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Plans for Library take another step forward

LAPLACE — Plans for construction of a new library in Reserve took another step forward this past Tuesday night when The Lemoine Company was hired as construction manager for the project.

The approval came during the St. John the Baptist Council meeting this past Tuesday night in LaPlace.

Library director Andrea Tullos said a Request for Qualifications was sent out and a committee met to discuss the proposals as well as conduct interviews. A scoring system was established and The Lemoine Company was rated the highest, Tullos said.

She had announced earlier in the meeting that library cards will now feature the system’s new logo and that cards will be free for those who previously did not have one. The cost for those with existing cards is $2, Tullos said after President Jaclyn Hotard proclaimed September as National Library Card Sign-Up Month.

Tullos said the library offers cards for children, teens and adults.

Councilman Tom Malik touted the features of the library’s Hoopla app, which allows cardholders to instantly borrow e-books, comics, audio books, music, movies and television shows with no waiting. Hoopla also features a service that returns the item once the time has expired so late fees are not an issue.

“It’s one of the neatest things I’ve seen,” Malik said. “I do enjoy it.”

The new library is to sit adjacent to St. John Theatre on River Road. Library leaders have cited parking concerns and functionality at the current Reserve library as the needs to construct the new facility, which is expected to have a $9 million budget.

In other items, the council authorized the parish to sign and execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the city for Monroe for emergency shelters. Interim Director of Public Safety Travis Perrilloux said if a declaration of a public emergency and mandatory evacuation is ordered as a result of a natural or man-made disaster, the city of Monroe will provide shelter for St. John residents.

Safe haven will also be provided for pets and animals with a Monroe non-profit agency, Perrilloux said.

The council also approved an ordinance establishing and defining the parish precinct boundaries, merge precincts and establish polling places. Several precincts are being merged and some polling places changes, with the parish building serving as a polling place for several precincts.