‘Friends of Library’ seeking new members

Published 5:34 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Libraries across this country aren’t given enough credit, according to Lorraine Bourn, a member of the Friends of the Washington Parish Library.

“I don’t think people realize all the library offers to the community,” she recently exclaimed.

The local libraries regularly offer books, movies, computer access, and a spot to read a current magazine or newspaper. Adults can even learn genealogy, history, computer skills, check out a laptop, meet a local author, or take part in other special programs throughout the year.

Besides providing Internet access, the library subscribes to services such as Ancestry, which allows patrons to research their heritage and provides a cloud library of e-books that can be downloaded free of charge. Many language programs and much homework help can be there at your fingertips. And children can gather around and take part in a Storytime or learn and have fun in the Summer Reading Program. For those who could go in either direction, the library also offers Teen Nights.

The library outreach program also services three senior centers, three daycare centers and two low-income resident housing centers.

In anticipation of National Library Week, April 9-15, Friends of the Washington Parish Library is conducting a membership drive. The group invites “old friends” to renew their memberships and asks newcomers to join in its efforts to support the local library that is headquartered in Franklinton, with branches in Bogalusa, Enon, and Thomas.

The current membership is 181 “friends,” but the group plans to send out more than 500 applications this week, and Bourn said she hopes to “increase it a good bit.”

Anybody who doesn’t receive an application and is interested in joining may pick one up at any library or go to the library and request one by mail.

The support is needed. While the national average for per capita funding is $38.09, funding in Washington Parish is $15.02, considerably less than half of the average. With the limited funding, the library system operates all four branches, which have nearly 400 visitors a day.

“We cannot thank the members enough who support us all through the year,” said Friends president Mary Jo Poole. “Our director (Al Barron) is wonderful, and all the staff chip in and help in coordinating all the events that take place through the year. “The Washington Parish Library Branches are very willing in helping all those who walk in the door each day. If they don’t have what you need, they will get it for you. “Again, a big thank you goes out to each and every member of the Friends of the Washington Parish Library. We encourage you to join or renew your membership, and tell others to join.”

The Friends of the Washington Parish Library is a nonprofit organization, so any contribution is tax-deductible.