Parish Library Organized in 1956

The Gazette
October 8, 1992

Jessica Kleppinger

Serving the area since 1956, the Union Parish Library has been through many changes in its 36-year history.

Originally opened as a demonstration library supported under the auspices of the Louisiana State Library, the facility became self-supporting in 1957 when a $3 million maintenance tax was passed locally. In 1966 the tax was renewed for 10 years with a quarter million designated for construction of a new library.

Local taxes matched with funds from the Library Service and Construction Act, Title II, made it possible to begin the 1968 re-location of the library to its present site. The $18,000 facility was contracted to F.C. Barron Construction of Farmerville and provided the community 7,000 square feet of floor space and 40,000 volumes of shelving space.

Several state-of-art services were also introduced, such as a 10-cent coin-operated copy machine, sound film strip projector, 16mm film projection, records with listening tables and a public meeting room with seating capacity of 75.

The new library was formally opened to the public on April 20, 1969. The Sunday Grand Opening included a dedication ceremony and an Open House.

In the following year on March 19, 1970, the library was the recipient of the Modisette Award for Public Libraries. The award, given by the Louisiana Library Association, recognized the Union Parish Library for showing the greatest improvement over its own 1968 record. Areas critiqued were public service, organization and operation.

“Any recognition for improved library services should go to the entire staff and Board of Trustees and to the Louisiana State Library; for without the hard work and cooperation of all, it would not have been possible,” said Librarian Agnes Harris, upon accepting the award.

Before retiring from the Ouachita Parish Library, Harris received the Essae Mae Culver Award for outstanding librarian of the state.

Library services in 1992 include a 20-cent copy machine, a microfilm reader and printer, a computer for inter-library loans to locate books throughout the state and nation and 50,000 volumes of shelving space.

According to Dorothy Killen, who has served as librarian for 10 years, the library also provides a Book Mobile, which is on a two-week rotation to all towns in Union Parish, and large-print books for the sight-impaired through the state’s “Talking Books Program.”





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