Library Branch Manager Michelle Meche said that National Library Week was a great opportunity to showcase some of the library improvements.
One of the biggest improvements, Meche said, was the introduction of a suggestion box, for patrons to offer tips. One of those tips was for the creation of a reading area at the library.
That led to the creation of a “reading nook” for patrons in the magazine section.
Meche said that books that were too damaged or had not been checked out for decades were also weeded from the library’s collection, making more room for new material and more space for patrons.
Books in various departments, such as reference books, were clearly labeled, and the library’s Louisiana collection was moved front and center.
“We have a really extensive collection of Louisiana material, and we really wanted to showcase that,” Meche said.
The library added four children’s computers with educational games, Meche said.
The library also added a seasonal display, along with a related book display.
“The point is to have something new every time someone comes in; we don’t want to be static,” Meche said.
The upstairs children’s area was redecorated, and new seating added, creating a warm, friendly atmosphere.
Meche said that a great deal of cleaning has taken place, and former storerooms filled with junk have now been made into offices and workspace.
The library also honored two special invitees, Dee Moody and Jackie Sanders, who were part of the Eunice Women’s Club, responsible for first starting a library in Eunice.
Moody, the aunt of Eunice Mayor Claud “Rusty” Moody, joined the Eunice Women’s Club in 1952, which was at that time collecting magazines for donation to schools.
Moody said the club began collecting other materials shortly afterwards. “We started by telling people we wanted to ‘borrow’ some of their books, but really we wanted them to give them to us, and they knew what we meant,” Moody said.
Moody said the club got permission to use a room in the American Legion building as a library, and that husbands of club members built the shelves.
She said the club raised money through the sale of cookbooks and other fund raisers, and by soliciting donations.
“We went to the parish police jury, and at one point one of the police jurors told us, ‘Go back and stay in the kitchen where you belong,’” Moody recalled.
Eventually, the women’s club raised enough to have a building built, and the city gave $50 a month to hire a librarian; the first being Moody’s mother-in-law, Josephine Moody.
It was by the old city swimming pool, where the Eunice City Hall now stands, and Moody said her mother-in-law would not allow anyone to come into the library soaking wet. She would also go through the books, and “cross out” any language she found objectionable, Moody recalled.
The current library building was opened in 1973.