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Rapides Parish Library Celebrates 75 Years of Service
                    to the Community!

                               The Rapides Parish Library around the parish, Ferrell soon discovered there was
                               will celebrate its 75th tremendous need and support in the towns in the outermost
                               anniversary in November of reaches of the parish; all willing to financially support the creation
                               2017. Throughout the library of a parish library system.
                               system the Main Library, our

                               other five urban locations, The Citizen Soldiers

                               our four rural branches, and While strength and support was powerful in all areas of the
                               the Bookmobile will be parish, the government officials in the city of Alexandria were
                               celebrating with our less enthusiastic. The city was already financing the Alexandria
                               customers the long and Public Library and the city treasurer failed to see the need to
sometimes challenging path of the Rapides Parish Library spend a one-time payment for another library. Farrell rallied her
System and its continuing service to the community. This is troops through all levels of society and began a campaign of
the first of four installments of its 75 year journey. calls, letters, official and social visits to nearly everyone who

Introduction                                                        showed any resistance. In the end, the city of Alexandria agreed

                                                                    to $3,000 for the formation of the Demonstration Library as a

From 1909 through the 1930s, only the most affluent citizens in litmus test to measure the success of a parish public library.

the cities of Alexandria and Pineville were able to borrow books
from the Alexandria Public Library. The only way to gain access The Journey Begins

to that library was to have a guarantor vouch for a patron wishing The Demonstration Library of the Louisiana Library Commission

to borrow books.                                                    for Rapides Parish was the first all-one parish attempt and the

                                                                    largest of its size in the state. It would be open to all of Rapides
It would not be until the 1940s and the onset of the Second Parish citizens, regardless of race. The state of Louisiana set
World War, that all this would quickly change to aside $65,000 for the formation of a parish library system, with
accommodate the citizens of Rapides Parish and the outlying areas providing their amounts, set by population, to the
thousands of servicemen with their families coming to train fund. The Rapides Parish Police Jury passed a resolution of
at military camps and air force bases in central Louisiana. establishment appointing a Library Board and providing $3,000
From its very beginnings, the mission of the Rapides Parish to supplement the state budget and headquarter space in the
Library placed special emphasis on the need for an Rapides Parish Courthouse. Mrs. Roy O. Martin was elected the
all-inclusive public library.
                                                                    first President of the Board and was later a driving force in the

                                                                    establishment of the Martin Library in Pineville.

The Beginnings                                                      Each town with a library passed resolutions to provide rent-free

In 1940, Mrs. W. E. Adams of the Pineville Parent Teachers locations, shelving and furniture. In January 1942, the libraries
Association and Rev. E. C. Fletcher sent independent appeals to opened their doors to all in Rapides Parish.
the Louisiana Library Commission, the forerunner of the

Louisiana State Library, requesting the establishment of a library  Alexandria Headquarters - January 15
branch in Pineville. The Commission responded that creating a
library branch was the responsibility of the parish and not the     Pineville Branch - January 16
                                                                    Boyce Branch - January 17
Louisiana Library Commission, which was currently experiencing
budget shortages. However, if there were funding available from     Lecompte January 19
                                                                    Cheneyville January 19
the parish; the Commission would lend books upon request for a      Glenmora January 20
period of one month, with an extension possible if demand was
high.                                                               Bookmobile made its first round on January 20

By August of 1941, Sallie Ferrell, a field representative for the
Louisiana Library Commission, was sent to Rapides Parish to

evaluate the interest of the entire parish. Armed with a list of
citizens, clergymen, civic organizations, and garden clubs from Continued on page 10

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