Insurance Holdups Keep Harrison County Libraries In Limbo - - The News for South Mississippi

Insurance Holdups Keep Harrison County Libraries In Limbo

With five buildings damaged or destroyed in the hurricane, the Harrison County Library System is operating in temporary space. In D'iberville, a bookmobile donated from Ohio is as good as it gets. 

"Patrons were coming to Margaret Sherry and they were pleaded that we had something over here finally," says Librarian Nancy Soder.

It took ten months to get the bookmobile ready to open. Meanwhile, the D'iberville library is still closed after water soaked the carpet and walls. 

Library Director Robert Lipscomb says, "D'Iberville we'll be getting back in hopefully in about a month and a half. The Biloxi library is going to be rebuilt. It's all been gutted and cleaned on the inside and it's my understanding as soon as things are in place we can begin rebuilding that library internally."

With the decision made about the Biloxi and D'iberville libraries, Lipscomb is thinking about the Gulfport headquarters and Orange Grove. His wish is to see the library in downtown move further north, away from the water, and to build a separate library in Orange Grove.

"So perhaps we could build two smaller high tech libraries, say 20-25,000 square feet each -  one to serve the Gulfport area and one in Orange Grove, you know, with enough parking space that they could be added on to in later years," Lipscomb says.

Katrina washed away the bottom floor of the downtown library. "This place was completely washed out. I didn't find one book," Lipscomb says, standing in the gutted out first floor.

To build two libraries, Lipscomb estimates will take $8-10 million. If only one goes up, he guesses, about $5 million. He says where that money will come from is still a big question.

Orange Grove, Margaret Sherry, West Biloxi and the Saucier Children's libraries are all open. The Pass Christian branch is operating from a trailer and is expected to rebuild in its original location.

by Marcia Hill

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