PEARLINGTON, MS (WLOX) - The future of the Pearlington Library remains uncertain. Hurricane Isaac caused $100,000 in damages to the Hancock County facility. The trouble is no one is sure if there's any money for replacements and repairs, or even if the building will reopen.
Right now, the book shelves at the Pearlington Library are empty. The 6,500 books that should be there have been shipped out for decontamination.
"We believe we've saved the books and, of course, all the DVDs. They were rescued early on the first day. We had someone in here to collect them," said Patty Furr, Executive Director of Hancock County Libraries. "They are being sent for cleaning. It will take eight to ten weeks to get them back at a cost to the library of about $35,000 to $40,000."
The books will come back, but the carpet and $23,000 worth of electronics were lost.
"You wouldn't think that two or three inches [of water] on the floor could do a lot of damage, but it certainly did. The problem was we couldn't get to the library because the roads were flooded, so the water stayed inside the building for about three days," explained Furr.
She said the building will also be tested for mold.
"We have to make sure that things are safe down here. We don't want an older person or a younger person to come in here and maybe pick up bacteria or mold."
Leaders say right now is too early to say when the library will reopen, but residents say it's much needed.
"We've been told there's been a few inches of water in there, and we're afraid that's an excuse to close the library. It is kind of the center of the community. We would certainly not like to have to face the reality of not having it available," said Pearlington resident and Pastor Jon Collins.
Furr said that fear could turn into reality if the library and the county can't find the funds for repairs and replacements.
The county could not obtain flood insurance on the building because it is in a flood zone and was not elevated after Hurricane Katrina.