Poplarville Public Library provides educational experiences

Published 7:00 am Friday, January 23, 2015

Accessible: Branch Librarian Cynthia Hornsby demonstrates how to use the computer desk’s new lever system. The handle raises the table up and down. Photo by Cassandra Favre

Accessible: Branch Librarian Cynthia Hornsby demonstrates how to use the computer desk’s new lever system. The handle raises the table up and down.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein

In the heart of downtown Poplarville, there is a building that is home to faraway lands, mythical creatures, important historical figures and epic battles. Information is given with a helping hand or the click of a computer mouse.
This magical place is known as the Poplarville Public Library.
The library, which is a member of the Pearl River County Library System, has been located at W. Beers St. since 1982, Branch Librarian Cynthia Hornsby said. Prior to 1982, the library was housed in the former jail located behind the Pearl River County Courthouse during the 1960s and 1970s.
Recently, the city of Poplarville, who owns the library building, received an American with Disabilities Act grant to bring the building up to compliance, Hornsby said.
About 11 years ago, Hornsby said, the city was ordered in a lawsuit to renovate many city buildings in accordance with ADA guidelines.
Construction is ongoing and Hornsby said she hopes to see it completed by the end of the month.
Many renovations have been made to the building to ensure the building is handicapped accessible including moving the entrance doors because the former angle was too steep.
“The main entrance is now located on the east side of the building facing the parking lot,” Hornsby said. “The new entrance door will be accessible with the touch of a button. Improvements were made to the parking lot to make it more level. The public restrooms weren’t large enough to make them ADA compliant, so they are being enlarged.”
The water fountain was too low for a wheelchair to get under, Hornsby said, and in order to create space for the fountain; the door to the restroom was moved to the side hall.
A new front desk system was also installed, Hornsby said. Previously, the library didn’t feature a place for wheelchairs to roll up to.
The library offers four public computers for Internet use, Hornsby said. The tables are now electronic and can be moved up and down with the touch of a button. The fifth public access computer features a hand crank to raise and lower the table.
The outer doors on the north side of the building were also replaced, as well as the doors to the meeting room, Hornsby said. These doors remain locked unless the rooms are in use and will not feature a push button.
“All the door handles will be changed from round to lever,” Hornsby said. “The construction bid was awarded to Sullivan Enterprises, based out of Magee. These renovations will bring our building up to ADA standards. The improvements will not only make it easier for our wheelchair bound patrons, but also our elderly ones as well.”
The library offers a variety of services to the residents of Poplarville including the ability to check out books, DVDs and books on CD, Hornsby said. Complimentary Internet use is also available. If patrons have a library card, they can use the library’s computers or they have the option of bringing in their own device to access the Wi-Fi, in which case, a card is not required.
The library also has an interlibrary loan service, which means if a book is not in the system then library staff can request it from another library, Hornsby said.
Normally the library hosts a children’s story hour and Friends of the Poplarville Library events, but due to the construction these programs have been on hold, Hornsby said.
The library has three full-time staff members including Hornsby, Ronnie Rawls and Vicky Mitchell.
“I think my staff works very well with the public,” Hornsby said. “They are very friendly and approachable. They will leave the front desk to help patrons find something and know a great deal about the books.”
Hornsby said that libraries are important to communities especially in the small, rural ones.
“A lot of people don’t have access to Internet and some can’t afford books,” Hornsby said. “The library is a place for the public to come and utilize the complimentary services we offer and access books. The library is also great for home-schooled children. There are libraries in schools and this provides good access for those parents that teach their children in the home. In some towns, the library is becoming a community center where people gather.”
The library is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located at 202 W. Beers St. Contact the librarians by phone at 601-795-8411 and follow the library system on Facebook at Pearl River County Library System.
The library’s online catalog can be found at www.pearlriver.lib.ms.us. According to Hornsby, patrons who have library cards can place books on hold via the website. The website also includes links to local schools, attractions and government agencies. The Magnolia, which is a state run reference system, is also available online.

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