Read any good books lately?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – After being closed for about six months, the Reserve branch of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public Library reopened its doors to patrons recently.

The branch closed in June for remodeling and was supposed to reopen in October, but according to Director Randy DeSoto delays in upgrades to the facility’s roof as well as the arrival of new furniture nearly doubled the projected time for renovations.

But according to patron and former library employee Sandra Hawkins, the wait has been well worth it.

“It’s so nice,” she said. “It’s different. It’s relaxing. It’s up to date.”

Library Assistant Shondrel Lovette echoed her sentiments, saying, “The changes are definitely for the better. The library is a place to escape, whether you find it in a book or a friendly face.”

The new-look library has been repainted and fixtures moved to take advantage of the abundance of natural light in the space.

“It looks more spacious,” said Branch Supervisor Lynette Hunter.

Besides creating a more inviting space, the remodel has made the branch more user friendly as well.

Comfortable chairs set up around small tables give the library the feel of a coffee shop or some other place people head for a little relaxed reading. Also, in one of the corners stands the section for young adults. With its own set of plush chairs and a selection of books popular with today’s ‘tweens and teens, the library is trying to make its services more attractive to the wireless generation.

In another corner of the library one will find the colorful juvenile area. With new furnishings made especially for small bodies and plenty of familiar characters, the library is hoping to draw more youngsters — and their parents — to the branch.

Other new features include a display holding new releases and pertinent information at the library’s entrance. Improved DVD and periodical displays are meant to further enhance the patron experience.

Other renovations include completely remodeled restrooms, new computers, new carpet and a new circulation desk.

The total cost for the renovations was about $137,000.

“It was 21 years old. It needed to be freshened up,” said DeSoto. He continued, “People appreciate a different sort of environment, and with the color on the wall, this gives it a nicer feel.”

The branch will have its official grand opening with an open house at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19.