Library’s new carpet could come by fall|[03/28/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2008

Some of the $70,000 in this year’s Warren County budget marked for sprucing up Warren County-Vicksburg Library might be tapped in time for the start of next school year.

First up would be installing new carpet in the foyer of the building, bare since a 2003 rainstorm.

Painting interior walls could prove more challenging if specialized crews cannot be found to move bookshelves without having to remove the books, library Director Deb Mitchell said Thursday. Such professional services could cost an additional $25,000 and require temporary labor, she said.

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Usually open six days a week, the nearly 30-year-old library on Veto Street will have to close for about four weeks if work can begin by late July. The 2008-2009 school year is scheduled to begin in early August.

“We’re hoping we won’t be down long,” Mitchell told supervisors who were reviewing plans for the upgrade.

Mitchell also said a $10,000 state grant geared to install handicapped-accessible entrance doors will require $2,500 in local matching money, that supervisors indicated they would secure before the end of the fiscal year.

“We’ll see what kind of money situation we’re in,” said District 5 Supervisor Richard George, board president. “But we have no problem spending the money.”

The county-maintained facility has seen a flurry of improvements and attention in the past year.

In July, new computers were installed, thanks to grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Wireless technology and new servers inside the building were added with federal money secured for library improvements.

Mold staining parts of the building’s exterior was pressure-washed in December after Mayor Laurence Leyens criticized the building’s appearance during a meeting of the Mississippi Library Association in October. The comments sparked a letter from a former director of the organization.

At the time, library employees said regular usage of the library had increased since the technology upgrades.

“The library is a much different place than in the early 1990s,” Mitchell said.