Poplarville head librarian says hello

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hello. I am Eden Nitcher, the new assistant director for the Pearl River County Library System and librarian for the Poplarville Public Library. During my undergraduate studies and two-and-a-half years in the University of Southern Mississippi’s Master of Library and Information Science program, I spent many nights dreaming and anticipating the myriad opportunities of the library world. Perhaps, I would sign a contract with one of the cruise lines that maintained sizable libraries—like on the Queen Elizabeth II. I could glimpse foreign lands through the ports-of-call and spend each night rocked asleep by the ocean’s undulating waves. Instead, perhaps I would obtain a position at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Then, I would have the world’s second-largest collection and archives of national history at my fingertips on a daily basis. Or, finally, perhaps I would earn a position as an art librarian in a museum and spend my days surrounded by renowned art and researching traveling art exhibitions. The professional possibilities included academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries, archival libraries, and special collections.

After my studies, I kept a sharp eye and an attentive ear for job vacancies. When I scoped the opportunity to return to my hometown under the title of Assistant Director of the Pearl River County Library System and the Librarian for the Poplarville Public Library, I applied and did not bat an eye. It is not a position quite so mobile as a cruise liner afloat on the seven seas, but it is still the embarkation of the largest adventure thus far in my young life. It is not quite so large as the Library of Congress, but room for growth and learning remains endless. It is not an art museum filled with mentally and aesthetically stimulating pieces, but my job is equally beautiful and challenges my mental capacity daily.

The challenges I face daily are not mine alone. I work alongside a library staff that loves their community, and I work for a community that values their library and never ceases to make me welcome.

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During the open house hosted by the Friends of the Poplarville Public Library on Aug. 19, I received a warm reception from our community. Attendance exceeded 85 people.

But, there are challenges. The library system operates on a zero book budget, so the collection depends solely on the community’s donations. Hours of operation decreased steadily after a loss of funding several years ago—a loss from which the library is still recovering. I hope that with the upcoming budget year the library will be able to extend current hours, acquire a book budget, and tackle the ever-evolving world of tablets, devices, e-books, etc.

The digital book remains a high-demand product, which the Pearl River County Library System cannot offer due to our budget. The library must overcome such a challenge to adapt to the expectations of the 21st century reader. New products will require newer technological hardware and software. An increase in library hours will necessitate an increase in library staff to maintain the new hours, assist with library services, and, hopefully, re-initiate library outreach to the community for preschoolers, the elderly, and other groups.

I look forward to working alongside the library staff at the Poplarville Public Library, Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library, the Friends of the Poplarville Public Library, the Friends of the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library, and the community to improve the Pearl River County Library System and face any and all challenges head-on.

By Eden Nitcher.