Ferriday library renovations ready for view

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

FERRIDAY &045; The Concordia Parish Library will

present a dedication program of the renovated Ferriday library from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday with appearances by several special guests.

During the program, Tom Jacques, state librarian, will make special remarks.

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In recent years, Jacques has secured communication discounts for libraries through the state Public Service Commission. Jacques also assisted in the creation of a statewide academic, public and school library electronic network that provides access to online resources, journal databases, the Internet and library catalogs.

Emma Perry, a professor and dean of libraries at Southern University in Baton Rouge, will also speak at the dedication.

As a state library consultant, Perry works with the Concordia Parish Library and has presented programs to Ferriday High School on black history.

The movement for the Concordia Parish Library was born during a lunch at the King Hotel in Ferriday between Glenn Holloway, former president of the Tri-Parish Community Organization, and Essae M. Culver, former head of the Louisiana Library Commission and later Louisiana’s first state librarian, in 1928.

With the support of Culver, police jurors, Ferriday Rotary Club members and other citizens, the Concordia Parish Demonstration Library in the old Ferriday Town Hall successfully opened in October 1928.

Thus, the second oldest parish library system in the state began.

In 1935, Concordia voters approved the state’s first dedicated property tax for the parish library service, with only seven dissenting voters. When the tax came up for renewal in 1939, it passed unanimously.

In 1943, Concordia was suffering troubling economic times with failing crops, unpaid workers and floods. Through it all, Concordia residents still supported the library and never ignored the value of books and the role of reading in building an informed, democratic citizenry.

&uot;In Germany and in the conquered countries, they burn the books that our citizens here may read&045;books with democratic ideas which do not fit into the regime of a man like Hitler,&uot; former library director Lelia Foster said in 1943.

In 1951, A.E. Torres donated three lots to the Ferriday Community Service Club for the Concordia Parish Memorial Civic Center to serve as a war memorial. The facility was later donated to the police jury for use as a public library.

The new building provided air-conditioned window units, blinds, new chairs and a typewriter and the library celebrated its 25th anniversary in the building in 1953.

The library celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1978 by passing a tax increase to fund its expanding operations and by hosting historian T. Harry Williams to lecture on oral history.

Now, in 2003 Concordia Parish Library celebrates its 75th anniversary.

Due to the Concordia voters’ approval of necessary funds, the library headquarters has undergone a renovation/expansion resulting in 6,000 additional square feet. The library will still offer the same traditional services as before as well as up-to-date services like the Internet, electronic databases and an online public access catalog.