Friday, June 21, 2024

Bossier Parish Library System Seeks Millage Renewal on April Ballot

by Stacey Tinsley
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By Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune

Bossier Parish voters will decide on April 27, 2024, whether to renew a millage supporting a network of seven library branches and a history center.

The proposed millage would continue to levy a special tax of 7.43 mills on all taxable property within the parish. It is estimated to generate approximately $9,513,500 per year. This renewal would span ten years, from 2026 to 2035, funding the acquisition, construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance, and operation of the public library facilities and system in the parish.

If approved with a “yes” vote, the cost would be 7.43 mills ($9,513,500) for ten years (2026 – 2035). For instance, the calculation for a property assessed at $10,000, with a homestead exemption of $7,500, would be as follows: 10,000 – 7,500 = 2,500. One-tenth of one cent equals 1 mill, so 0.00734 x 2,500 = $18.58.

Since the last millage renewal in 2015, which was set at 7.57 mills, the Bossier Parish Library system has achieved significant developments, including opening the Anna P. Tooke Branch in Elm Grove, replacing the part-time Koran Branch; introducing Curbside Pickup Services; eliminating fines; expanding physical and digital collections; introducing Student eCards; renovating the Aulds, East 80, Haughton, and Plain Dealing Branches; and inaugurating the new Bossier Parish Library Central Complex.

Libraries play a crucial role in local communities by providing access to information and resources, supporting literacy and education, promoting lifelong learning, and serving as community gathering spaces. Therefore, the importance of libraries is experienced by all community members.

If the millage renewal receives a “yes” vote, the Bossier Parish Library system will be able to complete the new History Center exhibit space, construct the new Haughton Branch, expand their Library of Things, and continue serving the community.

Listed below are the 2023 Bossier Parish Library statistics:

  • Circulation: 502,376
  • eCirculations: 239,994
  • New Cards: 4,996
  • Student Cards: 22,755
  • Reference Questions: 10,586
  • Databases: 67,448
  • Computer Use: 26,770
  • Laptop Checkouts: 44
  • WiFi Use: 7,731
  • Library Visits: 274,878
  • Programs: 2,482
  • Attendance: 48,126
  • Curbside Pickups: 148
  • Meeting Room Usage: 938
  • Homebound Checkouts: 2,245

The Bossier Parish Library System was initially proposed by the PTA of Bossier High School in 1940. The Bossier Parish Police Jury approved the formation of the Library on a “demonstration” basis, funded by the State Library of Louisiana for one year. At the end of that period, in June 1941, the Police Jury sanctioned the library on a permanent basis with the passage of a one-half millage sustaining tax. The first branches were located in Bossier City, Haughton, Plain Dealing, and the parish seat, Benton. The agreement between the Parish and the State Library included the provision of all books in the Parish Library’s possession, as well as a bookmobile and other equipment. Parish tax revenues were allocated to maintain and expand library services.

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