THE HISTORY OF Jefferson Davis Parish Library
In 1967, Jefferson Davis Parish became the last of Louisiana’s 64 parishes to be approved for the establishment of the Jefferson Davis Parish Demonstration Library. This library, funded by the state and located in Jennings, would eventually include surrounding towns (some of which had individual library systems already established).
The first parish library was located at 526 North Main Street in Jennings, opening its doors on October 26, 1968. This demonstration library was successful and the parish assumed total responsibility for it the following year, assessing a millage of 2 and ½ mills. JDPL continues to be funded by a millage.
THE HISTORY OF JENNINGS LIBRARY
The Jennings Library is currently housed in what was originally the old post office, constructed in 1914.
This building remained a post office until 1976. On March 23, 1977, the old post office was purchased by the Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury at a price of $60,000. Renovations began in 1979, amounting to $100,000, and the library opened its doors at this location on September 10, 1980. In 1982, the Jennings Library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovations were completed in 2014 and again in 2019, but many of the original features remain, including the cypress and tile floors and much of the woodwork.
THE HISTORY OF Elton Library
The first library in Elton dates back to 1927 and was located on North Main Street.
Mrs. Day Farley served as the first Librarian. The current library opened its doors on September 18, 2006, with land being donated by American Bank in memory of Harold J. Callis, Chairman of Community Bancorp of Louisiana, Inc.
THE HISTORY OF Lake Arthur Library
In 1952 the Lake Arthur Library Club began building a fund to use for a library and meeting house.
Through hard work and dedication, sixteen years later the old city hall was converted into Lake Arthur’s first parish library in 1968. The building was leased from the town and renovations cost $13,000. The “new” library included a meeting and reading room, as well as central heating and air conditioning.
The current Lake Arthur building opened its doors in 2006.
THE HISTORY OF WELSH MCBURNEY LIBRARY
The Welsh Public Library began in 1929 when a group of dedicated citizens passed a tax to support the creation of a free public library for the citizens of Welsh.
A library board was created and the Welsh library opened on February 25, 1930. The state Library Commission loaned 500 volumes to the Welsh City Hall to serve as Welsh’s first public and free library. A fund was set up to pay librarian Ms. Irene Kimball and to purchase books.
In 1959, the library moved to the old home economics building. In 1968, The Welsh Library became a part of the Parish Library System. Land was donated by the Town of Welsh and Mrs. A.R. McBurney donated 40% of the building funds in honor of her late husband and her son Dr. William McBurney. The McBurney Memorial Library opened in 1973 on the corner of Sarah and Hudspeth, with plans to connect the building to a future Welsh Civic Center. The civic center did not happen, but the McBurney Library remains at this location and was renovated in 2010.