Volume 29, Number 4, Winter 2007

Meet 2007 Century Scholarship Winner Cindy Nugent

Cindy Nugent, Mississippi Library Commission

I would like to thank the selection committee of ASCLA for the honor of being chosen as the 2007 Century Scholarship winner. I also would like to thank my family and friends for encouraging me to go forward with my dreams.

For the last nine years I have immersed myself in my work with children through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Mississippi Library Commission. I am able to interact with children with all types if disabilities as the children's and young adult's librarian. I also work with their teachers and parents. Through outreach to the school systems and the workshops that I teach across the state of Mississippi, my job gives me the opportunity to assist children to achieve more and reach further. Helping these children is a passion of mine.

I know what it is to be handicapped because I am dyslexic. I know the struggle and pain of not being able to read. After many years of great effort, I finally was diagnosed with dyslexia and learned how to read. After I went through that journey, I was able to graduate from college and began my career at the Mississippi Library Commission.

The first year I worked as the children's librarian, I was lucky enough to have a director who knew the importance of getting out there and talking to the teachers, parents, and students themselves about our services. There were many early mornings driving to sites to talk to as few as five and as many as one hundred. When I started traveling, we had eighty-two students on our service; when I was through the first year, we had enrolled 672 students and added twenty-three schools. It was a combined effort, because with me on the road someone else had to do my work. Several teachers have told me this was the first they have heard of our services. One teacher called me at work after I spoke to her class, and said she went home and told her husband about the services BPHLS offered. After plenty of soul searching her husband visited a doctor and was diagnosed with a reading disorder. He is now one of our patrons!

Being dyslexic, it has been a challenge and a struggle for me to work in a library, but I love it. I have told my students out in the state of Mississippi that if I go back to school and obtain my master in library science and make it, it will show them that they can accomplish anything they set out to do.