Officials anxiously await library opening

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 2, 2002


LAPLACE – After moving more than 90,000 items from the old St. John the Baptist Parish Library to shelves in the new facility in LaPlace, Library Director Randy De Soto said the new building is almost ready and should open, as scheduled, on Friday.

The official ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the new facility located at 2920 U.S. Highway 51. The library will officially open to the public at noon.

“We hired a professional moving company that specializes in moving libraries for the books,” De Soto said. “It made it easier. We didn’t want to get things mixed up.”

The move began last week and took several days to complete. Staff members are busy reshelving the last of the books from the library collection and putting the finishing touches on office facilities.

“We have had all our staff working to get everything moved, shelved and cleaned,” De Soto said. “It takes a lot of preparation.”

Overall, De Soto said the transition has gone smoothly.

“(It was) much better than we hoped,” De Soto said.

The new library was originally planned as a 30,000 square foot facility, but was changed as a result of decreases in available funding.

“We were able to build a 20,000 square foot building,” De Soto said. “But it has been built in a way that will make it easy to add onto in the future.”

The building is light and airy with high ceilings, windows and an open porch area with seating for outdoor reading.

Inside, library patrons have access to computers – 24 public access and an additional six loaded with software specifically designed for children.

And finally, said Margaret Carlson, children’s librarian, the library has a story-teller room complete with step-seating.

Already scheduled, storyteller Judy Lovelady, 2 p.m. Friday, Cajun musician, Papillion, 2 p.m. Monday, and children’s author and storyteller Colleen Salley, 10 a.m. Aug. 14.