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Friends of the Washington Parish Library

About Us
News for Members
About Us
Constitution & Bylaws
Our Library
Washington Parish Tales
Bogue Chitto Pearl Cook-Off
Disbursement Committee Report
Poetry Contest
60th Anniversary
Contact Us

The Beginning 

      Friends of the Washington Parish Library got underway in early August 2005 when 24 concerned citizens signed up to get the group started. These citizens were attending a meeting of the Library Board of Control for a discussion of the library system's financial crisis and proposed operating plans. The 24 agreed that a Friends group could give valuable support to the library and volunteered to help out.
     The first meeting of our Friends group was scheduled for August 30. Only one day before that, on August 29, Hurricane Katrina tore through Washington Parish leaving a path of devastation. The Franklinton Branch Library, which also houses the headquarters of our library system, was hit hard. Homes of many volunteers also were seriously damaged; roads were impassable; and all communication systems were down.
     Because of the damage from the storm, the first meeting was not held until Thursday, November 3. It was a dark and stormy night, but we had a turnout of five volunteers from the Bogalusa and Franklinton areas - Carol Duke, George Domas, John Seal, Philip and Gloria Lupo - plus librarian Gabriel Morley, director of the Washington Parish Library System. Several matters were discussed, and a date was set for the next meeting.
      At that first meeting of the open steering committee, George Domas volunteered to draft a constitution and bylaws for the group. George is a former president of the Friends of the Library in Poplarville, Mississippi. He wrote that group's constitution.
      On December 8, another dark and stormy night, we had a turnout of 13 volunteers for the meeting of the open steering committee. Those who attended were Millicent Canter, Larisa Stewart, Janice Goff, Sally Rosenblum, Gabriel Morley, Keith Stafford, Gloria Lupo, Philip Lupo, Lorraine Bourn, Judy Rabuffo, Terry Seal, Anne Tate, and Carol Duke.
     The constitution and bylaws, with a few other matters, were discussed at the December meeting, and the next meeting was set for January at the Bogalusa Branch Library.
      At the January 12, 2006  meeting, 14 citizens from throughout the parish adopted and signed the constitution and bylaws, making that day the official date of the founding of the organization. 
      Those who signed the constitution were Gloria Lupo, Carol Duke, George Domas, Lorraine Bourn, Elizabeth Roberts, Janice Goff, Jane Tate, Sally Rosenblum, Terry Seal, Francis Mills, Jean Wales, Evelyn Cassidy, Johni Miles and Gabriel Morley.
      At the February 16 meeting, the three-person nominating
committee, which consisted of  Evelyn Cassidy, Terry Seal, and Elizabeth Roberts, presented nominations for officers and directors-at-large. Those elected were Gloria Lupo, president; Sylvia Ledet, vice president; Carol Duke, secretary; and Lorraine Bourn, treasurer. The three directors-at-large elected were Evelyn Cassidy, George Domas, and Dr. Jerry Thomas.
     Membership dues were accepted for the first time at the February 16 meeting. Those who attended were Lynn Alexander, Lorraine Bourn, Millicent Canter, Roselyn Casanova, Evelyn Cassidy, Linda Crain, Carol Duke, Babs Fowler, Janice Goff, Fern Grantham, Marcie Landry, Sylvia Ledet, Gabriel Morley, Judy Rabuffo, Sally Rosenblum, John Seal, Terry Seal, Keith Stafford, Anne Tate, Joanne Thorp, and Jean Wales.
     About 25 Friends attended the March 23 meeting at the Franklinton Branch Library. Friends voted to adopt the Annual Wild Game Cook-Off and Barbecue in Bogalusa's Cassidy Park from the Seven Miles Substance Abuse Center   A Cook-off Committee was appointed, as was a 60th Anniversary Celebration Committee.
      The first annual membership drive also was initiated at the March meeting, with members picking up FWPL brochures to hand out.   Membership presentations were scheduled for several civic groups and for the Washington Parish Council.     

The first officers of FWPL were elected February 16, 2006.
     Gloria Lupo was elected president.  Gloria graduated from Bogalusa High in 1964.  She completed a B.A. in Speech and English at Southeastern Louisi-ana University and has completed four additional years of college work in communications, language, theater, art, and education.  She has worked as a nursing home activities director, as a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and long ago as a television news anchor in Alexandria, Louisiana.
     Gloria has experience with state civil service in the departments of social services and  mental health.  She returned to Washington Parish two years ago with her husband Philip. 
     Sylvia Ledet, vice-president, has been a librarian in Pine and Thomas for more than 10 years.  She now is manager of the Thomas Branch.  She is known well in those communities for her bright smile, friendly personality, and willingness to lend a helping hand.  She loves her rural library and devotes much time to making it a comfortable and pleasant place to visit.  
     Sylvia has many outside interests, one of which is motorcycling with her husband. They helped found a cycle club that does rides for various charities.
     Lorraine Bourn, treasurer, bought a piece of Mt. Hermon property with her husband Wayne 19 years ago.  It was their
weekend getaway, and that was the beginning of their love for
Washington Parish. 
     Lorraine was an elementary teacher in the Orleans Parish School System for many years.  She and her husband started home schooling their three children when the youngest was going into sixth grade and the oldest into ninth.  Two of the children now are part-time students at Tulane University.  The oldest just completed his PhD in biomedical engineering at Tulane and is working in Minnesota. 
     Two years ago, after Wayne retired from the Corps of Engineers and family obligations were met, they bought a house on Highway 38 in Clifton.  Lorraine loves to read, do needlework, and work in her organic vegetable garden.  Besides having a great interest in the library, she also volunteers at the Varnado Store Museum.
      Carol Duke, secretary, also is a graduate of Bogalusa High.  After completing her B.A. she taught English in Texas where she lived with her husband. After the death of her husband, she returned to her childhood home of Bogalusa where her brothers live.
      Carol is active with the Civic League and other service organizations and enjoys tutoring young students in the Bogalusa School System.  She is an avid reader and belongs to a local book club also.  She loves the outdoors, enjoying natural beauty, and traveling.  She has been essential to FWPL since the very first meeting and was instrumental in bringing the Annual Wild Game Cook-Off and Barbecue to the organization.

First Directors

    FWPL is fortunate to have started with three directors with a tremendous amount of knowledge and public service experience.  We were proud to have all three of them as part of our organization: Evelyn Cassidy, George Domas, and Dr. Jerry Thomas.
     It was a singular honor to have Evelyn Cassidy as a Friend and director.  No lady in our parish is better known or better respected than Ms. Cassidy.   She has blessed us with decades of public-minded conscientious leadership.  She has served our parish and civic organizations in innumerable ways and already  has been a big support to FWPL, offering sound advice at meetings.  Her kindness and her intelligence can guide all of us.
     George Domas, a graduate of West Point and a retired attorney, is also a former president of Friends of the Library in Poplarville, Mississippi.  His knowledge guided us as we worked to get our Friends group started.  He drafted our constitution and bylaws for us.
     Dr. Jerry Thomas has served our parish as a physician and as our state senator.  He did a great job as senator during a time of crisis for our state hospital system and made sure that those hospitals within our district received the funding they needed.  Dr. Thomas also was instrumental in obtaining funding for the new Thomas Branch Library.

First Year Review: 2006

     The painting of the Thomas Branch Library was the final of ten projects completed by Friends of the Washington Parish Library in our first year.                  
     The first project was to draft and adopt a constitution and bylaws for the organization in accordance with guidelines of Friends of Libraries USA and the Louisiana State Library. The second project was a membership drive.
     Other projects were organizing and sponsoring the Washington Parish Library 60th Anniversary Celebration with awards presented to former and current library staff and board members; a presentation of a monetary donation to the library system; sponsoring the Library Poetry Contest with participation of approximately half the schools in the parish and Bogalusa, both public and private; a mail-out and ad campaign supporting the renewal of the library millage; the first Annual Book Sale of Friends of the Library; publishing and distributing the FWPL Quarterly Newsletter for all quarters of 2006; and establishing an FWPL Internet site with frequent news updates for members and non-members.
     "Those of us who got together and started Friends a year ago are thrilled with the response we've had from people all over the parish," said Gloria Lupo, FWPL president. "Our membership is distributed pretty equally around Franklinton and Bogalusa, and there are members from out-lying areas like Mt. Hermon, Pine, Clifton, Thomas, Enon and Bush. It shows that the people of Washington Parish are willing to work together for a good cause that benefits everyone.
     "We have over 90 dues paying memberships now. That includes about 150 individuals because many of the memberships are family and group memberships. It's encouraging to see that so many people have got involved with the organization in its very first year. It shows that there are people in our parish who value education and learning, and they want to maintain a good public library system where people can find the information and resources they need to improve their educations and their lives and do it without paying any kind of fee. That is the tradition of public libraries in this country, and it is a tradition worth keeping."



Friends of the Washington Parish Library
c/o Library Headquarters
825 Free Street
Franklinton, LA 70438