Beauregard Parish Library celebrating 75 years

Published 10:00 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Beauregard Parish Library is honoring its 75th anniversary in 2022 with a year-long celebration, and festivities are set to begin this Saturday, Jan. 15.

This week, leading up to Saturday all branch locations will be having a scavenger hunt and accepting raffle drawing entries.

On Saturday, at the library’s downtown DeRidder headquarters at 205 S. Washington Ave., a full schedule of presentations and activities will be offered to visitors from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Library Director Erin Chesnutt said those features will include brief introductory-level chats on genealogy with library staff, winter gardening tips from LSU Ag Center’s Keith Hawkins, and painting for fun with artist Ramona Lambert.

A story time special for children by library staff will be offered at 10:30 a.m., and music from Beauregard Parish’s own 2019 State Fiddle Champion Ron Yule and his friends will begin at noon to wrap up the day’s celebrations.

Throughout Saturday’s activities, DeRidder’s library staff will have a green screen set up that, through a partnership with the Beauregard Museum and members of the Scalfi family, will allow visitors the one-of-a-kind chance to photograph themselves in historical Beauregard Parish locations of the past.

The DeRidder branch first opened its doors in 1947 as a small three-room operation within the War Memorial Civic Center. It has now grown to a parish-wide system with over 276,000 items in its collection.

The library has also expanded its operations throughout the parish, with additional branches placed in the Merryville and Fields communities. A new, larger facility is currently under renovation for the Singer branch, and the Library Board expects to advertise for bids to construct a new east Beauregard branch within the next month, according to Chesnutt.

After those capital projects, Chesnutt said the Board hopes to build a new branch in the south Beauregard community to replace its current location in Ragley.

Chesnutt has been a part of the Beauregard Parish Library since 2005, and Director of the library since 2011. She said this year’s milestone celebration is especially important to all library staff.

“To celebrate this milestone anniversary in a year when so many other projects are coming to fruition makes it extra special for me. It truly extends the list of things we’ll be celebrating all year long,” Chesnutt stated.

In addition to the expansions, the library will be rolling out a new early literacy program and will be debuting its new Diamond Book Club, which encourages readers to complete 75 books in 2022. Those that do will receive limited-edition anniversary prizes as they progress toward their goal.