DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - The East Hancock Library in Diamondhead stands closed after doors were shuttered due to a lack of funding. Director Courtney Thomas says the branch, which was the newest, didn't start off on sure footing.
"When this library came online we were told that we had to make do with what we had, and then our funding was cut in three subsequent years," said Thomas.
The library was built and funded through a Community Development Block Grant after Hurricane Katrina, and opened in March of 2013. Thomas said it didn't take long to start noticing problems other than the lack of funding.
"By June of 2013 we noticed what they later determined to be mildew growing along the ceilings, the tops of the walls, throughout the building," said Thomas.
The director says an inspection showed that the top of the building wasn't sealed. After that problem was fixed, she Thomas says the mildew still grew, but at a slower rate. Because of the lack of funding Thomas says the problem was unlikely to be fully addressed.
"Everything that came in this particular library that was provided by the library system was taken from another library. Staff, money," said Thomas.
Even many of the books were being borrowed from the county's four other libraries. This situation left Thomas in a limbo, of sorts. Her other locations have re-absorbed all of the material that originally belonged there.
According to Thomas, the material that remains belongs to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA).
"We don't know what the county is going to do with that material. We don't know if HUD or MDA will allow us to use the material within the rest of the system," said Thomas.
What she does know is that a city is now without a library and it doesn't look like that will be changing anytime soon. Thomas noted that the other four locations in the Hancock County Library system remain open.