Lafayette's Library System

Residents will vote on a tax renewal that could determine the fate of libraries.

Posted: Nov 13, 2021 3:52 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2021 3:57 PM

LAFAYETTE, La. - This weekend Lafayette parish voters will hold the future of Lafayette libraries in thier hands when they go to vote on the renewal of a property tax that has become quite a big deal.

Essentially the issue is that the Lafayette Public Library System relies on two seperate property taxes to fund itself. One of those is up for renewal and generates just over $4million dollars. Some residents in Lafayette don't want that to happen.

Libraries, they house centuries of history and information that keep the public informed and up to date. So why is there a petition to vote against a renewal that funds them?

"The residents of the Northeast side of the parish," said Williams. 

Resident in Lafayette say they're against the renewal because they want a library for the black community.

"Unfair, because we deserve to have those resoucres, we deserve to have fair education, we deserve so many different things. To be honest a library is really the start of that process," said Butler. 

Former Lafayette Councilman Dr. Chris Williams says there is an unused $8 million dollars being set aside by former councilman Kenneth Boudreaux.

"We can correct the wrong, it's not a budgetary issue, the money is in the bank," said Williams. 

That money would ensure the Northeast side of Lafaytte would get a library.

"All of the other areas of the city of Lafayette parish have a library, this is one area that was left out," said Williams. 

"It's no reason for a community not to have a library, not to have a place to study, a place to convene as people. Without a library, without a concious space, it's just like what are we doing? What year is it?" said Sabre. 

The one issue with those opposing this proposition is that voting against the renewal will hurt students in Lafayette parish who already rely on those libraries for their studies. Those in favor say contradiciting point of views like this one is why it's important that people get out and vote this Saturday.

"We're talking about school systems, were talking about municipal systems, city councils, parish councils and many times we are under represented in these councils. In these places of decison making power," said Ho- Sang. 

If the tax is not renewed then two or more libraries in our parish stand to close. If the tax is renewed the library system will have to make some tough choices on how to go about getting the Northside a library. 

Now that decision will be left up to the library's appointed board of control and the parish council. If you would like to vote on this matter you can do so this saturday from 7 am to 8 pm at Registrar of Voters, Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center or East Regional Library.

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