The East Baton Rouge Parish Library Board has unanimously agreed to hire site consultant Leotta-Evers Consulting, LLC. to help it find a location for the long-awaited south branch library.

Owner Victor Leotta said his firm will run site evaluations and submit a report with multiple options back to the board within 10 to 15 business days.

"Ultimately, we want to make sure that the library will be as effective as possible," he said.

Discussions on an estimated $6 million new branch for the growing south Baton Rouge area have waged for at least six years. After talks fell through on two different sites last year, the board restarted the process of evaluating potential locations. In December, board members decided to hire a consulting firm to assist with the process.

Leo LLC was picked Thursday out of four businesses that had submitted proposals. The firm will be paid $15,000 for the work.

Board members expressed some concern over spending money to hire an outside firm, but eventually agreed that the contract would be worth the expense if it meant moving the process forward.

"I don't want to waste money - even a penny - or appear to waste money - even a penny, but this is such a small, small part of the $6 million budget," board member Chip Boyles said.