The Waveland Public Library, a branch of the Hancock County Library System destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, is the first library in Mississippi to receive funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gulf Coast Libraries Project.
In July, the Gates Foundation awarded $12.2 million to SOLINET as part of the project to assist public libraries in 13 communities in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Hurricane Katrina came ashore in Mississippi between Waveland and Pearlington on August 29, 2005. The hurricane destroyed the library in Waveland, while the Pearlington Library was gutted by the storm surge. The Hancock County Library System headquarters library in Bay St. Louis and the Kiln Library were heavily damaged, but are open to the public while awaiting additional repairs.
The grant money will support temporary facilities for Waveland and Pearlington. Gates Foundation funds are also earmarked for materials, technology and staffing.
”We are grateful to have the funding for temporary library services while plans are made to rebuild the Waveland Library,” stated Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo. “Restoring library services and facilities are essential to the recovery of our city.”
Prima Plauche,’ Hancock County Library System Special Projects Director, will work with SOLINET staff to restore library service to these areas before the end of the year.