It is the mission of the Evangeline Parish Library to provide informational, cultural, educational, and recreational materials to the people of Evangeline Parish.Although the Library places an emphasis on the selection of books and other print materials, it also acquires appropriate audio and visual media, as well as electronic resources.
The Evangeline Parish Library is the local center for continuing self-education and can provide assistance to students at all levels. The Library strives to maintain an active collection, meeting current and foreseeable needs.
History of the Library
The Library began June 27, 1940, when a group of Ville Platte citizens met in the Knights of Columbus hall and voted to set up a subscription library in the hall. Initial prices to subscribe to the library were one dollar a year or ten cents a month or one penny a day. To give you an idea of the significance of the amounts, in 1940 Ville Platte Gazette ads offered new ladies’ suede coats for $1.50, and new men’s coveralls for 35 cents each.
The Library officially was founded as a part of parish (i.e., county) government in 1948, and from then on it has been funded by parish ad valorem property taxes rather than subscriptions. Many library board members, library directors, and staff have worked throughout the years to provide quality services to this parish. (See parish ordinance of 8-13-45 and resolution of 7-12-48.)
Board members are appointed by the police jury (similar to a county council), and the library board hires the system director.
Currently (September 2014) the staff consists of twenty-one full and part-time employees, who operate and administer the system and the six facilities. The library system runs with a total operating budget of about one million dollars, which must stretch to cover all facility needs and all debt service. The bulk of library funding comes from ad valorem property taxes. Other sources of funding are grants, Erate reimbursements, state aid (when available), donations, and fines and fees.
From 2004 through 2008 the Mamou and Basile branches were renovated, the Pine Prairie branch enlarged, and the Turkey Creek branch built. All of the debt from these projects was paid off nearly three years early (with a significant interest saving!).
We have just moved from our former main library, a 6,200 sq. ft. three-level former post office building constructed in 1937. Our new location is 916 W. Main, Ville Platte. The new building is about 9,100 sq. ft. under cover. We are particularly proud that this was a locally funded project. The new building opened to the public on Sept. 22, 2014 and has its grand opening/building dedication scheduled for Friday morning Sept. 26th. This will be followed by a special family fun morning on Sat. Sept. 27th.