Man reading a newspaper in a large chair at Bolivar County Library System

Mission

The mission of the Bolivar County Library System (BCLS) is to serve people of all ages and diverse backgrounds by actively promoting easily accessible information, materials, services and programs designed to meet the county’s evolving educational, recreational, and cultural needs.

History

Library service in Bolivar County began when the Madame Hodnett Chapter of DAR created a public library in Cleveland in 1917. Having taken responsibility for the county’s library program in 1934, the Supervisors appointed Mrs. Lorene Goza as director of library services for West Bolivar County and Mrs. J. T. Robbins for East Bolivar County. Mrs. Goza was later appointed WPA District Director of Library Service for Bolivar, Coahoma, and Washington Counties.

On November 5, 1958, the Supervisors created the county-wide Bolivar County Library System and voted a half mil tax for its support. Requests for branches in Merigold, Shaw, Shelby, Rosedale, Gunnison, Mound Bayou, and Cleveland were received with other towns expressing a preference for regular bookmobile service. The first Board of Trustees were: Mrs. M. A. Bell, George Rodgers, Mrs. Jerome Lamensdorf, J. C. Box, and Mrs. Raynold Chiz.

In January 1959, the Library System borrowed a bookmobile from the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) and began bookmobile service. On April 3, 1961, the library purchased its own bookmobile, a 1960 Ford manufactured by Gerstenslager Company. Bobbie Outlaw was the first Bookmobile Librarian until succeeded by Ira K. Harris in the fall of 1963. Future director Ronnie Wise started out as Bookmobile Librarian in 1976. Bookmobile service ended around 1976.

Directors:

LePoint Cassibry Smith, Director, 1958-1986
Ronnie Wise, Director, 1986-2006
Audrey Pearson, Director, 2006-2007
Lynn Shurden, Director, 2008-2013
Jennifer Wann, Director, 2014-2018
Emily Bell, Director, 2019-Presdent

Administrative Board of Trustees

The Bolivar County Library System is governed by a five member Administrative Board of Trustees. Board members are appointed by the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors. One member serves from each district.

The Administrative Board of Trustees customarily meets at the Robinson-Carpenter Memorial Library on the 3rd Wednesday of each month except August and December at 1:30 p.m. Date, time, & location are subject to change.

Nathaniel Grammer, Chair Shelby, MS 38774
Katherine Crump, Vice-Chair Rosedale, MS 38769
John Bassie, Secretary Cleveland, MS 38732
Maggie Crawford Renova, MS 38764
Anita Reginelli Shaw, MS 38773

Cleveland Library Commission

The Cleveland Library Commission was created to advise and make recommendations to the Bolivar County Library System and the Mayor and Board of Aldermen in regard to the operation of the Robinson-Carpenter Memorial Library.

The Cleveland Library Commission customarily meets at the Robinson-Carpenter Memorial Library on the 3rd Wednesday of each month except August & December at 10:00 a.m. Date & time are subject to change.

Weegie Walker, Secretary Cleveland, MS 38732
Cheryl Line Cleveland, MS 38732
Carol Tatum Cleveland, MS 38732
Dorothy Tolliver, Vice Chair Cleveland, MS 38732
Jurist Green, Chair Cleveland, MS 38732