Helen McComb becomes director of Harriet Parsons Library in Port Gibson

Alcorn State University alumna Helen McComb had a love for animals so strong that she desired to pursue a career in treating their illnesses. But after her graduation in 2007 and accepting a job as a librarian, her career path was redirected.

“It’s not that I pursued the career in library science as much as it pursued me,” said McComb, a Port Gibson, Mississippi native. “I went to school to become a veterinarian, but during that transition of graduating and searching for my first job, I somehow got a part-time job as a young adult librarian. I did that for a few years and got talked into pursuing a degree in the library science field and here I am today; the director of a library.”

McComb was recently named the director of Harriet Parsons Library in Port Gibson. She earned a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2012. Her duties will include cataloging, business management, coordinating youth services and much more. As she reflects on her ascent in the library, she realizes the growth she has made over the years.

“Now that I’m settled into my new role, it’s fairly simple. Of course I have those days where everything that can go wrong will go wrong. But now when days like those happen, I just take a deep breath, say a little prayer and handle whatever has come up.”

Working as a librarian has enhanced McComb’s passion for books. She said the best part of her career is finding books that complement the reader’s interests.

“I love books and I love sharing books with people. So for me, the best part of being a librarian is always matching people with the perfect book for them. I always get excited when I’m able to find the perfect book for the child participating in a reading fair or the mystery buff or science fiction fanatic.”

McComb plans to bring more attention to the library by informing the community of its beneficial services.

“I want the library to have a bigger presence in the community and inform the pubic of the services that are offered here. When people come into the library for the first time, they are shocked to find out about some of the useful services that we offer and the materials that are available to them. I’m on track of increasing the library’s presence by re-establishing the Friends of the Library organization, who will spread the word about all the great things the library can do for them for free.”

McComb offers advice to students who have plans of pursuing a career in library science.

“Be sure that you truly have a love for reading and people because no matter what, you will encounter both in your career. You must be flexible, creative and determined. These skills came in handy while I was going to school to become a librarian and are still useful in my career today.”

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