Gulfport-Harrison County Library Building Construction Underway
June 27, 1965
The new Gulfport-Harrison County Library is under construction on Highway 90 on a beautiful site made available by the City of Gulfport. The building is of contemporary, semi-regional design enclosing 30,000 square feet on two floors, and is made possible through the combined efforts of the Harrison county board of supervisors and the mayor and commissioners of Gulfport.
Total construction contracts, including all equipment and furnishings, amount to $759,016.30. Proceeds from a county bond issue of $990,000 provide the allotted funds of $800,000 for this project, the remainder being used for other library buildings in the county.
Exterior surfaces of grey glass and exposed quartz aggregate panels are enhanced by concrete columns reaching two stories high with the columns ending in a square flora at the roof level. The interior areas are divided with glass partitions and sculptured masonry walls. Interior columns are finished in matte glazed sculptured panels and the floors are terazzo.
A circular, spiral staircase provides access to the second floor within the front entry foyer and elevators are provided for convenience of those who need them.
The first floor areas contain the childrens’ department, Mississippi history library, and general reading areas along with an auditorium for 75 persons and headquarters for the county extension service, staff work rooms and housing for the county bookmobile complete the ground floor.
The second floor areas provide general reading, language and fine arts, periodical sections, young adults division, cataloging and technical processing, and staff offices. An outstanding feature will be the county law library to serve the attorneys and their personnel.
The entire building will be year ‘round air conditioned for comfort as well as providing controlled climate conditions for preservation of the books.
The main entrance is reached from Twenty-First Avenue across a bridged sidewalk spanning water-fall pools. The other entrance is from the parking lot area to the east adjacent to which is a drive-up book return chute for convenience of the patrons. To the north is a patio area with bicycle racks for youngsters’ use and the entry to the auditorium.
Every detail to convenience with particular aims toward cultural considerations has been planned and include such items as specially designed easels for art shows and photography exhibits; facilities for use of 16mm films; and music listening equipment.
George Thatcher, president of the library board of trustees said:
“The people of Harrison County are indebted to the Harrison County Board of Supervisors and to the mayor and commissioners of Gulfport, whose leadership and cooperation have made possible the new Gulfport - Harrison County library. Upon completion, the new library will be without equal in Mississippi. It is important for a growing county, provide for the cultural growth of its people. Next to schools and churches, a library is an essential facility. For decades to come, this well-planned library will serve Harrison County effectively as a cultural center.