The behind-the-scenes workers

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2014

By Carol Phares

Guest Columnist 

Statistics can be very interesting. A story is told through the numbers. For example, I’ve been looking at how the Friends of Crosby Memorial Library’s Annual Book Sale fared over the last 20 years.

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For the most part, each year garnered a little more money than the previous year, especially during the recent economic downturn when people were looking for bargains. 2008 was a banner year for the Book Sale earning over $6,000 for the Friends to donate to the library. The Annual Book Sale for the Friends of Crosby Library generates about $5,000 each year. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. The Friends of Poplarville Public Library hold an Annual Book Sale with impressive numbers, as well.

What I see behind these numbers are people.

Volunteers who help to move books to Holland Hall and the foyer.

People who help unpack boxes, sort through books and display them neatly on tables and make-shift shelves.

I see countless hours spent in planning and coordinating such an event that lasts an entire week.

These are people who love their public library, understand its importance to the community and are willing and able to support it not only financially, but with the sweat of their brow as well.

Pearl River County Library System’s 2 libraries, Crosby Memorial Library in Picayune and Poplarville Public Library, could not function without the help of their volunteers.

They shelve books; they make sure books are in their proper place on the shelf; they help file paperwork; they demonstrate new technology for the public; they plan and put on educational and cultural programs that are generally free to the public; they loan items of interest to be displayed for the public’s enjoyment; they decorate; they clean; they show the staff how much they are appreciated for their hard work; they lobby for library services with the city, county and state governments; they stand ready to assist in any emergency; and anything else that may be asked of them.

They worked a total of 1,890 hours last year at both libraries.

These men and women, those who belong to the Friends of Crosby Library and Friends of Poplarville Public Library, and those who “just want to help”, know that it takes much more than a staff of 13 people to run one of the busiest library systems in the state.