by: Kathy Sparkman, Former Branch Manager
Margaret S. Sherry Memorial Library
Photos by: Doug Harper, Felica Watkins, Larry Stull
The groundbreaking for the Margaret Sherry Memorial Library expansion was held on December 10th 2002, at 3:00 p.m. In spite of the cold and damp, it was a successful celebration, well and enthusiastically attended.
Many local VIP's braved the inclement weather to attend the groundbreaking as did many of the library's devoted patrons. About 100 people in all were in attendance. These included Mayor A.J. Holloway, Councilman Mike Fitzpatrick, Councilman Jim Compton, Councilman Charles Harrison, and Mrs. Connie Rocko, Harrison County Supervisor. Mr. Bill Fluty, former Biloxi council member, also attended. Mrs. Gerry Morgan, Mrs. Nancy Sneed, Ms. Mary Buchanan, and Mr. Gordon Burton represented the Harrison County Library Board. In addition, Ms. Nell Bishop, Mrs. Wanda Hurlbert, and Mrs. Millie Page, represented the Biloxi Library Advisory Board. The Mississippi Library Commission, was represented by Consultants Melissa Wright, and John Batson. Robert Lipscomb, Library System director, welcomed everyone and asked Reverend James Haynes to deliver the invocation. Mayor Holloway followed with some encouraging words about the project and the area, then Connie Rocko and John Batson also brought greeting and praise for the library project.
Golden shovels were issued and a number of the dignitaries helped break ground for the addition. They were assisted in this work by local youngsters equipped with their own plastic shovels and hardhats (Bob the Builder has nothing on these up and coming young citizens!) In keeping with the theme of the project " Growing with a growing Community", children from the library's preschool and elementary programs came to help out. As a result the actual breaking of ground was enthusiastically carried out amidst many smiles.
Soon to be open for twenty years, the Margaret Sherry Library has become a great deal more than the community reading room that was originally planned The library collection has grown from under 10,000 items to over 25,000 and circulation has increased to approximately 64,000 items a year. It now bulges at the seams with books, materials and computers, and is a hub of activity for its growing community. There are new businesses, housing developments, and apartment complexes popping up all over the area. The new Biloxi High School and the new North Bay Elementary School has brought a new influx of students. The obvious interest of all who attended this ceremony speaks to the community's stake in the success of library project.