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Library offering resource center’s materials

After the Family Resource Center was closed at the end of 2016, the LOU Excel by 5 Coalition needed a new home for the toys and books that parents would check out from the resource center at no cost.

The doors to the Oxford center, which allowed parents, teachers and caregivers to check out educational toys and books at no cost, closed in mid-November after learning the Mississippi Department of Human Services was ending its contract with Mississippi State University’s early childhood program.

In Oxford, the LOU Excel by 5 Coalition partnered with MSU to extend its services in Oxford and opened the resource center in 2013 near the old Oxford Mall in a building owned by the University of Mississippi.

MDHS moved most of the materials not owned by Excel by 5 to the Northwest Community College campus in Senatobia.

LOU EB5 partnered with the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library to house its share of the materials, which are located in the Early Reading section and are part of a newly-named Excel by 5 Lending Library.

The materials are cataloged and available to check out during regular library hours. They can be checked out for one week; however, that can be renewed multiple times if needed.

The materials available now are educational toys like building blocks, connecting rings, puzzles, colorful floor mats for babies, and climbing cubes.

“You can also check out all of the same child-friendly book titles previously offered at the LOU FRC, and you can also check out puppets,” said Edy Dingus, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County. “We hope to have our teaching materials, like our informational DVD collection for providers, available soon.”

Nancy Opalko, children’s librarian, said the library was happy to provide the space for LOU Excel by 5’s learning materials.

“We hope that they will get a lot of use by parents, daycares and area organizations,” she said. “The library itself is looking forward to incorporating some of these materials in our many children’s programs including the monthly Baby Book Club and our upcoming Saturday StoryPlay.”