Library construction on schedule

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2002


LAPLACE – Students now bumping elbows at crowded library tables and straining to read tiny print in the dimly lit St. John the Baptist Parish Library will soon be reading in an airy windowed facility or even on the modern building’s outside porch.

Construction on the new 20,000 square foot St. John the Baptist Parish Library facility began in January 2001 and is expected to be completed by the first week of August. The new facility, estimated to cost approximately $2,715,000, will include two study rooms, a storyteller area in the children’s department and a terrace/porch area for outside reading.

“We’ll have more light, more room, more seating, more computers, study rooms and a larger meeting room for civic and government agencies,” said Library Director Randy DeSoto.

According to DeSoto, the new library will seat about 50 visitors, but will provide more than just space to accommodate library patrons.

“We will be able to expand, which is something we haven’t been able to do in this location,” DeSoto said.

The old library was built in 1977 and was expanded in 1984 to meet the demands of a growing population and the introduction of new technology and media formats, such as the internet and audio books.

The problem with the old library is it has reached its limit for growth, DeSoto said.

“The new library will have 24 public-access computers for Internet and word processing, six computers loaded with children’s learning programs,” DeSoto said. “We will be able to expand (the number of computers) up to 32. What we also envision doing in the future is adding space for distant education technologies.”

The old library will be closed for about two weeks at the end of July in anticipation of the move to the new building on U.S. Highway 51. Policies that block pornography and limit Internet access to gambling sites and chatrooms will remain in place at the new location, DeSoto explained.