Eco-friendly Spotlight | Lafayette Public Library Main Branch Reopening

I've got so many fond memories from my childhood of our local public library. My parents would take me every few weeks, and I'd check out a stack of books to read, mostly the Sweet Valley and Baby-Sitters Club series (hello, 90s child!). I loved being able to read all kinds of books, do research for school, and just browse through the shelves to see what was there. My father and I would also visit the annual Friends of the Library book sale, where you could certainly find interesting titles.

As I got older, I would go less often, but I still loved the joy of finding a "new" good book to read. Humor is always a solid choice, I'll catch up on some good fiction, I've looked up books on environmentalism, and I love to browse the travel section.

Although I'm far from that bookworm child these days, the library stayed the same throughout the years. With the exception of upgrading their technology, it was the same dark library it had been since 1973. Until now!

The Lafayette Public Library has been renovating their main branch for the past three years, while operating in a temporary space a few blocks away, and this week, they held a ribbon-cutting, providing Lafayette residents with a state-of-the-art library.

Libraries are ultimately very eco-friendly organizations. Thriving on the concept of sharing and reusing, libraries help to reduce waste, checking off two of the three eco-friendly concepts. Instead of everyone having their own copy of a book that they'll read most likely once and get rid of, everyone can share and reuse the same few copies of books. Plus, many books are printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper, making them more sustainable.

You can get just about any book you want to read, on any subject you want to learn, without having to spend $15-$20 a pop and have it collect dust on your shelf until you finally get rid of it.

And with today's technology, libraries can reduce the amount of paper used. Barcode checkout technology has been in place since the 90s, and the card catalog was moved online in 1996. Today, the card catalog can be searched on iPads located throughout the main branch.

In addition to going green INSIDE the library, you can also be eco-friendly by riding your bike and parking at one of the new bike racks. Just don't forget a bike basket to carry your haul.

Although it's no longer the library I grew up in, with that sweet sunken pit with the rainbow-colored tiny chairs in the children's section, it's an even better library for today's children and adults alike. The children's room has international flair throughout, has a castle reading room, and provides tons of books and DVDs for checkout.

There's a separate teen section in the back that might just be my favorite area in the new building. The colors are vibrant, the modern mesh chairs are tremendously comfortable, and it's secluded from the rest of the departments, giving teens a sense of their own space. Do I totally want to hang out here? Yes. Will I probably feel like a creeper doing so? Maybe a little. Will I read Twilight here? STILL NEVER.



On the second floor you'll find magazines and adult fiction. Everything is spaciously laid out and there's a very relaxed vibe throughout. There are also awesome egg isolation chairs to sit and read in - or nap in.

Seriously, whoever was in charge of picking out chairs for the new library, you get my approval.

All over, there are computer stations for research or Internetting. (PS, there's free WiFi throughout the building!) But we all know you're working on that paper for school, right?

Maybe there will be an Eco Cajun blog post or 10 written from the new library!

I walked through the fiction stacks during the grand opening tour, and have already found three books I want to check out now that they are open for regular operations.

Pamela Ribon was probably the very first blogger I started following, about 10 years ago. Had to pay a visit to see if she was on the shelf. (PS, Why Girls are Weird and Why Moms are Weird are both very good!)


The third floor, no longer an enigma, houses nonfiction, research computers, genealogy and a brand new makerspace. The room is pretty large and even has 3D printing machines!

In addition to the departments, there are small and large conference rooms and a cafe/vending machine area. I didn't venture out to it, but it looks like there's a secluded little courtyard outside the cafe. A place to sit, sip on coffee, and read your latest checked-out book? Yes and please!

I especially loved the cake they served at the grand opening, featuring photos of the old and new libraries. Literally eating a piece of the old library for breakfast, and welcoming the new branch to town.

Whether you have a library card or not, get thee down to the Lafayette Public Library main branch and check it all out. If you don't have a library card, you can apply for one online (if you're over 18) or in person at the branch. Library cards are free if you live, work or attend school in Lafayette Parish. So, what's your excuse now??

Find them

301 West Congress Street | Lafayette, LA 70501

Visit them

​Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 - 6 p.m.

 "Local communities need libraries." -Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian


Amy said...

Thanks for all the information and photos of the new library. I can't wait to visit it myself. Like you, I have loved the library since I was little. Shelf-browsing is a life-long passion. I've found some great books thru serendipity at the library that can't be recreated at a bookstore.

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to check out the new location!!! In the past few years I have really started using the library services to save on books and movies and love that there is now a whole new building to explore :) Eeek! Excited!

Caitlin said...

You are welcome! And I totally understand what you mean. I love perusing the shelves at the bookstore, but I'm always afraid to purchase a book I may end up not liking. No worries at the library!

Caitlin said...

You better go when you're not in a rush. :) There's a lot to explore, and there are tons of comfy places to sit and read!

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