A year ago, a car plowed through the front of the Dunbar Branch of the Morehouse Parish Library....
Remodeling the building only took a few months, but replacing the books destroyed in the accident is a task far from complete.
The library has an empty feeling to it, and indeed many of the bookshelves stand starkly empty. Many of the books the library has left are in tatters. It's enough to make branch manager April Jones shake her head in sadness. The building may be whole again, but its collections are not.
Unfortunately, replacing the books is likely to take a long time. Head librarian Mary Hodgkins said it will take two to three years to get the shelves at Dunbar full again. The library board received no insurance money from the accident, as the driver was uninsured and the deductible on the library's own policy was $50,000-- the amount it took to repair the building....
The library board only has a $50,000 annual budget for books, and that must be divided between all the branches in the system.
The library once had an extensive children's section, but that section was hit the hardest by the accident. Jones said that where she once had nine shelves chock full of books, she now has only two shelves that are mostly empty. A small bookshelf against the front wall holds what few new books the library has received since the accident.
"All the books you see, that's what I salvaged," Jones said, pointing to the sparsely filled bookshelves. "I picked through what I could, and this is what's left."
Here's hoping that the people of Morehouse Parish find a few "book angels" who will help them get things back in order ahead of schedule.