The Dewey decimal system is a lot easier to figure out than why Gulfport's main library is still crammed into a small trailer. If you follow the news, you know the Harrison County Library System has plans to create a state of the art library center in downtown Gulfport. It also has a new administration center and library planned for Orange Grove. The two buildings would replace hurricane damaged and aging book depositories in both of those areas.
Yet, because of what Mayor Brent Warr calls, "political efforts made by special interest groups," rebuilding the library has become an ugly and confusing mess. The issue is the old downtown library that Hurricane Katrina gutted. Harrison County owns the building. And supervisors want it torn down. That would clear a hurdle and allow construction of a new, more inland downtown library to begin.
Building supporters are hoping the old structure will be named a Mississippi landmark, and therefore be saved. Their passionate efforts to save the library building were dealt a big blow when the Gulfport City Council did a 180 on Tuesday and suddenly said get rid of it.
Here's a radical idea we suggested four months ago, let the private sector raise money to buy the building, and do whatever it wants with it. It's time for the public sector to put the needs of Gulfport first. And, Gulfport needs new libraries built as soon as possible. The second largest city in Mississippi deserves a state of the art library, a place where children and adults can do research, read and expand their minds.
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