-Itawamba Director Jeff Tomlinson is pleased with the decision to join, remarking "We are very excited about joining the Partnership as a way to provide additional books to our patrons and also as a way to save taxpayer dollars; when we can borrow the books from another library, we don't have to buy those titles." Tomlinson went on to share, "Once our patrons get familiar with this service, I expect we will see many requests for books from other libraries. This is just too good a deal to pass up, and the people of our community know a good thing when they see it!"

The Mississippi Library Partnership was established in 1993 as a means of increasing the sharing of resources and automation costs as well as the sharing of technical expertise. The mission of the Partnership is to provide a central database that customers can utilize to provide easy access to resources available in the North-Central regions of the state. Building upon the success of the venture between charter members Mississippi State University and Mississippi University for Women, the Partnership continues to impact libraries and provide exceptional service to its members.

"We are very pleased to have the Lee-Itawamba System join the MLP," said Cunetto. "With the addition of these new libraries, the Partnership, the only one of its kind in the State, now includes over 55 libraries, including academic, public, and school libraries."

The Lee-Itawamba Library System will be live on the MLP system beginning October 18, 2012.

Since its establishment, Starkville High School, Tombigbee Regional Library System, Starkville-Oktibbeha Public Library System, the East Mississippi Community College Libraries, the Mid-Mississippi Library System, Columbus-Lowndes Public Library System, and the First Regional Library have joined the Partnership. Training and ongoing development and support for the Partnership is handled by the Mississippi State University Libraries.

For more information on the Mississippi Library Partnership, please visit http://library.msstate.edu/mlp

Pictured at the contract signing are (l to r) Celia Fisher, Member, Mississippi Library Commission Board of Directors; Vicki Gault-Farmer, Member, Lee-Itawamba Library System Board of Directors; Stephen Cunetto, Administrator of Systems for MSU Libraries & Executive Director, Mississippi Library Partnership; Glenda Segars, Member, Lee-Itawamba Library System Board of Directors; Jeff Tomlinson, Director, Lee-Itawamba Library System; Mark Keenum, President, Mississippi State University; Dalton Anthony, President, Friends of the Lee County Library; Julie Battaile, Chair, Board of Trustees for the Lee-Itawamba Library System; and Frances Coleman, Dean of Libraries, Mississippi State University.

Jeff Tomlinson (left), Director, Lee-Itawamba Library System, and Mark Keenum, President, Mississippi State University sign the contract officially merging the Lee-Itawamba Library System with the Mississippi Library Partnership on Thursday, August 23, 2012, during a ceremony at Mississippi State University Libraries.

Photo Credit: Jim Tomlinson / MSU Li braries

About MSU Libraries:

Mississippi State University Libraries is a premier research library providing its communities of users an ongoing, creative, technologically advanced library program that provides new and emerging technologies; enhances and inspires teaching, research, and service of the highest caliber in an environment of free and open inquiry and with a commitment to excellence. For more information about MSU Libraries, please visit http://library.msstate.edu/ .

MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is online at www.msstate.edu.