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About the Library

Known today as one of the best libraries in the state of Louisiana, Ouachita Parish Public Library began modestly in a one-room building with a budget of $50.00 per month. It has evolved into a ten branch system with a $4.5 million budget. Such phenomenal growth in only 84 years required hard work and diligence by the library staff.

The first mention of a library in Monroe was in late 1884. A letter to the editor of the Monroe Bulletin (August 27, 1884) from Mr. Ralph H. Prosser relates the progress of the Public Library Association:

"In the middle of last April, a meeting of the Board of Directors was held at the office of Messrs. Millsaps & Sholars, Mr. Franklin Garrett presided. At this meeting, among other committees, one was appointed, of which I was chairman, to solicit contributions for repairs of the building and the necessary preparation of it for books."

It was reported that $125 had been raised in subscriptions, of which $25 was paid to Judge Gunby for furniture. It was also reported that $200 was needed to buy books, repair the building and buy shelves. We can find no more mention of the library until 1913.

In early 1913, the Twentieth Century Book Club issued invitations to various clubs and organizations to meet for the "purpose of obtaining a public library." An association was formed to study the matter and on May 12, 1913, the Library Association met with a large number present. The main accomplishment of this meeting was to establish the fact that a library was needed and desired by the citizens of Monroe. No records of further action by this particular association have been found.

Judge A.A. Gunby was so interested in the library movement that he searched the archives of the City in 1915, and found the will of Mrs. Louise L. McGuire, who had bequeathed to Monroe a little one-room building on Wood Street, opposite the Court House, with the "hope" that it would someday be used for a library. The building had been used for storage and to store coal, so it needed lots of repairs. Charter memberships were solicited and the building was repaired. A book shower was held and citizens were asked to bring books or money for the new library. Now all that remained was to hire a librarian to manage the library.

Holiday Closing Schedule

New Year   Friday, January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day   Monday, January 18
Easter   Close at 5 p.m. - Thursday, March 24
    Friday, March 25
    Saturday, March 26
    Sunday, March 27
Mother's Day   Sunday, May 8
Memorial Day   Monday, May 30
Father's Day   Sunday, June 19
Independence Day   Monday, July 4
Labor Day   Monday, September 5
Staff In-Service Day   Wednesday, September 28
Pumpkin Bash (All branches closed except the Main branch)   Saturday, October 22
Thanksgiving   Close at 5 p.m. - Wednesday, November 23
    Thursday, November 24
    Friday, November 25
Christmas   Close at 5 p.m. - Thursday, December 22
    Friday, December 23
    Saturday, December 24
    Sunday, December 25
    Monday, December 26
New Year's Eve   Close at 5 p.m. - Thursday December 29
    Friday, December 30
    Saturday, December 31
New Year   Sunday, January 1
    Monday, January 2
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day   Monday, January 16


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