Little by little is how staff is working to get a Gulfport library ready to open to the public this Spring. The plan is still for patrons to check out books in the new Orange Grove Library starting in March.
Officials said the library will be stocked with $1 million in books, furniture and materials. With the way the reimbursement system works, the library has to order some of what it needs, then wait for FEMA to pay, then move on to the next item.
With more than 1,000 boxes of books but no shelves to put them on, Orange Grove Librarians say they've been at a bit of a standstill. This week they got the news they'd been waiting for.
"Our shelving is on the way and we're very excited for that to be in place," Librarian Lorianne Hawkins said. "Once we get that started we'll be able to unpack the things that we have."
Before the library can open its doors, the library also needs furniture and additional books and videos. Librarians said because of the way the funding is set up they aren't sure exactly when they'll get those things.
"It has been a waiting game... We initially front the funding for our materials and then we're reimbursed through FEMA," said Hawkins. "So right now we're getting our shelving. It's on its way. And once that money is reimbursed to us, we'll be able to purchase the other items and furniture and materials that we need for the system."
Librarians said they have been putting this waiting period to good use.
"I think we've had a good opportunity to work on work flows," Hawkins said. "How we're going to check items out. Where things are going to be. How staff is going to be situated. Now we've had that time to think about how things are going to go so we can best serve our public."
The library staff knows the public is ready for the new library. And once it opens, they said people won't be disappointed in the building and its five acres of landscaping.
Hawkins said, "It's going to be a great place for people to picnic. A wonderful place for families to gather."
The shelves are due to arrive in the next two weeks. According to the librarians, there are other factors in slowing down opening day preparations including fixing a leak in the building and the closure of a bridge on Old Highway 49.
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