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Independence Branch Library, other branches, on director's wish list

The Ponchatoula Times of Ponchatoula, Louisiana

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Times Report

Library Director Barry Bradford told members of the Ponchatoula Rotary Club his plans for the new Ponchatoula Branch Library, and for new library construction and improvements parishwide.

The new Ponchatoula branch would double the size of the current branch, from 700 square feet to 1400, with plans to include a computer lab and "outdoor space," hopefully including a movie theatre like the one planned for the new Kentwood Branch Library.

Ponchatoula First Lady Kim Zabbia is eyeing a nearby piece of land near the Community Center and the Ponchatoula Branch Library to expand her Kiwanis Park-based inaugural Wellness Plaza to a second location. The first one in Kiwanis Park is set to open next month.

Bradford takes a wide view of libraries, first as a place for children, then as a gathering place for citizens and their groups. And he is expansive and modern as to what constitutes a "book."

"There is still a place in the world for printed books," Bradford scarily (for traditional readers) assured the Rotarians, quickly adding, "We have E-books too." He of course referred to the computer books that are all the rage among the young, and the aging hipsters.

"At this time 1400 to 1500 E-books are being checked out every month

The new branch libraries will soon make rooms available for two hours at a time at no charge for groups of citizens: conference rooms, quiet rooms, computer labs, and his personal favorite of the special rooms, a Children's Room, which Bradford said should be the largest room in a library.

Bradford hopes for new branch libraries in Ponchatoula, Hammond, Loranger, already has one in Amite, has plans for a new 6,000 square foot Kentwood branch (including an outdoor movie theatre in a town that has none) and he says he wants to expand the Independence branch library.

None of this has been presented to voters, outside this article, but of all government functions, the libraries are arguably the most popular, and stand a good chance of citizen approval. Bradford said he is determined to complete the expansion without plunging the library system into debt.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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