Library History


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Livingston Parish Library was legally established by the Police Jury in 1946 as a demonstration library of the Louisiana State Library. The first library was located in the Livingston Parish Courthouse and opened its doors December 16, 1946. The first Parish Librarian was Annie S. Cowart with Louise Risley as Assistant. Both were graduates of the Louisiana State University School of Library Science.

Click here to read the official Narrative Report of the founding of the library.

Several Directors have served since 1946, including Mrs. Cowart, Willie Mae Seab, Odile Gill, Betty Dance, Marcia Perkins, Iva Ginn, J. G. Sibley, Austin Higginbotham, Eula Fontenot, Odelia Salassi, Allen Cunningham, and Wendy Bobo. Giovanni Tairov is the current director.

The current Library Board of Control completed a major building program for the library system, authorizing the construction of four new facilities to serve as regional branches in 2005. Those new facilities, completed in 2007, continue to see a tremendous amount of usage. Some branches have up to 900 visitors on a busy day.

The following branches are in operation today: Livingston Branch (Main), Denham Springs-Walker, Watson, Albany-Springfield, and South.

Much of the success and growth of the Livingston Parish Library system can be attributed to retired director Allen Cunningham and retired assistant director Alex Kropog as well as the Library Board of Control for their dedication to providing quality services and programming to the people of Livingston Parish. Along with the current Library Board, the current director and assistant director are working to continue that dedication to the growth and improvement of the public library system. The success of the Livingston Parish Library is directly connected to the citizens of Livingston Parish who, through their continued support of the library system as it grows and develops, have helped to make it into an award-winning system.

The Livingston Parish Library Board, administration and staff would like to say thank you to all of the people of Livingston Parish for their love and support of libraries, reading and learning.

Library Timeline

December 16, 1946

Library system is established with Livingston and Denham Springs branches and a collection of 6,000 new books; Other branches open shortly thereafter in Whitehall, Watson, Albany, Walker, Springfield, Fourth Ward, Maurepas, French Settlement, Holden and Killian. Livingston Parish is recognized as the 24th parish in the state to establish parish-wide library services.

The first librarian was Annie S. Cowart with Louise Risley as assistant. The original board was Mrs. Kerny Smart, H.R. Reeves, Mrs. B.L. Kinchen, Mrs. Winnie Lee Cullom and J.C. Hutchinson.

May 3, 1947

The first story hour begins at the Livingston Branch.

May 28, 1947

The first bookmobile arrives in Livingston Parish; The first unit the State Library had purchased since WWII, it had four routes and eventually replaced the Fourth Ward Branch.

September 30, 1947

Voters pass a 3-mill property tax to fund the fledgling library system with 435 votes for and only 59 against. In the first seven months of 1947, approximately 2,250 Livingston Parish citizens borrowed over 26,500 books. There are more than 7,500 books in the library’s collection.

September 1, 1951

Betty Dance is temporarily placed as director by the State Library

January 10, 1952

Marcia W. Perkins is hired as director.

October 1, 1953

Livingston Parish requires patrons to begin using personal library cards to check out materials.

February 11, 1954

Patrons of the Denham Springs Branch can now request books, renew borrowed materials and ask reference questions over the phone.

September 15, 1955

Mr. J.G. Sibley is hired as director.

July 29, 1958

Iva W. Ginn is hired as director.

July 21, 1958

Mr. J.G. Sibley is hired as director.

July 1, 1962

Austin Higginbotham is hired as director

April 4, 1964

Eula Fontenot is hired as director.

1970

The Library Board authorized Harold Abels to build the first Livingston Parish building designed specifically to be a library. The building, with 320 square feet and standard shelving, was completed in 1971 and became the Springfield Branch Library.

1976

The bookmobile was retired. Ten branches remained open and the branch librarians made plans to hand-deliver books to shut-ins.

December 12, 1979

Odelia Salassi is hired as director.

March 9, 1989

The Livingston Parish Police Jury receives legislative approval to use part of a parish property tax to build a new main library in Livingston.

September 1989

Allen Cunningham is hired as director.

April 19, 1990

The Library begins computerizing its card catalogs.

April 29, 1995

Voters pass a 10-mill property tax to fund the library system adjusting for rising inflation. Part goes to operate and maintain the eight existing branches.

December 1995

Main Branch at Livingston opens, establishing a permanent headquarters for the library system. The Livingston branch moves from its original location at the parish courthouse.

July 30, 2000

Livingston allows 24-hour online access to all libraries and databases through Louisiana Library Connection.

July 2001

Planning committee recommends building four new branches through a $8.9 million bond issue

November 17, 2001

The bond issue fails at the polls by 306 votes. Only about 5% of registered parish voters turned up at the polls, where the proposal was the only item on the ballot.

February 27, 2003

Branches upgrade website and computers to allow residents to check their records and recheck-out books from home.

October 4, 2003

A slightly altered $8.9 million bond issue passes with 57% of the vote. The 15,224 ballots in favor of the tax far exceeded the 2,900 voters who rejected it in 2001.

May 12, 2005

A groundbreaking ceremony starts construction on the new Denham Springs-Walker Branch.

August 4, 2005

A groundbreaking ceremony starts construction on the new Watson Branch.

September 8, 2005

A groundbreaking ceremony starts construction on the new Albany-Springfield Branch.

December 7, 2005

A groundbreaking starts construction on the new South Branch.

December 1, 2006

Denham Springs-Walker Branch opens.

January 30, 2007

Albany-Springfield Branch opens.

April 12, 2007

Watson Branch opens.

June 13, 2007

South Branch opens, consolidating branches in Killian and French Settlement.

February 1, 2008

Wendy Bobo is hired as director.

March 1, 2010

Giovanni Tairov is hired as director.

January 14, 2011

Library breaks ground on new Main Branch at Livingston.

June 1, 2012

New Main Branch grand opening.

December 1, 2012

Library Administration Building opens, housing the behind-the-scenes functions of the library system.