MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Ouachita Parish Public Library’s main branch is soon to get over $6 million in technology upgrades. This multi-million dollar project is in its early stages of planning, but branch manager, Holly Priestley, says these upgrades couldn’t come at the perfect time. 

“This is going to give us an opportunity to bring more services and more technology to our community and help people in the twenty-first century.”

The renovations include upgrades to the interior, such as an open meeting area for presentations, and it could hold up to 250 people. Other open areas include a high-tech room for webinars, webcasts, podcasts, and more.

Lauren Fee is a Monroe resident, and she says these upgrades bring potential to the community.   

“That is incredible for 250 people to have access to that sort of technology, free and right here in their community, is incredible.”

A before and after picture gives us a glance at what the interior would look like. City officials say library funds estimate a cost of between $6-$8 million. 

The library was also donated with 21 laptops from Scott Equipment Company. Priestley says the goal is to provide the best high-tech service possible.

“We are here to connect people in our community to the resources they need. And yes, in the past that was print books, but now it’s going to digital electronic and online learning. So, we can start to offer more of those technology services and really, digital literacy.”  

Raehavender is another local in the area who frequently uses the library. He says high-tech resources are helpful to those who can not afford it.

“Everyone can not afford a computer at home, right? That’s a big deal because if you have two or three kids we can’t pay for two, or three computers. So, kids can come here and spend some time and then they can learn here.”

The library exterior will also get a major facelift. City officials say construction will start within the next 18 months. The date of completion is yet to be announced.