Support of library worth every penny

Published 9:11 am Friday, March 20, 2015

As a youth, trips to the local public library were often necessary to complete school assignments.

Walking through the doors seemed to open up a whole new world full of information. The technology of the day, like microfilm files, was not as advanced as it is today, but it was pretty mind-blowing for a pre-teen still learning about the world and technology.

Before beginning or just completing the assignment, I often scanned the children’s mystery section for my favorite selections, namely the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Brothers Frank and Joe Hardy and Nancy Drew solved many a crime that often stumped professional crime fighters. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew solved each and every mystery in a short span of 90 minutes or so.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries were exceptional reading. And they took young kids to imaginary places that even adults only dreamed about.

It’s hard to imagine children not having the ability to explore their public library. With dwindling funds, public libraries are fighting to keep their doors open so the next generation can read about the intrigue I experienced through the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. Or complete a school assignment for that matter.

That is why it is so important to help our public libraries whenever we have the opportunity. Public libraries give so much and open the world to anyone’s endless imagination.

I think the Washington Parish Library System is to be commended for its tenacity and resolve to keep information flowing to all those who want and need it. The WPLS is one of two parish systems in the state that has the lowest support in terms of per capita funding at $15.02. The national average is $38.09.

That $15 is expected to pay for salaries, books and utilities. That doesn’t take into consideration paying for cleanup or roof repair after a heavy rainstorm or any other natural disaster. Libraries are strapped for operating funds as it is.

Taking all that into consideration is why I join with the Friends of the Washington Parish Library System in supporting the library system’s request to cast a yes vote for the system’s millage renewal during the May 2 election. A “no” vote puts the library in danger of closing once all reserve funds are exhausted. It’s important to know the millage renewal is not a new tax, but rather just a continuation of an old one.

Washington Parish Library System Executive Director Al Barron is a parish fixture. He is a tireless worker and takes the library to heart. He is often seen at parish council meetings passing out literature regarding what services and events are happening at the local library. The Washington Parish Library System operates facilities in Bogalusa, Franklinton, Thomas and Enon.

It’s no mystery why a city needs a library. It does open up new worlds to explore, a world that hopefully will not soon be closed off to the children of Washington Parish.

Randy Hammons is a staff writer with the Daily News. He can be reached by calling 985-732-2565 or by emaiI at