South Bossier to get new library

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A new library is on the books for the southern part of Bossier Parish.

Bids are currently out for a multimillion dollar project in the Koran area to expand the public library into a community centered structure. Heather McEntree, Director of Bossier Parish Libraries, said the idea for a new library has come up for years now, but it all depended on finding the right piece of land.

“We’ve known for several years that there has been a need for a permanent building. They are running out of room in the trailer they have down there now and it’s only open one day a week,” she said. “Last year, a family came to us and said they would like to donate it for the new library.”

The land was donated by Bossier Parish Police Jury District 1 representative Bob Brotherton and his sisters, Gaye Ogletree and Cynthia Brotherton; brother, Mark Brotherton; and cousins, Nick Tooke and Diane Blanchard.

“We got together and decided since they were looking for property for a new library in south Bossier that we would do that,” Bob Brotherton said. “The family owns about 1,000 acres down here in the Koran area and we talked our mother into donating a piece of it.”

The new library will be located on family farmland and named after their grandmother, Anna P. Tooke. The significance of its new name goes back many, many years.

“My grandmother was an educator in Bossier Parish for 36 years,” Brotherton said, adding that she taught library science, literature and English at Haughton High School. “It was only fitting to name the library after her, in her memory, on the family property.”

In the process of finalizing the land donation, Brotherton said their mother, Elizabeth Ann Tooke Roach, fell ill and he urged parish officials to move forward with the paperwork as quick as they could. Elizabeth went into a coma the day Brotherton had the papers in hand for her to sign.

Sadly, she never recovered and passed away a few days later. It took six months to get the donation finalized and architectural designs going.

Brotherton described the new facility as not just a library, but a community center.

“It’s going to be a beautiful building. It really is,” Brotherton said. “It’s going to have a picnic area and walking trails that go around the property. It’s right on a treeline and will sit next to an open pasture. It will have a lot of glass that makes it seem like it blends into nature.”

Along with the scenic landscape, the library will have more space to add a section for children and teens as well as a computer lab. The goal, McEntee said, is to open the library more days than its current one day opening.

“We want to do so much more for the people who live there,” she said.

Brotherton hopes to see the new building used as a place to hold community meetings and possibly a voting center in the future.

“We’ve got a lot of plans for that library and I hope the citizens down there are going to embrace it and use it,” he said. “Our hope is that the library will serve as a place for people to not only visit, but a place they can enjoy as a community.”