Formation and Early History
In October of 1966, Clarke, Jasper, and Wayne counties in Mississippi agreed to join a demonstration project funded by the Mississippi Library Commission to form a library system. Using federal dollars for the project, the library commission hoped that the project would show the benefits of cooperative library service to the citizens of the counties.
Ms. Louise S. Evans was appointed Director of the demonstration project. The headquarters for the new system were originally located in Heidelberg, Mississippi, in a small building on Highway 528. After two years as a demonstration project, the Board of Supervisors for all three counties agreed to sign a contract forming the East Mississippi Regional Library System, and the headquarters for the system were moved to the Quitman Public Library, where they remain today. Ms. Evans was hired to continue as Director of the system.
At its largest, there were nine branches in the library system: Bay Springs Municipal Library, Enterprise Public Library, Heidelberg Public Library, (later renamed the Mary Weems Parker Memorial Library), Louin Public Library, Pachuta Public Library, Quitman Public Library, Shubuta Public Library, Stonewall Public Library, and Waynesboro Memorial Library.
In 1997, Wayne County gave formal notice that they wished to withdraw from the system, and the Waynesboro – Wayne County Library was formed in October of 1998 (the website for our neighbors to the south is http://www.wwcls.lib.ms.us/). The Louin Public Library was forced to close after funding was discontinued by the town in 2004. Funding for the library in the Town of Shubuta was discontinued in December of 2004, but the library continued to operate thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers until damage from Hurricane Katrina forced it to cease operations in September of 2005.
Currently, there are six branches in the system:
- Bay Springs Municipal Library
- Enterprise Public Library
- Mary Weems Parker Memorial Library
- Pachuta Public Library
- Quitman Public Library
- Stonewall Public Library
Library System Directors
Ms. Evans retired after 20 years of service in 1986, and Susan Byra, who had been Assistant Director for eight years, was hired as Director. Ms. Byra retired in 2008 after 22 years as Director, and 30 total years of service in the system. Ms. Kimberly Corbett was employed as the director from 2008 – 2011. Mr. Joshua Haidet was employed as the director for 2011-2016. Currently, the position of Director is held by Mr. Matt Gully.