A sign on the door the Eunice Library on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Myra Miller)
Jack Burson, who served 24 years as alderman at-large and eight years on the Opelousas-Eunice Library Board, said the Eunice Library can forge relationships with the Acadia Parish and LSUE libraries.
Library breakup approved
Patrons to the Eunice Library Wednesday morning were greeted with a notice on the door that the library was closed “... due to City Council & Mayor’s decision. We will gladly fill your library needs in Opelousas until 8-1-19.”
Eunice Mayor Scott Fontenot said the decision to close the Eunice Library came from the Opelousas Library office and he is looking into the situation.
Someone is “playing games,” he said and added, the city owns the building.
Eunice aldermen on Tuesday approved measures to split off from the Opelousas-Eunice Library and restore an independent city-operated library in Eunice.
Fontenot has maintained the city can operate a Eunice Library more efficiently than the Opelousas-Eunice Library, which was established in 1967.
The city sends $154,000 to the Opelousas-Eunice Public Library, he said, but the city of Eunice pays the utilities, janitorial services and supplies for the library in Eunice.
The money Eunice sends to the library system is used to pay the utility and janitorial costs for the library in Opelousas, he said.
“For quite some time we’ve had problems getting actual numbers on what this money was being spent on,” Fontenot said.
In public comments at Tuesday’s meeting, Trudy Patterson, who said she had been a consultant for the Opelousas-Eunice Library, opposed the change and questioned the legality of the move.
But Fontenot said the money sent to the system will remain dedicated to the Eunice Library and the services will remain the same or improved.
The mayor received backing for the split from Jack Burson, who served 24 years as alderman at-large and eight years on the Opelousas-Eunice Library Board.
Burson said the Eunice Library can forge relationships with the Acadia Parish and LSUE libraries.
“I see no reason why we can’t get some coordination between the library and services available at Acadia Parish,” he said.
“I think this division has been coming for awhile. I think it will serve people in both communities if handle peaceably and logically,” he said.
Burson encouraged people to handle the split “the right way” and said there are people who need the library services.