Library issues need some addressing

Published 3:57 am Saturday, July 20, 2019

Dear Editor,

There are two issues I would like to address.

First, at the last Library Board meeting, I stated that I have heard two complaints about the children’s section of our Bogalusa library not having a sufficient number of books. The Assistant Director of the library had called me and said she didn’t understand why there was a problem, because we had received a sizable grant for children’s books. She looked into the situation and some new books were sent.

In the process, I was shown the accounting for the grant. It showed that each of the four branches received the same amount of money to purchase books. This struck me as odd, because I have always heard that Bogalusa has more patrons than all the other branches combined.

I checked the figures and prepared a chart to present to the Board. I was told that the figures I used were for all books, not just children’s. I then gathered the figures for just check outs of children’s books. That’s what I present to you here:

Thomas — 2,068 (18%); Enon — 2,275 (20%); Franklinton — 2,731 (24%); Bogalusa — 4,403 (38%).

As you can see, Bogalusa will not be able to make as large an increase to the number of children’s books available to the population in comparison to the other branches. We are so proud of our Bogalusa Mill for their generous grant and their concern for the children of our parish. I just wish the grant had been divided according to population served.

This brings me to my second issue. When I addressed the Board about the complaints I had received, I was asked why people complained to me. Over the last several months, I have encouraged library patrons to come to the meetings. It never failed that — after attending a meeting — they told me in no uncertain terms they would never attend a library meeting again. I understood why. The meetings usually consisted of very long executive sessions where we had no idea what was being said, or when it was an open session, we couldn’t hear anything.

The Board gathers around a table facing each other. That means half of them have their backs to the audience. They speak in a tone to be heard across the table not by everyone else. We complained often. At the last meeting, the Chairman had a microphone. Unfortunately, he rarely spoke into it and never passed it around when other members spoke. I have no idea what was said for most of the meeting.

I was very pleased to see that our Parish President and two Parish Council Members that represent the Bogalusa area attended the meeting. I believe they are aware of the frustration felt by the Bogalusa library patrons. We loved our Bogalusa library and don’t appreciate the changes that have been initiated over the past couple of years.

Lorraine Bourn