Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

State Librarian Stephen Parks receives national award

May 7, 2018

The American Association of Law Libraries has selected State Librarian Stephen Parks of Jackson as a recipient of the 2018 Emerging Leader Award.

State Librarian Stephen Parks

The national award is given annually to a law librarian with less than 10 years of AALL membership who has made a significant contribution to the Association and the profession and has shown outstanding promise for continuing service and leadership. Parks and two others will receive the award on July 17 during the AALL annual meeting in Baltimore.

Parks, an attorney, has served as State Librarian since January 2016. He oversees the State Law Library, which is located in the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson. The Law Library is a specialized public library which provides legal research materials for the judiciary, state agencies, lawyers, students and the public.

Parks said his goal has been to increase the visibility of the Law Library and let the public know that it is available to everyone. He arranged a visit to the Law Library by Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden on Aug. 18, 2017, and a Jan. 23 lecture by Ted Ownby, senior editor of The Mississippi Encyclopedia. He brought historic exhibits to the Law Library, including displays of the 1817 Mississippi Constitution on April 12, 2016, and again during the Sept. 27, 2017, Bicentennial of the Mississippi Judiciary.

On June 22, the Law Library will host a lecture by Anne Webster, author of Mississippians in the Great War. This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

This fall, the Law Library and the University of Mississippi Medical Center Library will conduct a workshop for public librarians, training them in medical and legal research.

Parks is chairman of the Central Mississippi Library Council, and previously served as vice-president and Scholarship Committee chair of the organization. He is a member of the Mississippi Bar, the American Association of Law Libraries and the Southeastern Chapter of AALL. He testified on behalf of AALL before the Congressional Committee on House Administration in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26, 2017, regarding the Federal Depository Library Program that provides federal government documents to libraries at no cost.

Parks established a partnership with the Mississippi Digital Library to provide some of the Law Library’s historical items online. He also began a major digital initiative, scanning the journals of each of Mississippi's Constitutional Conventions. When the scanning is complete, the journals will be available online for historians and researchers.

Parks previously served as Research, Instructional Services and Circulation Librarian at Mississippi College School of Law. He was director of the Judicial Data Project, which compiled into a searchable database,, the opinions, case briefs, and oral argument videos of the Mississippi Supreme Court and Mississippi Court of Appeals from 2007 forward. The Judicial Data Project earned the AALL 2012 Innovations in Technology Award.

Parks also devised and directed the Legislative History Project at MCSOL. The website,, is a searchable database which archives video of floor debate in the Mississippi Senate and House from 2012 forward. The Legislative History Project won the AALL 2014 Public Access to Government Information Award and the AALL 2014 Innovations in Technology Award. Parks received the Mississippi Historical Society 2014 Award of Merit for work on the Judicial Data Project and the Legislative History Project. AALL presented Parks with its 2017 Marketing Award for best law library newsletter.

Parks taught legal research at MCSOL for five years, and taught law librarianship as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and at Tulane’s former Madison campus. He taught legal research in continuing legal education programs and has given numerous presentations on legal research and librarianship.

He is a native of La Grange, North Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science, magna cum laude, from East Carolina University in 2006. He earned a law degree, magna cum laude, from MCSOL in 2010, and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2013.