The Webster Parish Library System has deep roots within the Doyline community that date all the way back to the 1930’s. The local library was moved to many different locations before the Town of Doyline generously allowed the library to be housed at its current location. While the existing building has served its purpose, it is time for the branch to relocate to a permanent home and one that better accommodates library users and their needs. According to Webster Parish Libraries Director, Savannah Jones, “The need for a new facility in Doyline has been on our radar for quite some time. Not only is it needed – it is necessary. If you have been to the current location, you know why. The problem was finding a suitable, new location to house a branch in the heart of the town.” The First Baptist Church of Doyline had a solution to this problem. On April 11, 2022, title work was completed, and a piece of property in the heart of the town was transferred from the church to the library system with the community’s best interest in mind. “We are beyond grateful for the support shown from the First Baptist Church of Doyline. It is evident we are two entities that both care deeply about the Doyline community,” said Jones. The Doyline Library Branch offers a wide array of services and materials to the public.
An average of 430 physical materials checkout from the branch per month by patrons, 617 people attended a program at the branch in 2021, and an estimated number of 497 patrons accessed a computer or used Wi-Fi provided by this branch in the same year. “Considering in 2019 the population count of Doyline was 734, and well over 50% of those residents have active library cards, I can accurately say that the majority of people within Doyline take advantage of their library. Those are just library card holders. You don’t have to have a library card to take advantage of the many services.” Branch Manager, Kelly Burge, is particularly ecstatic over the acquisition. “I was born and raised in the Town of Doyline and used the library as a child. I am very excited about the possibility of branch growth in the near future. When I accepted this position four years ago, I never dreamed I would love a job as much as I do this one,” said Burge. When asked about future plans for the newly acquired property, Jones stated, “We have hopes of eventually building a new branch at the location, but ultimately that decision is made by the people within the parish. We are in the process of trying to position ourselves to build without having to go out to the public for additional funds. It’s taken a lot of strategic planning for the future. As a governmental entity, we always strive to be good stewards of public funds and make decisions with the parish residents’ needs in mind. After all, this is their library system. It’s important not to forget that.” The Webster Parish Library System is the fourth oldest library system in the State of Louisiana and was created to be the ‘model’ library for others to follow. The library system operates off a millage rate voted on by parish residents every ten years that is dedicated to library services. Webster Parish Libraries is looking to get back on the ballot for a renewal in the spring of 2023.