Library construction on schedule, budget

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 20, 2002


LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish patrons should have full use of a brand new library this spring.

The library, located along U.S. Highway 51, is being built on part of a 55-acre plot owned by the parish.

Randy DeSoto, the administrative librarian for the parish, said this area was chosen because there is extra land to expand on if necessary. The 20,000 square foot building will have 70 parking spaces available and is next to two newly built soccer fields.

It will also house 31 public access computers with internet connections. Twenty-four of the Dell and Gateway computers will be placed in the main section of the library and the other seven will be in the children’s section. The children’s machines will have learning and activity programs with no internet service.

DeSoto said construction, performed by Pellerin contractors, is on schedule and should be complete by March. The library will not be open to the public until May, when all of the furniture is delivered and the books are placed on the shelves.

“Sizeler (Architects) worked with us to design a modern building with a traditional feel,” said DeSoto. “We were on budget and once construction is complete, we will move our current collection into this building.”

There is only one entrance to the building and upon entering, patrons will immediately see the circulation desk.

The young adult section will be placed next to the windows, allowing more light to move into the building for the children to read.

This section of the library has outdoor access where a deck will be built for citizens to read and relax.

The one floor building will have a meeting room in the back which will be able to hold 150 to 200 people and will have a divider, giving the option of having two separate rooms.

Microfilm and microfiche will still be available but most expanded access will be on the computers involving CD-ROM programs, DeSoto said.

“We were just busting at the seams,” said DeSoto. “We were able to expand so much here.”

The idea to build a new library stemmed from the lack of space in the current 14,000-square-foot building located in the Riverland Shopping Center on Airline Highway in LaPlace.

According to DeSoto, the introduction of new technologies has caused the outgrowth of the present building and 1997 it was decided by the parish to construct a new building.

The current library will be used for parish administrative offices.