Jackson Parish Library (JPL) director, Floyd Knox, is an aficionado of history, especially the history of the JPL which this past May 10th, celebrated the 84th anniversary of the day a Library first opened it’s doors in Jackson Parish. In a prepared statement that he shared with the Jackson Parish Police Jury during their monthly meeting Knox gave a brief synopsis of important dates involving the library over the past eight decades.
“Over time, I appreciate history more and the stories of those that have come before me. This has accelerated while working for the library. Our library has a rich history. Going back through old pictures and newspaper clippings we have found at the main branch, this can be seen clearly and I’m sure that we have only scraped the surface. One of the things that I tend to want to do more is to point out all of the significant milestones that have occurred. One milestone occurs on this very day. 84 years ago today, May 10, 1937, by Ordinance No. 33 the Jackson Parish Police Jury established the Jackson Parish Public Library. Back at this time, a movement was going through the nation to create public libraries that would be available to everyone. The idea was that you didn’t have to travel to a big city or attend a university to have access to the best information and reading materials available.”
“The leaders of Jackson Parish saw this and understood its importance. At first, Jackson shared resources with 2 other parishes, Winn and Grant, creating the Tri-Parish Libraries. According to the June 4, 1937 issue of the Jackson Independent, this demonstration was the “first in the United States covering three parishes and financed and directed by a state agency.” Unfortunately, the tax election in 1940 did not pass. If not for the hard work of many people and local organizations, the idea might have stopped here. By the 1950s, the Louisiana State Library created more demonstration libraries across the state. The Jury once again voted for a permanent library to be located in Jonesboro. The State Library supported this endeavor for 1 year. This library opened on March 5, 1960. The staff worked hard to show the value of this resource to the community and, later that year, the People voted overwhelmingly in favor of support for the library. Today, I just wanted to point out this current milestone and thank the People and the Jury for their continued support over the years. – Floyd Knox, Director