History of the Library
The Beauregard Parish Public Library held its 50th Anniversary Celebration on December 11, 1997, exactly 50 years to the day after the original grand opening of the Library when these words were spoken by Mr. Lee Nichols, Secretary Treasurer of the Police Jury and one of the first Board Members. Although the night was windy and cold, 193 people including local government officials and out-of-town visitors joined Administrative Librarian, Lilly F. Smith, as she lit the 50th anniversary candle officially marking the occasion.
The efforts of the Citizens Library Movement of Beauregard Parish resulted in the Police Jury passing an ordinance establishing a parish public library on July 10, 1945. Ladies of this group collected 25 cent donations from businesses and individuals to fund the initial expenses. Library service began on December 11, 1947, when the Louisiana State Library opened a demonstration library in three rooms of the War Memorial Civic Center.
Merryville Branch opened on December 16, 1947 and Carver Branch opened on April 2, 1948. The bookmobile, a Willys 1947 model truck arrived December 31, 1947 and began with five routes reaching communities in rural areas of the Parish.
The success of the Demonstration Library is evidenced by the passage of a special two mill tax for a period of ten years after only six months of library service. The Headquarters/DeRidder Branch remained in the War Memorial Civic Center until May 30, 1953, when Open House was held in a renovated building at 205 South Washington Avenue.
Carver Branch, located in Carver School, was phased out in 1969 after a school library had been established.
The Library continued to grow in circulation, borrowers, services, and acquisitions. By 1970 it became apparent that a larger, more modern library was needed. On December 1, 1973, the citizens of the Parish passed a one-mill tax for construction of a new headquarters building and an additional one-mill tax for maintenance. An LSCA grant provided $125,000 in federal funds for the new building.
The Library was housed, temporarily, at 202 North Division while the new facility was under construction. The ground breaking ceremony was held on September 19, 1974, with the doors of the 11,600 square foot facility opening on December 27, 1975.