Tough economy boosts business at Jackson, George Co. libraries

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - More and more people are saving on their entertainment spending by heading to the library. The folks who run the Jackson and George Regional Library System said their libraries are proof of that.

One patron at the Pascagoula Public Library said she and her children visit every other week.

"I don't have to pay for her to get a book at the library. I have to pay for Chuck E. Cheese," she said. "Chuck E. Cheese costs, like, $25 apiece."

Library Spokesperson Rex Bridges said all eight of the libraries in the Jackson and George County system are seeing an increase in business.

"Our circulation is up," Bridges said. "It's been trending up quite a bit."

In fact, Bridges said more than 69,000 patrons have walked through the doors for services and programs this year, compared to a little over 65,000 last year.

"They come to us so they don't have to go to the store and buy a lot of material."

Bridges said the number of people coming to the libraries for internet access is up about 14 percent this year.

"They are coming into the library to do a lot of research, online applications, resume writing due to the economic times we are in," Bridges said.

Jeremiah McWhorter was lucky to find an empty seat at a computer Wednesday.

"It is convenient. In case you don't get service at home, you can come in and research or get on Facebook."

The library system is also offering new laptop computers for patrons to use inside the facility. They can also check them out for 24 hours. Staff members said it's just another benefit to help during these tough economic times.

But help doesn't stop there; library spokesperson Rex Bridges said, thousands of dollars in federal funding is also on the way to provide more free technology, so the library system can meet the growing need that continues in South Mississippi.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved