Jacob Starks returns as director
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:00 AM
A former director is returning to the Neshoba County Public Library much to the delight of its board of directors.
Jacob Starks was reappointed library director after leaving the post about five months ago for personal reasons.
Starks, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, took over as library director on Aug. 1, 2013. He succeeded Madonna May who left in 2012.
However, he resigned in October, citing a personal matter. He returned to Houston, Texas, where he previously worked as a product support manager for a car dealership.
Starks returned earlier this month and said he was glad to be back.
Dianne White, president of the library board, said she was very excited about his return.
"We're thrilled to have him back," she said. "We still feel he is the best choice."
During Starks' absence, the board had began a search for his successor.
"We didn't know he would come back," White said. "We feel he'll do many good things for the library."
Stark plans to extend the library's hours of operation to include Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
The library is currently open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If the Saturday opening goes well, Starks hopes to extend it to 5 p.m.
"We're also building plans for our annual summer reading program including looking into an adult program," he said.
The program, he said, would focus on utilizing various authors and themes. Starks also hopes to host book discussions and even bring in some authors.
"We're looking at a number of ways of making it interesting," he said.
Since taking the position, Starks would like to see more adult participation.
"I'd like to expand our hours to 7 p.m. or even 7:30 p.m. for adults that are just getting off work," he said.
He plans to hold some surveys to gauge when people would have time to visit the library.
Starks also hopes to increase the library's presence by getting involved in community events.
He plans to have a booth set up at the annual Ham Jam Arts Festival on April 11-12.
"I may even participate in the amateur barbecue contest," he said.
Starks is also looking at improving the library's digital presence.
The library already has a new website at www.neshobalibrary.net.
He also hopes to ofter eBooks for the library through the Mississippi eBooks Library Consortium which has over 1,100 titles available.
Books would be checked out just like at the library and a waiting list would be set up for popular titles.
In the end, Starks has a vision for the library: to make it the best public library in the state of Mississippi.
"This is a prime candidate for that spot," he has said. "It's blessed with a good facility and people."
Right now the library has an "A" accreditation, Starks said. In the next year he hopes to get up to "AA" and, then, "AAA" the next year.