New Hattiesburg Library

Pamela Pridgen's vision became reality with the much anticipated opening of the new $5.75 million 52,970 square-foot building with its many architectural and technological features, a facility befitting the nation's 154th Metropolitan Statistical Area. The library, designed by Hattiesburg architect Larry Albert, has a capacity for 200,000 books. A full-time staff of 22 and a part-time staff of 10 are under the direction of Pamela Pridgen. The computerized card catalog will allow key word searches in addition to the more traditional search modes both from the 40 library computer stations and from user's home computers. There are also 24 other computers available for personal use at the library. The library features the Mississippi Tower, Mississippi Room, Genealogy and the Observation Level, and the the Author's Walk in honor of Mississippi's many great authors. The centerpiece of the new Hattiesburg library is The Spirit that Builds, a 10-foot-high, 167-foot-around mural which hangs 30 feet above the circulation desk. It depicts Hattiesburg history in "a mythological view of reality". The mural, three years and $250,000 in the making, was painted on a stainless steel surface by USM art professor William Baggett. (Phil Hearn and others Hattiesburg American 02Mar1996)

Circulation leap makes library top in Mississippi Libraries that circulate more than 150,000 materials a year are among the busiest in the state. Those that circulate twice that and more are leading the pack, which most likely puts the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County at the top for state libraries. The total number of materials circulated in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 1997, by the main library was 282,265, compared to 1412,545 for the last full year at 723 Main St. That, as one editorial writer in the state wrote, is amazing. Put the numbers for Petal and the main library together, add use of 53 pieces of equipment and you get a total of 352,284 materials circulated in FY97. (Linda A. McMurtrey The Advertiser News 12Nov1997)

Pridgen receives Lions' award True leadership and dedication will ultimately reap great rewards. A Hattiesburg resident with those qualities was recently honored for them. Pamela J Pridgen has been designated by the Hattiesburg Lions Club as the 1997 Distinguished Citizen of the Year. Pridgen is the director of the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County. She successfully built community support for the passage of a $6 million bond proposal to provide a new main library for Hattiesburg, a new branch library for Petal and an automated library catalog and circulation system. She worked with the architect and artist William Baggett to include the monumental mural, "The Spirit that Builds," as an integral component of the new main library. The mural, which graces the atrium of the library, depicts the history of south Mississippi. Pridgen worked on a daily basis with the architect, the general contractor and the subcontractor to monitor progress and to find solutions when problems arose. In May of this year, the Library won the Governor's Award for excellence in the Arts for design of public space. This award recognized significant contribution to artistic life in the state of Mississippi. Pridgen graduated with a master of library science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1982. She serves as president of the Mississippi Library Association (Special to the American 03Dec1997)

Previous Photo | Hattiesburg | Next Photo

Contents  |  Home
© 1995-2004