About 160 people gathered to celebrate the Washington Parish Library 60th Anniversary
at First Baptist Franklinton in early June. Staff and board members were honored, and poetry contest winners were awarded
Younger children had fun with storytelling by Mary Etta Moody of Poplarville, Mississippi and
music by Debbie Baughman, a member of the Civic League of Bogalusa. The children also received gifts of free books in a special
Rev. Luther Stanford, pastor of First Baptist, led the opening prayer for the commemoration ceremony,
and Ginny Burris, Centenary Methodist Church music director, was pianist for the event, which was sponsored and hosted by
Friends of the Washington Parish Library.
Addresses were made by Deputy State Librarian Diane Brown, Washington Parish Library Director
Gabriel Morley, and Washington Parish President M. E. ‘Toye’ Taylor.
Dera Talley presented a copy of her recent master’s thesis, a history of the social milieu
of the Washington Parish Fair, to Morley for the library.
Lorraine Bourn, FWPL treasurer, made a gift presentation of $1,000 from FWPL to Morley. "This
is only one check of many to come," Bourn said.
Carol Duke, FWPL secretary, and Sylvia Ledet, FWPL vice president, presented trophies and ribbons
to winners of the Anniversary Celebration Poetry Contest. First place winners in the five age groups were Bethanie Trahan,
Lesli Sprehe, Katelyn Hope Graham, Bethani Robertson, and Jamie Goff. The two "Best Poets" were Mindy Rochelle Posey and Katelyn
Jones, and the "Youngest Poet" was Katherine Haik.
Gloria Lupo, FWPL president, was MC and led those present in singing God Bless America, America
the Beautiful, and Let There Be Peace on Earth. T. J. Butler Jr., Franklinton alderman, said the final prayer and blessing.
Two very special presentations were made by Parish President M. E. ‘Toye’ Taylor to
ladies who helped with the earliest days of the library. Virginia C. Killingsworth was recognized for her aid in bringing
the library to the parish. Killingsworth also was one of the main organizers of the opening ceremonies of the library in April
Mary Evelyn McDaniel was recognized for her 45 years of service to the library, starting in 1947.
Taylor also gave special recognition to two organizations that have been supportive of the library
through its history – the Waverley Club, which was instrumental in bringing the library to the parish, and the Civic
League of Bogalusa, which has given much volunteer service in support of library programs. Charlotte Spencer, former president,
accepted for the Waverley Club, and Martha Moak, president, accepted on behalf of the Civic League.
Current library staff members who received honors were Library Director Gabriel Morley; Hazel
Wilson Crain, business manager, 31 years of service; Bobbie Jones, Franklinton branch manager, 28 years of service; Emmett
Guy Jr., Bogalusa branch manager, 18 years of service; Helen Waddell, circulation clerk, 18 years; Helen Buck, Enon branch
manager, 13 years; Sylvia Ledet, Thomas branch manager, 13 years; Etta Magee, technology administrator, 13 years; Gvorja Busby,
substitute circulation clerk, 13 years; Lee Barlow, circulation clerk, 11 years; Brenda Brown, substitute circulation clerk,
11 years; Donna Russell and Annette Garrick, substitute circulation clerks; Yvonne Williams and Philip Lupo, circulation clerks.
Former library staff who were present and honored were Nelline Thomas and Brenda Coleman.
Current Library Board of Control members who were honored were M. E. ‘Toye’ Taylor,
Brenda Coleman, Emma Ross, Luella Jackson, Judy Lyons, Katherine Jenkins, and Janis Fisher.
Former library board member Kay S. Bell was recognized for 12 years of service, and former board
member Barbara B. Carter was honored.
Deceased library staff and board members who were honored were George Clinton Blake (accepted
by grandson James Griffin Blake), Lyle Killingsworth (accepted by widow Virginia C. Killingsworth), Georgia Stafford (accepted
by daughter Lib Scheuermann), Ruth Daniel Pigott (accepted by daughter Bette Pigott Hunt), Viola Thomas (accepted by daughter
Nelline Thomas), Mildred Knight, James Melba Reese Myles, and Houston Miley.
Taylor also gave special recognition to the R. O. Thomas family for being a leading supporter
of the parish library system. Two librarians who served in the system, Viola Thomas and Nelline Thomas, are members of the
family, as is former State Senator Dr. Jerry Thomas, who was instrumental in securing funding for the construction of the
new Thomas library. The Thomas family donated the land for the library.
Persons who later received certificates in honor of their service to the library as staff members
were Versie Overstreet, Brenda Williams, Stacy Crain, Jennifer Harris, and Connie Miller.
Former board members who later received certificates of recognition were Troy Ginn Onshella Vernon,
and Alvin Rosenblum.
All current and former staff and board members were honored at the commemoration ceremony. Friends
of the Washington Parish Library attempted to contact all living former staff and board members or relatives of deceased members
so they could receive their honors at the anniversary celebration. Regretfully, it was not possible to contact all of them,
but they were remembered by those present for their generous and able service to the library and to the people of Washington
Washington Parish Volunteer Homemakers helped host the event by donating the beautiful 60th
Anniversary cake that was served at the reception.
Bennie’s Garden Center and Florist and Susan McNeese donated beautiful flower arrangements
for the occasion.
Millicent Canter and Carol Duke designed the exhibit of student poetry and art that attendees
enjoyed during the reception.
Waverley members Charlotte Spencer, Linda Crain, Mary Jo Poole, and Brenda Allen donated the 60
balloons for the balloon launch that brought the celebration to a close.
FWPL members who helped with preparations and with hosting the event were Terry Seal, Sylvia Johnson,
Millicent Canter, Joann Thorp, Janice Goff, Mary Jo Poole, Judy Rabuffo, Lorraine Bourn, Carol Duke, Jean Wales, Anne Tate,
Virginia Juedes, Gayle Rester, Sylvia Ledet, Philip and Gloria Lupo, Jack and Fran Harry, Babs Fowler, Vicki Knight, Sally
Rosenblum, M. E. ‘Toye’ Taylor, Roselyn Casanova, and Johni Miles.