By DAVID FOLSE II
Tammany West news
COVINGTON—For many citizens growing up, the public library was a place that you were told you were going to have to go.
Fast forward to 2014 and the library is quickly becoming a place many residents regardless of age, can’t wait to go and check out.
One of 12 branches of the St. Tammany Parish Library, the Covington branch is continuing to transform into a location full of exciting attractions for the citizens on the western side of the parish.
Open since 1950, the Covington location now offers residents the ability to download music and movies, a genealogy research center and access to free Wi-Fi.
“We have been around for a very long time,” said Shellie Lister, the Community Coordinator of the St. Tammany Parish Library. “We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of our community. As we continue to evolve, we are now offering things like online magazines and online movies. Audio books, downloadable music and many other features are now available for people. We are making the changes needed to stay current with the population we have.”
With all the technological advances throughout the library system, Lister said the library still strives to serve its underlying purpose.
“We are still a community meeting place,” she said. “We still offer story times to educate children and still do the same fundamental things that you have grown up to expect from your library. We have just added on more services. People may not believe it, but you can still also come and check out books here just like you did as a child if you are an adult or how your parents did if you are a child.
“The biggest difference is now we can offer library services 24-7,” she continued. “You can check out a book online when the library is closed. You can still get what you need and want in the middle of the night in your pajamas if you so choose.”
Funded through property taxes which allow all of their services to be made available at no charge to the public, Lister said the library still very much is a needed venue in not just the parish, but across the country.
“Absolutely they are still relevant,” she said. “We have patrons who use the library for multiple uses. Whether it be people who use it for gardening and cooking programs or people who come here to fill out job applications online who don’t have a computer at home, the library is their only way to accomplish these things.
“We also have people here on staff which can help when you or your child has a research question for example about a project,” she continued. “You can tell we are in the middle of Science and Social Studies Fair projects right now. We have experts on staff that are trained librarians who can help you accomplish what you are trying to get done. It is just another way to show how relevant the local libraries continue to be. Our main goal is to help you.”
One of the biggest attractions at the Covington branch is a genealogy research center.
“You can come in free of charge and research your family history,” Lister said. “You can come in with your laptop and use our Wi-Fi to do it. We are meeting the needs of our community in real ways and we are proud of that.”
On December 13th at 10 am, the library will be hosting an Irish Genealogy event where you can “come find the pot of gold in Irish records.”
One of several events throughout the month of December will be the annual visit by Santa Claus on Tues., Dec. 16 at 10:30 am.
The library is located at 310 West 21st Avenue in Covington. You can reach them online at sttammanylibrary.org or by phone at 985-893-6280. The library is open Mon.-Thurs. from 9 am – 8 pm and on Fri.-Sat. from 9 am – 5 pm.