A graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is Mississippi’s new State Librarian.
Stephen Parks, who earned a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree in the fall of 2013 from Southern Miss, took over the post Jan. 1. In this position he serves as director of the State Library, managing a staff that provides services to Mississippi’s Supreme Court, other state courts, state officials and the general public.
“It is a great honor to be chosen for this position, which dates back to the mid-19th century,” said Parks. “I look forward to providing the best services possible to the state judiciary, state officials and to the citizens of Mississippi.”
A native of LaGrange, N.C., Parks holds a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University and law degree from Mississippi College. After graduating from law school, he worked as the MC Law School library’s Research, Instructional Services and Circulation Librarian. Parks was also director of the law library’s Judicial Data Project and Legislative History Project, which is the archive of Mississippi’s legal history.
“Two of my favorite topics to read and research on are Mississippi and the law, and this position will be a great fit for me to pursue those interests,” Parks said.
While a student in the USM MLIS program in 2012, Parks presented a poster at the USM Graduate Student Research Colloquium on the Judicial Data Project. The project (http://judicial.mc.edu/), an online database that allows free access to appellate briefs, oral argument videos, excerpts from appellate records, and statistical data from the Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, earned the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) 2012 Innovations in Technology Award. Another project Parks worked on, the Legislative History Project (http://law.mc.edu/legislature/), won the AALL 2014 Public Access to Government Information Award.
In June 2013, Parks presented a research paper, “A Bibliometric Study of LIS Literature Related to Academic Law Librarianship” at the 5th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries at the Universita di Roma la Sapienza, Rome, Italy. It was selected for publication in the QQML Journal January 2015 issue (http://www.qqml.net/Special_Issue_January_2015_Bibliometrics.html). In spring 2015, he taught a special topics graduate LIS course on law librarianship as adjunct faculty and received top ratings from his students.
“Stephen is not only an accomplished scholar, he is also a wonderful mentor and recruiter for the Southern Miss MLIS program, and he will be an outstanding State Librarian for Mississippi,” said Dr. Teresa Welsh, director of the USM SLIS.
For information about the Southern Miss School of Library and Information Science, visit http://www.usm.edu/library-information-science.