The Baton Rouge Library Board soon will introduce a proposal to the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council to spend $1.15 million on a North Boulevard building to house additional books, collections and more.
The Library Board unanimously voted at its Thursday meeting to ask the Metro Council for approval to buy the building at 3434 North Blvd. to use as its outreach services facility, which will house its three bookmobiles, recycled books and collections that have cyclical demand. About 15 library employees would work out of the building.
“My favorite example is we have a nice book on curling, the Olympic sport,” said Spencer Watts, library director, when explaining how the outreach center will be used. “… For three years, that book sits on the shelf, but in that fourth Olympic year, it gets checked out a few times.”
Assistant Library Director Mary Stein said the bookmobiles primarily visit preschools and retirement homes, where children and the elderly alike appreciate “the romance of the bookmobile.”
The outreach facility also would host library employee training and contain the library’s backup server.
The board tried to purchase a different building for its outreach center at the end of last year, but another bidder leased the building before the Metro Council approved the proposal to buy it.
Watts said board members are trying to get the proposal introduced at Wednesday’s Metro Council meeting.
During Thursday’s meeting, board members also passed a resolution to congratulate and thank LSU student Kurt Ristroph, who created a project to enhance access to online library materials for East Baton Rouge Parish students.
Ristroph named his project VOLUMEN, for Volunteering Our Library’s Universal Materials for Educational Needs. Elementary and middle schools will have VOLUMEN cards, which students can check out and use to access online library resources from their home computers and Internet-ready devices.
Ristroph, a chemical engineering major, recently won the 2014 Roger Hadfield Ogden Leader Award for creating the program. The Ogden Leaders Program gives money to Honors College students for independent projects that affect Louisiana.