The library has nine locations to serve the citizens of Lafayette Parish.
Lafayette Public Library Board of Control
The Lafayette Public Library Board of Control is the governing body for the Lafayette Public Library. The Library Board is comprised of residents of Lafayette Parish who are appointed by the Lafayette City-Parish Council to serve five-year terms of office.
Lafayette Public Library Foundation
The Lafayette Public Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1993, exists to receive private funds to provide moneys for materials and services in support of the Lafayette Public Library System.
Friends of the Lafayette Public Library
For over 30 years, the Friends of the Lafayette Public Library, a nonprofit, volunteer organization, has been supporting and promoting the Lafayette Public Library System, its programs, and its projects by providing monies for library equipment and funds for special library projects and performances. Most of the funds come from the Friend’s twice annual booksales.
The Lafayette Public Library has several departments offering a variety of services. If you would like to contact a particular department directly, please click on the Departments menu at the top of this page.
Employment Opportunities at the Lafayette Public Library
All library vacancies are handled through the Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Civil Service Department. To view a list of positions currently available at the library, please visit the Civil Service web site.
Library Mission Statement
The mission of Lafayette Public Library is to enhance the quality of life of our community by providing free and equal access to high-quality, cost-effective library services that meet the needs and expectations of our diverse community for information, life-long learning, recreation, and cultural enrichment.
Lafayette Public Library System Timeline
1897 – The “Women’s Literary Club” establishes a fund for the first lending library that serves until 1917.
Les Vingt Quatre
1932 – “Les Vingt Quatre” (The 24) starts a library for juveniles during the Great Depression era. This library consists of 50 volumes on a bookcase located in the Parish courthouse. Operating hours are limited to two hours on Saturdays.
1942 – Lafayette Municipal Library is founded by the state as a potential “demonstration library” to be regulated by government in Baton Rouge, LA.
1946 – Old Southside School building is new space for state-funded parish library. Lucille Arceneaux is chosen as the first parish librarian and holds the post for 36 years. The state delivers 11,148 books. Doors open August 6. Circulation swells to over 76,000.
1953 – The parish library expands to include ten branch locations, maintains a bookmobile program, and boasts a collection of over 38,000 volumes. The first stand-alone public library building is constructed on land at the corner of Lee and Main streets. It opens March 29.
1963 – Celebrating 10 years at the Lee and Main street location, the library’s collection now includes magazines, film and audio records. The book collection reaches 70,000 volumes. The operating budget is into the six-figure range.
Construction of new library
1970 – The Lafayette Public Library trades the Lee and Main Street building for the present site at 301 W. Congress Street. Construction on the 3-story, 63,000 sq. ft. building commences.
Lafayette Public Library main building
1973 – The new, modern public library opens January 29. The new library is later awarded the 1974 Louisiana Architects Association’s Excellence in Design Award.
1979 – The Friends of the Lafayette Public Library is established to support the library and to raise community awareness of library tax issues. The Friends go on to become an indispensable asset to the continued growth of the library, sponsoring many of the library’s programs and hosting the semiannual book sale.
1982 – Lucille Arceneaux retires as Library Director after 36 years. Sonya M. Branch becomes the library’s second director. Ms. Branch institutes many innovative programs including school, teen, and prison outreach programs. She also started the Young Adult department.
1993 – The Lafayette Public Library Foundation becomes incorporated. The organization was founded to attract and receive contributions to improve Lafayette’s library system.
1996 – April 16th: Library initiates an online public access catalog. May 1st: The library is fully automated, including circulation and dial-up access to the online public access catalog. The card catalog is retired.
1998– January: Sonya Branch retires after 16 years of service.
February: Ms. Gail Dyer Smith begins tenure as the 3rd Director of Libraries.
Grant received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allows free public access computing at all library locations.
The library offers free access to mega-databases for library patrons for the first time.
1999 – The Butler Branch Library located in the Martin Luther King Center, undergoes renovations. Improvements include the development of an early childhood development enrichment center.
2001 – Chenier Center Branch Library opens in November.
2002 – Voters in Lafayette Parish pass a $40 million bond issue for major library expansion .
2003 – Southside Branch Library grand opening for the 6,600 sq. ft. full-service facility in Time Plaza Shopping Center.
2004 – Youngsville Branch Library relocates to a 2,500 sq. ft. full-service facility in Twin Oaks Plaza.
2005 – In January, Sona J. Dombourian is appointed the 4th Director of Libraries.
A groundbreaking ceremony is held in October for the system’s first regional facility, the North Regional Library located in Carencro, Louisiana
2007 – In February, Lafayette citizens celebrated another groundbreaking…this time for the future South Regional Library.
In September, the 12,564 sq. ft. North Regional Library opens in Carencro, Louisiana
2009 – In April, the 37,600 sq. ft. South Regional Library opened for service at 6101 Johnston Street.
2011 — The Main Library was closed for renovation and a temporary downtown branch was opened on Jefferson Street (in the old Jefferson Street Market).
2012 — Construction began at the Main Library.
2013 – Groundbreaking took place for the East Regional Library at Fabacher Field, which serves Broussard, Youngsville and Southeastern Lafayette Parish.
2014 – Discussions began on a location for the West Regional Library, which will serve Scott, Duson and Western Lafayette Parish.
2015 – In May, the new East Regional Library opened in Youngsville.
In July, renovated Main Library in Downtown Lafayette reopened for business.
2016 — In April, Sona Dombourian retired after 35 years with the Lafayette Public Library System.
In July, Teresa Elberson was appointed as the 5th Library Director.