Pearl River County Library System (PRCLS) was established in October of 1974. PRCLS is comprised of two libraries: Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library and Poplarville Public Library.
PRCLS is governed by a ten-member Board of Trustees. The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors appoints five members, one per Supervisor to represent each district of the county. The Picayune City Council appoints four members, and the Poplarville Board of Aldermen appoint one member. The Board of Trustees makes policy for the libraries, hires the Director, and oversees budget decisions.
Direct funding is provided through a variety of sources, including the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors general fund; the City of Picayune millage; the City of Poplarville millage; state and federal grants administered through the Mississippi Library Commission. Indirect support is provided by the Friends of the Poplarville Public Library and the Friends of the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.
The Picayune Public Library opened its doors to the public on March 23, 1927. It was a result of the efforts of the Woman’s Club of Picayune. Their desire to establish a public library for the City of Picayune was aided by the Rotary Club and the Exchange Club. Committees from these clubs met, and on September 7, 1926, submitted the project to the mayor and Board of Aldermen, who agreed to the proposal and made an appropriation of $800 for the promotion of a free public library in Picayune.
The library was housed in several locations until moving to its present location at 900 Goodyear Boulevard. The grounds and building were given by the families of R. H. And L. O. Crosby, Jr. as a memorial to their mother, Margaret Reed Crosby. The new library was dedicated on February 22, 1963. Picayune Public Library’s name was changed to the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library and Cultural Center.
In August, 1979, the ownership and maintenance of the building and property were given to the City of Picayune. Rapid growth in the county resulted in the need for an expansion of the library. This expansion, completed in 1985, enabled the library system to provide a room for local history and genealogy.
As the Headquarters of the Pearl River County Library System, the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library & Cultural Center has continued to meet and serve the needs of the patrons of Picayune and Pearl River County.
In January 1975, a branch library was opened in McNeill. It closed in October 1991.
The Poplarville Public Library began as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project to serve the citizens of Poplarville. The exact date is unknown. On March 1, 1943, the library was forced to close its doors due to financial reasons. The collection was stored in the office of the Circuit Clerk until a local citizen took it upon herself to propose to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors that the collection be released to her so that she could open a library, privately. Donations were accepted for library expenses and were the main source of income until August 1943. The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors and the Poplarville Board of Aldermen began contributing funds to the library and continued to increase the contributions as the library moved locations.
The Poplarville Public Library began providing bookmobile service to the county in 1969. Library service to the area continued to expand, and in August 1982 the Poplarville Public Library moved into its new building at 202 West Beers Street. Bookmobile service was discontinued in 1991.