St. John public library expansion nearing completion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2012



LAPLACE – Contractors are putting the finishing touches on a 5,800-square-foot expansion at the Central Branch of the St. John the Baptist Parish Library in LaPlace that will ad space for technical services, administrative offices and storage.

“It’s space for our behind-the-scenes operations that we have needed for some time,” said Library Director Randy DeSoto. “The floor is being put in, and other minor things are being resolved and should be done by next week.”

DeSoto said the new space will house the library’s technical services, which includes ordering, processing and cataloging. It will also be home to the IT department and several servers that support the computer systems. There will also be offices for the computer department staff.

“The library has grown since it was built in 2002,” DeSoto said. “Our computer staff has been working out of public study areas, and some of the branch staff has been working out of space needed for technical services. The move will shift offices but will also free up public study rooms for residents and expand the space used for computer kiosks.”

The Library Board and the St. John Parish Council approved the $1.1 million expansion project in early 2011. J.A. “Jack” Julius Construction Company of Marrero was the low bidder for the project. The parish recently added about $32,000 to the project to include a lightning protection system, a concrete patio extension, an increase in ground elevation and a change to some exterior doors on the new building.

Desoto said the addition was something the library system wanted to include when the $2.7 million 20,000-square-foot central library branch, located on U.S. Highway 51 near the St. John Community Center, was built. He said the space was cut out of the original design because the library system could not afford it at the time.

The parish library system is funded through a 10 mill property tax, which annually generates about $3.5 million. DeSoto said the money is used for maintenance and construction projects throughout the year.

DeSoto said in addition to asphalt overlay and minor interior issues, the library is also awaiting the delivery of furniture for the new space, which should arrive next week.