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Library board tables discussion to consider ending out-of-parish borrowing

Student ID cards work as a library card in Lafayette Parish.
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 23:37:58-05

The Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control has tabled the discussion to consider cutting off out-of-parish borrowing at their meeting on Monday.

On the agenda for the board's 5:15 p.m. meeting the board was scheduled to "discuss changes to the library card policy, specifically as it relates to issuing cards with borrowing privileges to non-residents of Lafayette Parish."

That item was tabled until the next meeting

One Acadia Parish family is watching that action closely. Jean Menard posted an "open letter" to the board on Facebook on Monday.

Before the meeting Menard spoke with KATC on the issue saying, "Access for information is really important and we need to make sure that anybody who wants knowledge can get that from their local library weather it's through books or using the internet on their computers. It's really important to have access to good solid information especially with so much misinformation."

Her open letter to the board is below:

"Our family has grave concerns about the item considering removing access to out of parish patrons. As current residents of Acadia parish who are avid readers and homeschoolers, we both utilize and support the Lafayette Parish Library system. We have been friends of the library for many years, and we've both donated to and made purchases from the friends' book sales. Our children often ask to visit the library for books or even to see some of their favorite librarians who have become like extended family to us," Menard wrote.

She adds that she often does her shopping in Lafayette Parish, because she makes frequent stops at the libraries there.

"I'm not sure if you'll save any money by excluding people from adjacent parishes, but I know for a fact you'll loose some great people and opportunities to the communities they serve. Without library transactions in Lafayette I'm sure I could head to Crowley or Church Point for our shopping, but I know I'll miss the safe quiet spaces to learn and the friendly staff that enrich our lives," she wrote.

"In fact it's ironic that the current Lafayette Reads Together book Haben by Haben Girma is all about advocating for accessibility; perhaps the library board members should take that book's message seriously and look for ways to be more inclusive rather than attempting to exclude people who appreciate and participate in this wonderful library system.
It's unfortunate to think a place filled with so much information would seek to discourage sharing and learning because of someone's current zipcode. I can't recall a time in my life when we as a society have needed kindness, generosity, and understanding more than we do right now," she wrote.