An election to renew funding of the Webster Parish Library — at the same rate as 10 years ago — will be held Saturday, May 3.
The millage to be renewed for another 10 years is the major source of funding for the library, director Beverly Hammett said.
"Libraries change lives," Hammett said. "We know this firsthand because every week people tell us how the library's resources have impacted them. Some of the stories are funny, and some are poignant, but all demonstrate that investing tax dollars in the library generates a rich return in the quality of life for many Webster Parish citizens."
"This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Webster Parish Library System," Hammett said, "but without local tax dollars which make up 98 percent of the library's operating budget, this proud tradition cannot continue."
Lyda Madden, president of the Webster Parish Library board said the tax renewal is essential. "Without the support of the citizens, the lights will go out and the doors will close.
"Our patrons of all ages read books, take home DVDs and use the computers for research and reaching out through email connecting with the world. Little ones' lives are enriched as they learn the value of reading through story time and a wide selection of children's books. There is something for everyone," she said.
"The library near you in Doyline, Cotton Valley, Heflin, Sarepta, Sibley, Springhill or Minden has a fax machine, a copy machine, computers and free Wi-Fi. Staff is available to assist in research and to teach technology so important in today's world."
In 2013, more than 300,000 items were checked out by patrons at the seven branches of the Webster Parish Library, according to library staff. In addition, 8,390 electronic media (books, audiobooks, and music) were checked out.
More than 200,000 visits were made to the seven branches and attendance at special programs for teens and adults and children totaled 9,085.
The Webster Parish Library also offers reference services (patrons have free access to certain subscription-only services, such as ancestry.com, Overdrive e-books and Freegal music); interlibrary loan where books from any library in the United States can be borrowed; free computers, free Wi-Fi; copying, faxing and scanning for a fee; and laptops for check-out. In addition, librarians can help patrons set up devices such as iPads. The Minden branch even has an electric typewriter for use by patrons.
Additional information is available at www.websterparishlibrary.org.
Early voting will be held Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the registrar of voters in the Webster Parish Courthouse.
Polls open at 7 a.m., Saturday, May 3. Voters will cast their ballots at their normal precincts.