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Library closed indefinitely

Caleb Daniel
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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The Lincoln Parish Library has closed its doors until further notice, effective Wednesday afternoon.

The library announced in a press release Wednesday that with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control that self-isolation and social distancingbe practiced in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the Board of Control determined closing the library was the “prudent thing to do.”

“I believe that libraries are essential services that should always be available to the public; however, the health of our staff is just as important as the services,” library Director Vivian McCain said. “It breaks my heart to see the doors closed,” McCain said.

The move comes just days after the library announced reduced hours and the closure of many of its services.

During the unspecified downtime, library staff will be answering patron questions via email at jbolom@mylpl. org or vmccain@mylpl. org. No fines on items currently checked out will be charged, though books may still be returned in the book drop.

The library has also set up 24-hour WiFi access in its parking lot for public use. Patrons are encouraged to utilize the library’s e-resources such as Hoopla, Overdrive and Freegal. Anyone who needs help using these services can email library staff.

Property tax renewal

Meanwhile, the Lin-coln Parish Police Jury is scheduled to vote on April 14 on calling an election to renew the 10-year ad valorem tax that funds the library, and McCain said Tuesday that the Board of Control will recommend the jury put the previous 5.99-mill rate on the ballot.

McCain canceled the board’s monthly meeting, previously scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, late Tuesday afternoon at board chair Augusta Clark’s behest due to coronavirus concerns.

The board had been scheduled to discuss the millage renewal and decide on a recommendation to make to the police jury ahead of its April meeting, when it is slated to call for the tax election to be placed on the Nov. 3 ballot.

McCain said the library will recommend that the police jury ask for a renewal at the same 5.99-mill rate that voters last approved in 2010. Since the library board does not actually call for the election itself, and since the recommended rate is the same as before, McCain said the board does not need to officially vote to make the recommendation.

The ad valorem tax makes up the largest portion of the library’s $2.4 million budget. While passed by voters in 2010 at 5.99 mills, the police jury has since lowered the rate multiple times to reduce the library’s burgeoning fund balance. The jury then rolled the rate back up from 3.2 to 4.65 mills for 2019.

The police jury will consider approving a resolution that would place the tax renewal on the Nov. 3 ballot at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. April 14.