Water leaks in two public libraries have some worried - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 On Your Side Investigates: Leaks and mold in Jackson public libraries

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
HINDS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Faced with two quickly deteriorating public library buildings, the Jackson Hinds Library System says enough is enough. 

Now they have a moving plan. 

On the second floor of the Jackson's downtown public library, Eudora Welty, buckets are everywhere catching rain water.

Tiles are swelling and popping up on the floor and this could eventually make the floor structurally unsound.  

One emergency exit is also sealed off.

Rain water leaks through the 80-year-old buildings' ceiling to the stairwell.

If a fire alarm goes off, staff would have to direct people to the second fire escape exit.

Patty Furr, Executive Director of the Jackson-Hinds Library System said three types of black mold have been found in the walls of the administrative office.

On the door, a warning sign is posted: "Do not enter this room for any reason."

Just four years ago, the roof was replaced and repaired, mold was remediated. This whole thing, repainted at a cost of $700,000. 

The city also commissioned a $10,000 leak investigation four years ago, but nothing was ever done to remedy the ceiling leaks.

According to Furr, some employees have complained about illnesses and worry about the health consequences of the mold.

While the second floor of the old Sears building has serious problems, the first floor remains dry.  Thousands of adults and children come here yearly to check out books, movies and use computers.  

Similar problems at the Charles Tisdale Library have persisted for years.

"I have a 1998 strategic plan that suggested we close the library due to leaks in the basement," said Furr.

In April, eighteen inches of rain flooded the basement again. It is now filled with mold, according to Furr. 

The library remains closed to the public.

Library administrators are hoping the Library Board will request that city leaders relocate to the old Virginia College location on I-55 north.  The board meets Wednesday.

"We are hoping the City Council will move ahead and make plans to lease or purchase the building so we can move ahead and move Tisdale and the administrative staff," said Furr.    

The final decision on leasing or purchasing the building is left to the Jackson City Council. Under the law, the library system is not allowed to own or enter a long term lease on a building. 

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