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News and Current Events

4/10/17–Washington Memorial Library Named One of 10 Most Beautiful Libraries in Georgia

ATLANTA — Macon’s own historic Washington Memorial Library has made Georgia Public Library Service’s newly recognized list of the state’s 10 Most Beautiful Public Libraries.

The Washington Memorial Library opened Nov. 28, 1923 on the site of Washington Place, the home of former Macon mayor James H. R. Washington. His granddaughter, Ellen Washington Bellamy, donated the site and $50,000 for a library to be built in memory of her brother, Hugh Vernon Washington. Memorials to the family are incorporated into the architecture, including a coat of arms above the original front door and bas-relief cameos high on the north and south interior walls. The Lanier Alcove houses a bust of poet Sidney Lanier by Gutzon Borglum, designer of Mount Rushmore and Stone Mountain. The library’s Genealogical & Historical Room ranks among the top such facilities in Georgia.

To identify and recognize these libraries, GPLS solicited help from residents around the state. After a two-month online-submission campaign, the agency received nominations recommending a total of 60 facilities.

“Those libraries were then judged on their overall design, both in form and function, as well as for their interior and exterior styles and sense of timelessness,” explained State Librarian Julie Walker. “We also wanted to recognize libraries that are, or were, innovative for their time, as well as those whose design reflects and serves their respective communities.”

A panel of public library and architecture professionals reviewed the candidates this winter and, over the course of three rounds of voting, narrowed the 60 nominees down to 10. The judging panel included Leslie Sharp, associate vice provost with the Georgia Institute of Technology and a teacher of historic preservation in the College of Architecture there, and Allyson McCarthy, architect and partner with Turco McCarthy Architecture & Design, who is a former chair of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. Panel members from GPLS were Walker; Wendy Cornelisen, assistant state librarian for library innovation and collaboration; Jessica Everingham, assistant state librarian for library development and support; Nathan Rall, director of library planning and construction; and David Baker, director of communications and strategic partnerships. Between them, Rall and Baker have nearly five decades of experience working in the design and construction industry.

Georgia’s most beautiful libraries will each be recognized at a 2 p.m. ceremony on April 10 at the Mary Willis Library — the state’s first free library and the first in Georgia to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Representatives from each beautiful library will be presented with a framed certificate and individualized “10 Most Beautiful” stamps for endorsing their respective pages in promotional passports that will be available free at each recognized facility and at hundreds of other participating public libraries around the state in time for this year’s summer vacation season.

The passports shine a spotlight on seven additional public libraries that did not make the final 10 but whose architectural significance or spectacular settings make them equally worthy destinations for travelers.

2/21/17–Grant-seekers get first look at financial resource at local library


MACON, GA—Local nonprofit organizations and other grant-seekers in Central Georgia gathered at Washington Memorial Library for a Nonprofit Fair on Feb. 8.

An initiative to promote the new Funding Information Network provided by the Foundation Center, the Non-profit fair, included two training sessions on the resource, “Intro to Finding Grants” and “Intro to Proposal Writing”.

Participants ranged from United Way of Central Georgia to the Macon Symphony Orchestra to individuals looking to start their own nonprofits. Both information sessions were led by Foundation Center representative, Stephen Sherman.

Staff at Washington Memorial Library began inviting local nonprofit organizations to attend the event back in December of 2016. Reaching out via phone calls, emails, and spreading the word at local community meetings and gathers, they expanded their reach to their patrons through flyers, social media, and the local newspaper.

Reponses began to flood in from interested parties all over so much so that private one-on-one sessions had to be scheduled other dates later in the month. Soon, the entire remainder of the February calendar had been filled and arrangements to create classes on the resource in March were underway.

Thanks to the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, the resource is located at Washington Memorial Library and can be accessed through the computer lab terminals or personal devices that are connected to Washington Memorial’s wireless internet.

Anyone wanting to learn more about the Funding Information Network and any other Foundation Center resources, can stop by the reference desk at Washington Memorial Library or give them a call at 478-744-0825.


1/12/17– MGRL Director receives Librarian of the Year award

Jennifer Lautzenheiser was presented with the Georgia’s Public Librarian of the Year award by the Georgia Public Library Service on Jan 12 at Washington Memorial Library.

Representatives including State Librarian, Julie Walker, and Macon- Bibb Commissioner Gary Bechtel gave remarks on Lautzenheiser and her commitment to the betterment of the community and public libraries.

Walker presented Lautzenheiser with a glass plaque and check for five hundred dollars. In her remarks, Lautzenheiser expressed her gratefulness for being chosen to receive the award and recognition and the need to give credit to everyone from the librarians in the system’s branches to the administrative team for their efforts.

“I’m from the school of librarians build community,” Lautzenheiser said. “I came into a community that had already done the hard work of learning how to work together…it was kind of right for me to come in and say ‘hey we want to join in’.”

The Public Librarian of the Year award recognizes a full-time and professionally licensed public librarian whose innovative and creative talents are instrumental in the delivery of outstanding library service to his or her library and to the communities it serves. Lautzenheiser has brought several initiatives to the community through the library including the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, the Funding Information Network through the Community Foundation, and new programming provided at each branch library location.

According to a news release by GPLS, nominations for this year’s GPLS-sponsored awards were submitted from public library directors and trustees, members of recognized Friends of the Library groups and GPLS staff members. Collectively, GPLS received more than three dozen nominations from every corner of the state.

11/14/16 — MGRL joins Foundation Center’s global network

Nonprofit organizations and other grant-seekers in Central Georgia looking for funding sources now have access to a valuable new collection of resources at Washington Memorial Library. Thanks to the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Washington Memorial Library has become a Funding Information Network partner-location with Foundation Center.

Funding Information Network partners provide under-resourced and underserved populations in need of vital information and training with tools they can use to become successful grant seekers. Located throughout the country and around the world, Funding Information Network partners offer free access to Foundation Center’s detailed information on grantmakers and applying for grants. Foundation Center’s core collection of resources includes Foundation Directory Online, profiling more than 140,000 U.S. grantmakers, Foundation Grants to Individuals Online, Foundation Maps, print directories, and proposal writing guides. Beginning early 2017, Washington Memorial Library will hold training sessions on how to effectively use these resources and identify potential funders.

The resource is located at Washington Memorial Library and can be accessed through the computer lab terminals or personal devices that are connected to Washington Memorial’s wireless internet. For more information about Foundation Center resources, visit foundationcenter.org or stop by the reference desk at Washington Memorial Library.

10/6/16– MGRL Director, Jennifer Lautzenheiser graduates from PINNACLE

MGRL is proud to announce that director, Jennifer Lautzenheiser, has graduated with the 2015-2016 PINNACLE class.

The PINNACLE leadership program is designed to prepare Georgia’s degreed public librarians who possess a minimum of two years professional experience to move into positions of leadership in their organizations and allow those already in these positions to improve their practice.

8/17/16 — MGRL sends 2nd Librarian to PINNACLE in two years

Middle Georgia Regional Library’s Affiliate Services Coordinator, James O’Neal, has been accepted to the 2016-2017 Public library INstitute for New and Creative Leadership Education (PINNACLE).

This makes the second year in a row that a Macon-based librarian has been accepted into the state library leadership program.

The PINNACLE leadership program is designed to prepare Georgia’s degreed public librarians who possess a minimum of two years professional experience to move into positions of leadership in their organizations and allow those already in these positions to improve their practice.

As the Affiliate Services Coordinator, James oversees nine affiliate library branches in five of MGRL’s six member counties and serves as their state-licensed librarian, supporting them through his professional librarian skills, knowledge, and guidance.

7/6/16 — Georgia Libraries now provide FREE access to TumbleBooks

TumbleBookLibrary is an online collection of e-books for children. There are over 250 animated, talking picture books. The site also features Spanish and French books, read-along chapter books, non-fiction books, and exciting games and puzzles.

To get started, simply obtain the GALILEO password the next time you visit your local library, then click the link: www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=ztbo

4/4/16 – Chilton Library and Gale Legal Forms Added to MGRL Online Services

MGRL is excited to add Chilton Library and Gale Legal Forms to its growing collection of online services. Chilton Library provides maintenance and repair information for thousands of vehicles. Gale Legal Forms provides official legal forms with more forms being added daily. As always, these services are provided free through your library. Library users with an MGRL-specific PINES library card can access these resources through the links above and on the library’s website.

3/10/16 — Ellamae Ellis League Inducted in the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame

Ellamae Ellis League was inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame at the 25th Annual Induction Ceremony on March 9, 2016. Head Archivist Muriel Jackson of the Middle Georgia Archives nominated League for the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame.
In 1934 League became part of the only two percent of American architects who were women at that time. Over 9,200 of League’s architectural drawings are held at the Washington Memorial Library including commissions within five states and forty-two Georgia counties.
Stop by our Genealogical & Historical Room and Middle Georgia Archives to see some of her work!

Award Presentation 2 IMG_2483

1/27/16 — “Library Legislative Day”

It’s Library Legislative Day at the Georgia State Capitol and our very own Director, Jennifer Lautzenheiser and Board of Trustees member Verneda Appling are meeting with legislators on behalf of MGRL!


1/25/16 — “The Macon Factor Night #1”

MACON,GA—“You’ve got to use what you got, to get what you want”, said the late James Brown. So, the Middle Georgia Regional Library is using Macon’s rich musical history to provide the community with a great series, “James Brown: The Macon Factor”, to show the musical influence Macon had on James Brown and his peers.

Thursday, January 21, 2016 kicked off the first day of “James Brown: The Macon Factor”. Dr. Deborah-Patrice Hamlin the series leader started the discussion with the early career of James Brown and Macon’s rich musical history. This sparked a fire and people from all walks of life began to recount their family’s ties to Macon’s rich musical history. The audience expressed how they wanted the story of Macon to be told and the infrastructure to be preserved, areas like Tindall Heights. This led to a consensus that these discussions are the focal point of coordinating grassroots effort to tackle today’s issues and help tell the story. If you want to be a part of the discussion you still have a chance. There are 3 more opportunities to join in on the discussion and celebration.

We’re really excited to bring this discussion series and a host of related activities to the community, this is what we enjoy doing. We welcome you to take part in this discussion, connect with others from all over Macon and share your memories and passion for Macon!

12/17/15 — MGRL Receives Dominion Cybergrant

The Middle Georgia Regional Library received a grant for $2,000 from the Dominion Company. The grant is being provided for the Twiggs County Library. Dominion recently constructed a location in Jeffersonville. During this time Twiggs County library supported Dominion with space for interviews and meetings. In support of their new community and appreciation for the library’s hospitality, Dominion provided a grant to Twiggs County Library. The grant will be used to support ongoing activities at Twiggs County Library.

Jennifer & Andy