Iberville Parish Library millage up for renewal in upcoming March 28 election

ANDREW GREEN, EDITOR
The Plaquemine Library is one of eight branches facing an eventual shutdown should the millage not be renewed. It provides resources to Iberville Parish residents year round.

On March 28, citizens of Iberville Parish will vote on a 10-year millage renewal tax to continue operations for the Iberville Parish Library system.

The millage renewal tax counts for over 90 percent of the Iberville Library system’s budget.  “It’s used for maintaining eight libraries in our Parish,” Dannie Ball, Iberville Library Director said.  “We use it to keep and train good people, and buying materials.  It’s very important for everyone to know that the taxes will not increase.”  Ball also warns of what would happen to the Library system if the renewal tax does not successfully get voted on.

“It would lead to a complete shut down,” Ball said.  “Saying that you don’t need a librarian because you have the Internet is like saying because you have a calculator, you don’t need a math teacher.”

Ball and his team have adjusted as society advances further into the technology age.  “We help people utilize not just the Internet, but we offer Microsoft Office and we have programs that people use to do their taxes,” Ball said.  “There are definite changes, and there are changes where we put our money.  We’re putting more funds into electronic books that you can download onto your phone, your computer, or Kindle, but I still think it’s very important to have the library.  People say they can get what they can off of their computer at home, but if their computer breaks down they can come here.”

The library system serves as a way for helping people cope with the endless forward march towards newer technology, Ball says.  Residents frequent the computer system at the library to apply for jobs and even receive their paychecks from certain businesses.  The library also provides tax forms during the ever-busy tax season.  Patrons of the library value its existence and some use it every day.

“This library is worth several thousands of dollars a year to me,” Jim Comer, a frequent patron of the library said.  “I use the computers, encyclopedias, copy machine and fax machine.  If I didn’t have this library I would probably have to spend five to six thousands of dollars a year.  Using the library is a good investment, not only for young people, but people of all ages.”

“So far we’ve had unique services to offer,” Ball said, “and I don’t see that changing.”  Citizens of Plaquemine and special clubs, such as the Plaquemine Garden Club, also use the library meeting rooms for their meetings.

As part of the 10-year millage renewal tax, the library offers annual summer programs for local children and students that include theatre groups, musicians and summer reading programs.  “It’s a fun time of year,” Ball said.  “It’s a good time when we invite kids and families to enjoy reading.”

Supporters of the library have recently been placing signs in front yards to raise awareness in the upcoming election.  Ball encourages all to use the local library as much as possible.  “Come use your library, it’s a way to save money,” Ball said,  “We hope you think it’s as important as we do.  Please get out and exercise your right to vote.”