HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Libraries across South Mississippi are taking part in National Library Week, and celebrating the impact these facilities make in our community. The theme for this year is "Libraries Lead."
Officials with the Harrison County Library System are hoping to increase the number of visitors to their 10 branches during this time of awareness. The director of Gulfport's branches said it's important for people to realize that libraries have changed a lot in recent years.
"Gone are the days of the quiet library. We are always doing something here," Mike Alexander said. "We've got exercises, Tai Chi for the adults. We're always doing something fun here at the library."
According to Alexander, each branch has had to evolve with the times. These days, a trip to the library may not mean checking out a book.
"We teach classes and we have story times, and there are book clubs. There's all kinds of fun stuff to do here at the library," he said.
One of the classes at the Orange Grove Library is a computer class for adults. Janet Griffin took advantage of the resume writing class and said she already has three job interviews because of what she learned.
"It's a great thing that the library's putting on something like this. You don't even have to go to pay for a computer class. I think that's awesome," said Griffin.
The different branches also offer many other resources, like tax help. Sharon Davis said it's an example of the multi-faceted library system in each community.
"It's so much more than just books and a quiet place to sit," said Davis, who is the head librarian for Biloxi libraries.
Davis said the Harrison County system is getting excited about a new permanent location coming online in Woolmarket. It will move the library out of its temporary location into a more permanent building.
"It's going to give us some extra space to add a few more computers and bring our children's programs into the building rather than having them in an exterior location," said Davis.
To celebrate National Library Week, the Harrison County Library System is also forgiving all late fees for items turned in this week only.
For more information on celebrations at the different libraries throughout the coast, click the any of the following links:
Harrison County Library System: http://harrison.lib.ms.us/
Hancock County Library System: http://www.hancocklibraries.info/
Jackson-George Regional Library System: http://www.jgrls.org/