Legacy of literacy: Poplarville librarian retires after 22-years of service

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 28, 2015

Poplarville Public Library Head Librarian Cynthia Hornsby will retire Tuesday after 22-years of service.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

Poplarville Public Library Head Librarian Cynthia Hornsby will retire Tuesday after 22-years of service.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

“The most important asset of any library goes home at night-the library staff.” – Timothy Healy.

For the past 22 years, the smiling face of Branch Librarian Cynthia Hornsby has greeted visitors of the Poplarville Public Library.
The Poplarville native will retire next week on March 31.
Hornsby grew up on N. Main Street. She is a graduate of Poplarville High School.
“I have always loved libraries,” Hornsby said. “I enjoy reading and was fairly smart in school.”
After graduating from high school, Hornsby attended the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where she majored in psychology.
“I was fairy shy in high school and going away to college gave me the chance the reinvent myself,” Hornsby said. “I majored in psychology because I thought it would help me get to know myself better.”
However, Hornsby said she felt the psychology field was not for her and upon her return to Poplarville, began working at Moviestar in accounts payable. She worked there for about 12 years.
Afterwards, Hornsby went to work as a secretary in the vo-tech department for Pearl River Community College.
During that time, Hornsby saw an ad for librarian.
“A friend of mine was working there at the time and told me that I would be a perfect librarian,” Hornsby said. “I met with the head librarian, who knew I didn’t have a library science degree. So they sent me to USM, where I earned a Masters degree in library and informational science.”
Hornsby said she loves working with the public she grew up with. Since 1993, she has seen a lot of changes.
“When I began here, printed materials were predominant,” Hornsby said. “By 1995, the automated system was brought in. Circulation became much easier with the introduction of computers and software.”
Hornsby said she’s good at her job because she’s very organized. The library exists because it’s organized, she said.
Hornsby said she loved reading stories to the children during story time and the summer reading program.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of being in the library,” Hornsby said. “I will miss meeting the different patrons and also our regulars.”
Hornsby and her husband John are planning to travel after she retires. She is also looking forward to reading through an entire book in one day and reconnecting with old friends that have also recently retired.
April Fowler, president of the Friends of the Poplarville Public Library, has known Hornsby for the past five years.
“I have a small child who just adores her,” Fowler said. “She is his adopted grandmother with the best stories. She’s always able to find items that we don’t have and gives me information and advice. I’m very sad to see her go, it will be difficult to fill her shoes. She does so many things beyond being our local librarian.”
Pearl River County Library System Director Carol Phares said she has never had to worry about the Poplarville Public Library since Phares assumed her position in July 2013.
“Cynthia has always been able to hold the fort down,” Phares said. “I’m sorry to see her go and it will be very difficult to find someone to do the kind of job she did.”
Phares said Hornsby’s replacement will also serve as Poplarville’s branch librarian and assistant director of the Pearl River County Library System.
Vicky Mitchell has worked with Hornsby for the past 19 years and said Hornsby always looked out for her employees’ best interests.
“She’s not only a boss, but my personal friend,” Mitchell said. I have an affection for her that goes beyond employer and employee. She is efficient and organized. I have a lot of respect for her qualities, character and conviction.”

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