Release date: Feb. 24, 2017
SCOOBA — While looking for a college project to tackle, members of East Mississippi Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa stumbled upon the Scooba Public Library, which was in dire need of renovation.
“We wanted to find a project that was in the community and off the college campus so we could help more people,” PTK member Parker Dial said. “We knew the library was here and we knew it needed work. We just thought we could help them out.”
In August, after getting approval to take on the project from library and EMCC officials, members of the student honor society got to work.
Located on Kemper Street in the same building as the Scooba Family Medical Clinic, the library once served as a fellowship hall. A sink and cabinets no longer in use occupied a portion of the small, single room lined with library shelves.
After the sink and cabinets were ripped out, students boxed up books and broke down the shelving so they could paint the dark-paneled walls, which proved to be a bigger job than expected. Covering the paneling required a coat of KILZ primer and multiple coats of paint.
EMCC instructors and PTK co-advisors Janet Briggs and Derrick Conner have spent a lot of time on the project while not in class, as have the students.
“Before we could even begin painting, we had to sand the walls first,” Briggs said. “It is taking longer than we expected.”
Conner agreed: “The touch-up work is killing us. We are having to go back and repaint all the grooves in the paneling.”
Reinforcements were recruited among students and other organizations on campus, who helped paint. The college’s maintenance staff modified some of the shelving.
Once the painting is complete, plans are to shampoo the carpet and put the shelving back in place. Students and staff have also collected about 500 books to donate to the library. Conner said the hard work will be worth the effort.
“We are just glad we could help out,” Conner said. “Like everybody else, the library is under budget constraints and has no money for renovations.”
Scooba Public Library Manager Carolyn Bowen is grateful.
“It is wonderful,” Bowen said. “I just can’t get over all they have done. We have loyal patrons and they are going to have a much nicer library once it is finished.”