Three Temporary Libraries To Open In Harrison County

The wait will soon be over for Harrison County communities that have spent the past year and a half without libraries. In a few weeks, libraries will open in East Biloxi and downtown Gulfport as temporary replacements for those destroyed by Katrina. Officials expect a third facility will introduce a new group of people to the perks of a local library.

Donna Posey can't wait to work in the same community where she's lived for more than 20 years. The librarian says her neighbors are also excited about the new Woolmarket library.

"It will be much better for them here because they either had to go to Orange Grove or Margaret Sherry, which is a good ways out for them to get library materials," said Posey.

Soon Woolmarket residents won't have to travel far for books, reading programs and, for those without home computers, Internet access.

Charline Longino said, "Now people come in to do their taxes on line. To get in contact with FEMA. To get in contact with other sources. So much of it online now I know because we're always trying to assist people to find the right websites."

Over on Howard Avenue, Longino showed off another temporarily library being set up. All because of the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"The grant not only provides the trailer facility, but also provides the furniture inside, which you can see is regular library furniture. The shelving and the library desk and the whole nine yards. It also helps us with money for books. Not enough to totally fill the shelves, but a nice start."

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also providing funding for staffing and computers. For three years, the library system will use the trailers free of charge while it looks for long term solutions.

"It means we provide library service back to areas that haven't seen it in a year in a half now," said Longino. "We don't have to wait until they build us a building and that's going to take a while."

The temporary library for downtown Gulfport is on Maples Drive.