Hancock, Waveland Libraries Receive Monumental Grant For Rebuilding

Like thousands of buildings, Katrina shredded the Waveland Public Library. But the site is sure to be busy with bookworms and knowledge seekers in about a year.

On Tuesday, a national library organization handed over a monumental donation to the city and county's library system.

For months, a trailer has served as Waveland's Public Library on Coleman Avenue, but brighter days are ahead for the library thanks to a big grant from the Americans for Libraries Council.

The City of Waveland received $400,000 from the organization to be used toward rebuilding the Waveland Public Library.

"I was just talking to some of the residents, and I was telling them how we were looking for a place for the importance of a public library , and when the library came all the way down to its cement slab, we knew the town either had to make a stand or not, and when they said they were going to rebuild it and make it the cornerstone of the new Waveland, we were every bit there for them, to support them in their effort," said Bruce Astrein, Executive Director of the Americans for Libraries Council.

"Our library has always been a real important feature of our community. It's a neighborhood. It's a family like library where our community just uses it overwhelmingly," Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo said.

Mayor Longo says rebuilding the library will play a major part in rebuilding Coleman Avenue stronger and better than before, but it's not just about bricks and mortar.

"At a time like this, to raise the spirits and the morale of the people of the community, that goes a long, long way," Mayor Longo said.

The Director of the Hancock County Library System agrees.

"There's still 2,000 people in trailers. They don't necessarily have Internet connections or access to books or material, so we're here to provide that," said David Woodburn, Director of the Hancock County Library System.

Another $200,000 in grant money from the Council will be used to help repair the Bay St. Louis-Hancock County Headquarters facility. The Americans for Libraries Council was selected by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to manage grants totaling $5 million to help repair and rebuild libraries in the Gulf Coast region.