Rapides Parish Library is planning a new and improved Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch on Broadway Avenue near Peabody High School. The new building, 2,640 square feet larger than the current location, will feature more shelving, fifteen public computers, a meeting room, a small group study room, and a drive-through pick-up and drop off window. Library officials estimate the new building will open in May of June of 2014. Rapides Parish Police Jury has begun to negotiate the sale of the current King Branch building with the City of Alexandria.
“King Branch usage has increased by over 56% in the last year, and its usage continues to increase,” said Library Director Steve Rogge. “The new location on Broadway will enable us to better serve our customers in the African-American community within Alexandria.”
“The goal of the King Branch staff has always been to be a positive force in the Lower Third community,” said King Branch Manager Starla Jones. “We are excited to have the opportunity to have more space, books and computers with which to do that.”
The city’s upcoming purchase of the current King building will necessitate the Library moving out before the new building is ready. In the interim between the closure of the old building and the opening of the new one, the Library will invite King customers to use Main Library. Library staff will set up extra computers at Main, as well as the best of King’s books. The Bookmobile will also stop near the old branch location on a weekly basis during this transitional phase.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch is currently located at 3311 Third Street in Alexandria. The Main Library is located at 411 Washington Street, also in Alexandria.