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Community Analysis Report

1560 words - 7 pages

The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County is located in Forrest County, Mississippi. This public library system is headquartered in Hattiesburg, MS, and has an additional branch in Petal, MS. The library began serving the reading needs of the community with a circulating collection of books in 1916. Later that year it relocated to the lounge of the first floor of the Forrest County Courthouse. During World War I, the American Library Association established twelve branch libraries in Hattiesburg to serve citizens and soldiers at Camp Shelby. Then the first public library building was dedicated on Main Street Hattiesburg in May 1930. The current building was opened in March 1996 and is located at 329 Hardy Street. The library features tributes to the state in the Mississippi Tower, Mississippi Room, Genealogy and Observation Level and the Author’s Walk honoring great Mississippi authors. The centerpiece is The Spirit that Builds, a 10-foot-high, 167-foot-around mural which hangs 30 feet above the circulation desk. It shows Hattiesburg history in an artistic view painted by University of Southern Mississippi art professor, William Baggett.( Greiner, 2004, pp. 175-178 ) The library offers: 1) a large selection of fiction, non-fiction, reference, and children's materials; 2) a growing collection of MP3/Play-A-Way and books on CD; 3) DVDs & VHS tapes for circulation; 4) two computer labs for public use; 5) several specialized book clubs and story times; 6) a beautiful and welcoming building and ample seating; 7) Wi-Fi connections throughout the library, including the ever-popular Reading Room; 8) study rooms available for patron use for study sessions or meetings; 9) gallery space for rotating collections and exhibits; and 10) a friendly and knowledgeable staff. The library has a capacity for 200,000 books. The collection of the library contains approximately 151,092 volumes. The library circulates approximately 443,842 items per year. (Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County,n.d.)
The library serves patrons of Forrest County, but focuses mainly on those living in the city of Hattiesburg. It serves the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal. It also serves numerous public and private school systems within the city limits. These include preschools, elementary schools, middle and high schools, and colleges.
The population data of this area, from the United States Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey (n.d.), shows that the male to female ratio is similar to the national average in that there are more women than men, but that Forrest County has an even higher number of women than men. As Disher (2007) notes, “Women use libraries far more than men do” (p. 20), this library system should recognize that attention should be attuned to the need for more materials that women use. The survey also shows a higher percentage of children in almost all age breakdowns. Disher also notes, “Families with children are the library’s heaviest...

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