What a year this has been!! Jefferson Davis Parish Library progressed through the year as usual with the ordering of books, the work with patrons in securing desired materials, and in providing a variety of educational as well as fun classes. Our biggest challenge this year was the five month process of moving all books and furnishings to storage facilities and then patiently witnessing the renovation of the first floor of the Jennings Headquarters library location. The process was an arduous one as we watched the meticulous craftsmanship of everyone who contributed to the final design. The Grand Re-Opening was attended by over one hundred and twenty persons. The library is now in full ‘swing’ once again attending to the needs of the patrons of our parish. Please come by and see the changes. I call the change ‘simple elegance.’
I want to encourage all who have not yet picked up your copy of our annual recipe book ‘Delicious Christmas’ to please go by your local library and do so. The library staff and the Board of Trustees contributed a wide variety of recipes to share with you and your family during this holiday season.
I also want to encourage all to watch our digital sign at the Headquarters building. We will utilize this sign to inform the patrons of upcoming programs, information about our e-Resources and other general library news.
ALL of our branch libraries will be offering FYI classes in 2015. Jennings Headquarters Branch will be offering evening classes that were formerly named FYI. The new name for Jennings classes will be R & R (Rest & Relaxation).We are especially excited that the classes we are offering are pertinent to the needs and desires of the community we serve.
Currently, the Mobile Branch Staff Kathy LeJeune and Kay Hebert are providing monthly classes to Bayou Villa. I have attended some of these sessions and find the residents who attend delightful. They enjoy a lesson, refreshments and fellowship. This is just one example of the continued efforts all library personnel offer to enrich the lives of community.
Parents, please check with your children regarding their school’s involvement in the Young Reader’s Choice Program. The students from grades 3 to high school are offered a list of books to read in order to be able to vote for their favorite book. This project is a statewide project that encourages both literacy and the enjoyment of reading. Lorraine Dees and her most efficient staff will travel the parish in January with their portable voting machines. Thus, we teach the democratic process as well as accomplish literacy goals. All libraries have designated a location for the 2015 books that are on the Young Reader’s Choice list. I have read some of the books and have found them to be most enjoyable. Do come by our libraries to see the titles for your children from grades 3 to high schools. Participating schools include:
Lake Arthur Elementary
Hathaway High School
Roanoke Junior High
Jennings Jr/High School
Before beginning our work on budget items and goals for 2015, we were reminded of the end of 2006 at our library. We had just completed two new libraries in Elton and Jennings. The buildings and the furnishings were all brand new. A great deal of money was spent and, incidentally, was spent well.
The Board of Trustees in their wonderful wisdom then guided us to take a few years to focus on library collections while putting aside reserve funding for renovations for the McBurney Memorial Library. By 2010 that library was completely renovated to offer a modern, efficient and up-to-date library.
As we look to 2015, the Board of Trustees has provided leadership in requiring that we step back and determine how to adequately continue to provide the best services to the parish. Continual acquisition of new materials to include books, magazine, newspapers and e-Resources to all the patrons is the number one priority. Originally there was a tentative plan to renovate the second floor of the Headquarters branch in 2015. That renovation has been put on hold. A systematic focus on providing services for patrons while reserving funds to enhance any future renovations or dealing with unforeseen catastrophic events is another priority for the upcoming year. This is a visionary approach to the future growth of Jefferson Davis Parish Library. Other measures have been taken to ensure responsible fiscal management. I commend the Board’s Finance Committee for their planning and efforts to insure wise stewardship of tax payers’ money.
We hope that all of you can readily see the focus the Board of Trustees has placed on the work they do in collaborating with me and with our most excellent staff. We wish all of you a happy season filled with gratitude for America and for the many freedoms we enjoy, especially the ability to read any material we choose to read. Not all in this world have had the privilege of this simple enjoyment in the past…and some not in the present.
Happy New Year.
February Librarian’s Lines include the presentation given on the occasion of the 40th year that the McBurney Memorial Library building has served the public. It is the third and final home of library services in Welsh, Louisiana. Dr. Linda LeBert-Corbello lived in Welsh and was able to utilize each library building….she shares her memories of Welsh and the thrill of having a library.
Welsh Public Library
When a parish wide tax failed in Welsh for a free public library in 1927, citizens united with Miss Essae M. Cullver, Executive Secretary of the Louisiana Library Commission ,and Hon. J.O. Modisette, President of the Louisiana Library Commission and a Jennings lawyer. These two people met with the Board of Trustees for the Town of Welsh in the Masonic Hall in July 1929. A decision was made that if Welsh could provide a fund that would maintain a library, the Louisiana Library Commission would send 500 loaned volumes to serve as Welsh’s first public and free library. According to historical records, the Town Board agreed to a one mill reduction on other taxes in order not to raise anyone’s taxes. The ordinance adopted on September 4, 1929 read:
“A Proposition to levy and assess and collect annually a one mill tax on all of the assessed and assessable property of the Town of Welsh, Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, for a period of five years, beginning with the year 1929 and ending with the year 1933, for the purpose of supporting, operating, and maintaining a municipal, free public library in the Town of Welsh, Louisiana, title to which shall vest in the public.”
These efforts resulted in a fund of $900 a year to pay the librarian and buy new books and magazines. The Library Board was established and consisted of:
- Mrs. A. R. McBurney, President
- Dr. B.J. LaCour, Vice-President
- Mrs. R. R. Arceneaux, Secretary
- Mrs. W.E. Faught, Treasurer
- S.E. Carroll
- Mrs. Laura Mae Kimball, Librarian.
- Ex-officio members included: John W. Armstrong, Mayor of Welsh, Mr. P.E. Wilson, Principal of Welsh High School and Miss Mary Yantis, Chairman of the Book Selection Committee.
The library was opened on February 25, 1930. The State Library Commission loaned 500 volumes to Welsh City Hall to serve as Welsh’s first public and free library. During the first year the following statistics were kept:
- 3462 adult books checked out.
- 3342 children’s books were checked out.
As a personal note, I was born in 1951 and lived in Welsh. I remember the court house square. City Hall was a beautiful massive building set in the middle of the location of the present police & fire station. I remember walking to the library with my Mom and siblings and noting the signs posted on the grass surrounding the library: KEEP OFF GRASS! I was amazed because even in the heat of summer the City Hall grass was always green. I also vividly remember walking into the City Hall to the back of the building where the books were kept. I remember the smell of that room like it was yesterday. Wonderful smell of books…lots of books. We were each allowed to check out only two books. Being one of seven siblings gave us an edge in that we would often share the books with each other after reading our own. I would have been 8 years old when the library was then moved to the Home Economics Building in June 1959. Documents state that Miss Essae M. Culver, State Librarians and Louisiana dignitaries attended the October Open House.
The new library became my new favorite. It seemed like a real house of books. We still walked to the library (my Mother never drove a car). Sometimes, my older sisters would be the ones to walk us to the library on those very hot summer days. I can still feel the hot blacktop road against my feet and the hot stones & rails along the railroad tracks. The new building must have meant more books because I can remember thinking…how will I ever read all of these books? I remember spending one summer reading every biography in a series that were blue-green with red lettering for the titles. How I loved reading of Florence Nightingale, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and so many others.
Another pleasant memory of our library visits included visiting the Busy Bee Café and getting an ice cream cone on the way home. I felt like a special little girl sitting on a red bar stood waiting my turn. Ice cream cones were only for special times, not every time we went to the library….boy were they not the best I ever had? I still smell the scent of the Busy Bee Café and I am sure my fellow Welsh Citizens remember it also. It was like Mom’s best cooking and Christmas day cooking all wrapped together in a neat package.
In 1968 the Welsh Library became a part of the Parish Library System. Mrs. A.R. McBurney was one of the first members of the Library Board.
Mayor Jimmy Martin, who was also representative-elect of Jeff Davis Parish, appeared before the Police Jury and stated that the Welsh Town Council would donate the site for the library building if the Police Jury would take over paving payments that would decrease each year and be completely paid within ten years. This was accepted by the Police Jury. The current building was built at a cost of $80,000. It was financed by 60% of federal monies secured by the Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury and the remaining 40% donated by Mrs. A. R. McBurney as a memorial to her deceased husband A.R. McBurney and her deceased son Dr. William McBurney. The building was built on the corner section of the property with the plans for a tie in with the ultimate construction of a Welsh Civic Center. The building was renovated in 2010 to re-purpose the building for technology changes, appropriate functionality of the building for all ages and all events and general updating for a more modern décor.
This library has a total 14,256 holdings that include books, books on cassette, books on CDs, DVDs, e-books, music CDs, paperbacks, video games, laptop computers for check out and so much more. Databases on our website allow for incredible research possibilities. Last year a total of 11, 527 items were checked out. Denice Sonnier is an incredible manager providing so many new ideas for sharing with patrons. Patrick Guillory is a creative Children’s facilitator and assistant manager. We thank them both for the excellent services they provide for the people of Jefferson Davis Parish.
As I researched the information on the progress of your library system I have to tell you how very honored I was when I read that Mrs. Culver and Mr. Modisette aided our citizens in Welsh in their efforts to establish the first public library in Welsh. Why? Both of these prominent people who are now deceased have awards in their name that are presented by the Louisiana Library Association.
Jefferson Davis Parish Library received the Modisette Award in 2008 for the most improved library system in the state over a two year period. It was a grand evening in Shreveport when I stood at the podium accepting that award on behalf of all the work accomplished in our library system.
Today reminds me that our work makes a difference in the lives of our patrons. It was so kind and so very wise to take time to celebrate such victory for Welsh and its library. Thank you so very much.
Librarian’s Lines Dr. Linda LeBert-Corbello August 2012
“Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark… in any library in the world I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.” (Germaine Greer)
What a profound statement! I believe that my employees and I share this sentiment when it comes to our workplace. Not only do we provide reservoirs of strength, grace and wit as mentioned above, but we continue to build our repositories of books, materials and services for the patrons of Jefferson Davis Parish.
In recent years, I have enlisted the assistance of all library personnel in obtaining new materials for our collection. I firmly believe that the individual branch managers know their patrons within their local communities. This has greatly increased the progress in the book collections at all library branches including our Mobile Branch.
While assisting with processing of books, I just was so pleased at the choices that each branch manager selected. I could not possibly detail the many hundreds of books added to the collection this summer. However, I thought that I could highlight a few titles that would be of interest at this time of year. With the approach of a new school year, adults and children alike embark on the journey of returning to school or universities to increase their knowledge base. Here are a few titles to maybe tempt you to step inside our doors. We would love to be at your service. These are just a taste …so many other delicious titles await you!
For the student (adult or child):
Writing the AP English Essay
SAT Subject Test Literature (practice tests)
5 TEAS Practice Tests (Nursing)
Multiplication & Division
For the Job Seeker:
Resumes for Dummies
Computer for Seniors
Managing and Troubleshooting Networks
Letterhead & Logo Design 11
The Big Book of Jobs
For the Hunter:
Standard catalog of Handguns
Shotgunning for Deer
For those who have time for fun:
Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating
Digital Painting Tricks and Techniques
Complete Colored Pencil Book
Hot Rod Wiring
Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists
All of our titles are available to all patrons. If you come to Jennings and the book is housed at another library, know that we can have that book to you as soon as possible. This is true at all library branches. All anyone has to do is request a title from the librarian. We aim to please. Come visit us and allow yourself to be still and absorbed in our collection. We are having such fun, are you?