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Crosby Memorial Library the focus of this week’s “Dart”

PRESERVED HISTORY : This memorial room in the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library and Cultural Center contains antique items from Crosbyhurst, the family residence of Mr. and Mrs. L.O. Crosby, Sr. Photo by Dart Spiers

PRESERVED HISTORY : This memorial room in the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library and Cultural Center contains antique items from Crosbyhurst, the family residence of Mr. and Mrs. L.O. Crosby, Sr.
Photo by Dart Spiers

“We want citizens, and the public schools and the public libraries are the places where citizens are made. Therefore, let us labour and support those institutions first and foremost.” – Winston Churchill

 

Churchill’s quote was used by the Picayune Woman’s Club for a campaign they launched in 1922. Their goal was to see a free public library established in the city of Picayune.  With strong public support, the library was opened on Mar. 23, 1927 at a location on West Canal Street. After moving to a number of other locations in the years that followed, it became apparent that a more spacious building would be needed for the library to continue to grow.

In 1962, the Crosby family of Picayune donated an entire city block for library purposes, and on Feb. 22, 1963, the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library and Cultural Center was presented to the public.

More than 50 years later, the library continues to grow and provide valuable services to the members of the community.

Director of the Pearl River County Library System and Head Librarian at Crosby Memorial Library Carol Phares said that before major budget cuts, the library was ranked among the top 10 libraries in the state for circulation.

When asked to point out something uniquely positive about Crosby Memorial Library, Phares mentioned the customer service.

“Our circulation desk staff is top notch,” said Phares, “Any information you want, we can get it for you.”

Phares also touted the genealogical collection, which she said is one of the best around for a population of Pearl River County’s size.

Within this section is every book in the collection by S.G. “Grandpa” Thigpen, who was a local businessman who gathered a large amount of Pearl River County historical stories throughout his lifetime.

The library offers a number of other services, including online tutorials, assistance with business plans and proposals, as well as proctoring exams for distance learning students. They also make use of an interlibrary loan program where members can check out a book from any library in the state. A state-funded grant written and administered by the Mississippi Library Commission pays the postage fees, so the service is free.

Phares said the Friends of the Library group is very active and recently completed a major fundraiser, selling cookbooks containing recipes exclusively from local people.

“They were so successful in selling the cookbook that there will be new lounge chairs arriving for the library next week,” said Phares.

The cookbook is still available at the library for $15.

Crosby Memorial Library is closed on Wednesday and Sunday, but opens at 9 a.m. all other days of the week. On Monday and Thursday, the library will close at 6 p.m., and on Tuesday and Friday, it will close at 5 p.m. The library remains open until 1 p.m. on Saturday.