Informed Librarian Online -- Featured Library --

Vernon Parish Library, Leesville, Louisiana
by Howard L. Coy Jr., Director

Vernon Parish Library

The Vernon Parish Library was established in 1956 as a pilot library by the Louisiana State Library. It's first location was in a room in the basement of the Vernon Parish Courthouse. In 1958, they moved into a new building located on the Courthouse grounds. In 1995, the Library moved to our current location. Located on 2.61 acres, the new building is a 20,000 sq. ft. and is 4 1/2 time the size of the old building. The Library System consists of the main branch and two branches and one Mobile Branch. An electronic sign was recently acquired for promoting programs and services.

The Mobile Branch (bookmobile) was purchased in 2012. It contains the usual books, Audio-Books, CD's, DVD's, and Magazines. It also has two public use laptops connected to the Internet, a color copier/scanner/printer. The unit makes community stops in each of the towns in the parish, as well as serving area nursing homes and Senior Centers. The Mobile Branch Dept. also offers Books-by-Mail for shut-ins. This free service offers library materials for those individuals that are shut-in most of the time, whether it be for a brief period of time, or long-term. Patrons have to submit a form with a doctor's signature to qualify. Materials are placed in a bag, with a pre-addressed, postage paid return mailing label for return to the Library. Patrons can request specific items, or suggest areas of interest with the Library staff making the selections.

The Library offers many programs and services. It was the first public library in Louisiana to offer a color photocopier, 800-toll-free telephone number and circulate Fishing Rods and Reels. These Fishing Rods and reels were purchased with funds from civic organization and a grant from Wal-Mart.

The Library is a Federal and State Depository Library. It is one of two public libraries in the state to be a Federal Depository Library, with a collection of 17.16%. All documents are inter-shelved with the regular collection, using the Dewey Decimal System. All documents are cataloged the day they arrive, and on the shelves within 5 days.

The Library has an active Archive Collection. All items in the Archives are stored in acid-free containers in a humidity/temperature controlled room. The collection includes a large collection of school yearbooks, and local history. Some of the local history items include materials about local schools, churches, New Llano Cooperative Colony, Fort Polk Military base and Funeral Programs. One special collection is a collection of first student photographs kept by one teacher. Some of the items have been copied and copies are made available for the public to purchase. As part of making items from the Archives easily available to the public, the Library has a Flickr webpage with over 14,500 photographs arranged in folders, and most individuals identified and tags added. This collection receives an average of 35,325 hits a month.

The Library has a well used genealogical collection. The collection consists of local records, including Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, local Genealogical Society journal, which the Library has indexed, cemetery records. The collection includes photographs of most of the cemetery tombstones in the parish.



Disney Collection Claude “Buddy” Leach Children's Wing
The Claude “Buddy” Leach Children's Wing, is so named because of a gift made in Mr. Leach's honor on his birthday by his wife. Only interest from the money is used to help purchase materials for the collection. A local motorcycle club, hosts a run every year and the proceeds are donated to the Children's wing as a memorial for one of their members.


Claude "Buddy" Leach Plaque Smart Table
The room includes the usual books and audio-visuals for loan. It also includes a Smart Table, and Early Learning Literacy Computer. The collection also includes 20 LaunchPad Tablets with games and activities for checkout. The Children's Librarian offers free tutoring on the use of tablets and the Library's collections for adults.
Preschool storytimes are held each Wednesday morning, and during the summer, storytimes and summer reading programs. Hunter Safety classes are held each summer, in cooperation with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Dept.

The Library has a meeting room that seats 100 with full kitchen facilities available for use by local groups. It is used an average of 34 times a month. The Library also offers various programs throughout the year, including author programs and computer training classes. The library also has two small Study Rooms available.
One of two Study rooms

Computers, Adult non-fiction, Reference/Genealogy
Seven computers are set up in the reference area for “serious” use. They can be used to access .org, .edu and .gov sites, as well as Library databases. The Library has Genealogy databases, as well as Lexis-Nexis. We have 10 additional public access computers. A KIC scanner is available for public use. The Library has 20 laptops for use inside the library, using our WiFi network. The Library has two machines for handicapped used. These machines enlarge print for visually impaired patrons, or read to the patron that is blind.

The Library is a part of Libraries Southwest regional Library organization. We offer a Libraries
Southwest Library card which can be used at 5 other member libraries. The Organization also offers OverDrive for our patrons.



Archives upstairs, Computer Game collection Circulation Desk
The Library has a collection of computer games for children and adults. Also included are the usual Large Print books, magazines, DVD's, audiobooks for adults and children, book/CD's for children, Genealogy, Reference, Microfilm/fiche, computer tablets for children and two Kindles. Library materials are selected and ordered within two days of receiving the reviewing journals, cataloged the same day they arrive, processed and on the shelves within 5 days. The same applies for State and Federal documents.

We offer all of the Library's collection of newspapers online, up through 2016. They are searchable. Other databases are Lexis-Nexis, TumbleBooks for Children, Legal forms, Chilton's Auto Repair Database, Zinio Magazines, Freegal, Hoopla, Atomic Training, Heritage Quest, Ancestry, World Book, Artists Works and several through the La. State Library statewide database system.

Copyright 2017 by Howard L. Coy Jr.

About the author:
Howard L. Coy Jr. is the director of the Vernon Parish Library for the past 34 years. Current activities include serving on the local Volunteer Fire Dept. Board and Treasurer, Treasurer and Board member of a local low-income Senior Apartments. He has been active in state and regional library organizations and various local community organizations. He is the recipient of the Charles E. Dunbar La. Civil Service Award, La. Library Association's Modisette award for School Libraries, and LLA's Meritorious Service Award.

Vernon Parish Library, 1401 Nolan Trace, Leesville, LA 71446, phone number 337-239-2027 or 800-737-2231; Email:; URL: