"Guess what young lady. You get to sign your name as well," the children's librarian told Hannah Mooneyhan on Tuesday. The seven year old became one of the newest members of the D'Iberville Public Library.
"I miss reading and stuff and having a library," says Hannah. "I'm fixing to have my own library card."
When asked how she felt about getting her first card, Hannah says "I feel good. I'm always excited."
That excitement has been circulating around town now that the D'Iberville Library finally reopened its doors.
"Everybody was always asking 'When are you going to open? When are you going to open?' says Linda Trent, Head of Circulation. "We were so excited. Oh yes. We're going to open. We're going to open. We worked hard, but it's worth it. We're back home."
Linda Trent and her co-workers have worked tirelessly for 16-months to clean and restore the building. It took in only four inches of water during Katrina, but the wind damage, moisture, and mildew ruined the carpeting, furniture, and more than 2,000 books.
"None of us are spring chickens, but we've learned to do a lot of things we never knew we could," says Trent. "Katrina taught us that."
For awhile, the D'Iberville Public Library operated out of a 30-foot bookmobile. It was donated by a rotary club in Ohio back in June. The ladies on the staff are certainly grateful to move out the cramped quarters, into more spacious surroundings.
"It is just great to have space and room and to have our building back," says Trent.
After so much hardship, this is definitely a story with a happy ending.
"A lot of people use this for different things," says Head Librarian Nancy Soder. "They check items out. They come in to visit. It's a homey library. This is getting back to normal. Thank goodness. Finally."
"We're just glad to have them, have them back," says library patron Lois Robinson of Biloxi.
It cost about $200,000 to fix-up the library. The funding came from FEMA and insurance. The library will host a grand opening ceremony in a couple of weeks.