Harrison County libraries giving away thousands of books - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison County libraries giving away thousands of books

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It was an incredible sight at the Frank Gruich Community Center in Biloxi Friday. There were boxes everywhere and they were filled with more than 30,000 books. It was an incredible sight at the Frank Gruich Community Center in Biloxi Friday. There were boxes everywhere and they were filled with more than 30,000 books.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Tens of thousands of books that used to fill the shelves of two downtown libraries are in need of new homes.  The Harrison County Library System is planning a huge book giveaway. You can take as many books as you like, and they're absolutely free.

It was an incredible sight at the Frank Gruich Community Center in Biloxi Friday. There were boxes everywhere and they were filled with more than 30,000 books.

"And this isn't as bad as when we first walked in. They were just towering over us," said Biloxi Head Librarian Charline Longino.

There's a story behind the huge collection of books. They were rescued from two downtown libraries, after Katrina's flood waters swept through both buildings.

"In Biloxi, for example, the higher shelves weren't touched by the water. And in Gulfport, the first floor was totally wiped out, but the second floor still had shelves and books on them. So we couldn't leave them there to mold. We did bring them out and put them in storage," said Longino.

Seven years later, the books are about to enter the next chapter. Harrison County librarians are sorting through every single book, from cover to cover. The ones in great condition will go back on the shelves.

"Those are going to go up to our new facility in Orange Grove when they open the new library up there," said Gulfport Librarian Celia Barrett, referring to the boxes piled on the stage.

The moldy, damaged ones will end up in the dumpster. And those that are in decent shape, more than 10,000 of them, are yours free if you want them.

"We're looking for good homes for these books," said Longino. "There are some great fictions in there. They're a little yellowed for the library, but perfect for home.  Somebody's going to have either a home or maybe a nursery school or something like that, a good place for these books to go."

"I hope a lot of people come and take a lot of books with them," said Barrett. "It was extremely daunting from the get go, getting them out of the building, getting them stored, and now getting them in here. It's been a seven year process. I'm glad to see it coming to an end."

The book giveaway runs Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 am until 4:30 PM.  It's at the Frank Gruich Community Center on Howard Avenue in Biloxi. While the books are free, donations to the library are accepted.

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