Community importance of a library

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 19, 2016

Carol Phares, Pearl River County Library System Director, shows a patron how to navigate the library’s home page at Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.

Carol Phares, Pearl River County Library System Director, shows a patron how to navigate the library’s home page at Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.

The library system plays a vital role in local communities. Pearl River County Library System Director Carol Phares said she has heard condescending remarks about how libraries will soon die out. However, she said libraries are transforming with the progression of technology.

“Libraries are not going anywhere. They will always be a part of every community. They are just transforming, “ Circulation Clerk Megan Miller said.

“I always say Google will bring back 1,000 answers but your local library will provide the right answer,” Phares said.

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She said that instead of libraries dying out, they are slowly modernizing from hard copy books to E-books and magazines. An E-book is an electronic version of a printed book that can be accessed through digital devices.

Although she thinks hard copy books will never become extinct, Phares does believe that E-books will soon become a bigger part of libraries across the nation.

“We have a traditional style library system here in the county, which basically means we do not have a lot of electronic content,” Phares said.

Despite not having an abundance of E-content, Phares said patrons enjoy using to the computers at Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library and Poplarville Public Library. People use the computers for a wide variety of reasons such as checking emails, applying for jobs and completing their homework, Phares said.

She said due to budget cuts by the county and cities, necessary upgrades to the library system have not been made. Some necessary upgrades involve computers, software, structural repairs and a book budget.

In 2005, Phares said the Pearl River County Library System had a book budget of $46,000, but by 2009, the county Board of Supervisors eliminated the entire budget.

“We want to provide our community with the most up-to-date material as we can get, but because of our low budget, things like that are difficult,” Phares said. “We at the library strive to do what we can and it’s up to the county if we can expand on our services. No matter what happens we will still welcome county residents with open arms and smiling faces.”

With a family friendly atmosphere, Phares said what she is most proud of is their state ranking in book circulation.

“In the fiscal year of 2015, Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library ranked 15 out of 237 libraries in the state for book circulation. Also, Poplarville Public Library ranked 55,” Phares said.

“We, as in the human race, went from scrolls to books and now we are going toward electronics. Libraries are not going away, they are just stepping into another phase,” Phares said. “I know this won’t happen over night, but my dream is that when I retire, I have set up the next person to continue the progression of this wonderful library system.”