St. Landry Parish Library System
Today, all of the Louisiana parishes have parish-wide Library systems except for St. Landry Parish. The last time the issue of establishing a parish-wide library system was brought before the voters was approximately 50 years ago! Given the dire statistics regarding illiteracy, school readiness, and workforce and economic development, we can no longer ignore or deny the direct correlation between the access to quality libraries and illiteracy and graduation rates. The status quo must give way to improvement and progress. In 2011-12, the St. Landry Parish School Board, in an attempt to balance a budget, eliminated all elementary school library personnel. While there may be a few good libraries in the parish, most struggle, and none are interconnected.
What is the St. Landry Parish Library Coalition?
Under the leadership of the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, the Friends of the Library, representatives from Parish Government, Opelousas Chamber of Commerce, St. Landry Parish School Board, LSU-E and the LSU-E Library, Civic Organizations, Churches and others, we have established an advocacy group that has grown in numbers and support. The Library Coalition has received the in-kind support and pro-bono assistance from the public relations firm, The Russo Group of Lafayette to develop a marketing and community education campaign that will successfully lead to the establishment of a St. Landry Parish Library System, bringing the parish in alignment with all of the other 63 parishes.
How will the small, local libraries and citizens benefit from a parish-wide system?
Eliminate duplication of effort and services in each community or municipal library
More efficient, expansive, systematic use of local taxpayer dollars
To build, dedicate and rely upon an annual revenue source and stream for all municipal and eventually, “parish” library system operations
To bring total uniformity to the State of Louisiana’s 63 parish public library system; St. Landry Parish is the only parish in Louisiana without a “parish-wide” public library system
To improve the alarming parish illiteracy rate, high school graduation and dropout rate as well as lower the related crime and incarceration rates and statistics
Parish Illiteracy . . . over 45% of St. Landry Parish is functionally illiterate
School Readiness . . . over 70% parish 1 -5 year olds not ready for –pre-school
Parish Public School System is facing financial crisis as well as several schools being labeled “academically unacceptable.”
To provide a wider access and information delivery NETWORK to all areas of the parish to evolving web education opportunities and more online information resources, “e-books,” electronic journals, online information databases and audio book subscriptions and other library services delivered from the Internet;
To attract new businesses, new citizens , retirees as well as local visitors and tourists;
To improve the parish’s need to respond to public emergencies, disaster planning as well as play a more strategic location role in supporting routine mass coastal parish evacuations and preparations;
To collaboratively assist parish government and all local communities understand, disseminate and embrace change, the most dominant cultural and management force for the future, particularly in the area of information technology delivery , networks and digital resources.
To help St. Landry Parish build intellectual and knowledge capital.