“Mona had a special relationship with Daddy,” according to Rotarian of the Day Melissa Trammell, in her introduction of the speaker for the Winnfield Rotary meeting on May 11, 2022. “Whatever he did, she did it with him, whether it was hunting with the dogs, just running the dogs, or anything to do with animals or outdoors, she loved it.” She was talking about her sister and Winn Parish’s head librarian, Mona Bamburg. Mrs. Bamburg has been head librarian for Winn Parish for the last three years, and before that was a teacher and a principal. She retired from the Natchitoches Parish school system after serving as principal for 15 years, and now serves the citizens of Winn Parish by managing our library system.
According to Ms. Bamburg, the Winn Parish Library is kicking off its Summer Reading Program, designed to keep students interested in reading through the summer vacation from school. The program is open to students in pre-K through 6th grade, and registration begins on May 16th. Children must be accompanied by a parent to register. The program, which includes reading challenges requiring children to read a certain number of minutes per day, appearances by performers, and various crafting opportunities, will run from May 31st through July 7th.
The performers engaged for the summer program include Lady Chops, Nathan Roberts, Harvey Rabbit, Cowboy Bob, Frank & Tammy puppeteers, LA Purchase Zoo and Dorian LaChance, appearing at the main branch in Winnfield, as well as branches in Atlanta, Calvin, Dodson and Sikes. Some of the appearances in the smaller branches will be held in larger venues, rather than in the library branch, to accommodate all who wish to attend.
“We still check out books to people, but nowadays provide many other services to our patrons,” says Ms. Bamburg. They check out audiobooks on CD, which she highly recommends, particularly for driving, and movie CDs.
The library has computer stations available for use by the public. So many people now receive their monthly checks via electronic deposit, job and benefit applications have to be filed online, and many other things require an online presence that the librarians spend more time assisting patrons with computer and online tasks than they do checking out books. The staff helps anyone who comes into the library with any online computer needs they may have. A recent grant allowed the purchase of new computers for the library.
Our library provides classes in various crafts, painting and cooking for both children and adults. A monthly newsletter is published with the library’s class calendar, and it is posted on the library’s Facebook page. The main branch library building has a meeting room available for public use. It must be reserved for a particular date and time, and the meeting coordinator must have someone arrive before the library closes at 5:30 to use the room outside library hours.
Winn Parish has a library system that is unique among small rural parishes in that most such parishes have a bookmobile system for the less populated areas of the parish, whereas Winn Parish has fixed libraries, where many more books can be accommodated than in the mobile library, within walking distance of the schools in Atlanta, Calvin and Dodson. Most school librarians have been replaced by staff with computer skills and expertise, so having the libraries with librarians close by is a benefit to our school system as well. The loan which financed the new main branch building has been paid in full, and the system was able to use the money left over from that to refurbish the other library buildings in the parish.
For online book users, the Winn Parish Library is a member of the Green Gold Consortium of 27 library branches which pool their electronic libraries of e-books and audiobooks to make them available to any cardholder of any branch in the consortium. This results in many thousands of e-books and audiobooks, as well as over 3000 magazine subscriptions, is available to the library cardholders in the system, free of charge. No longer must e-readers and listeners pay to read or hear their favorite authors or look at their favorite magazines. They can have free access to downloadable versions of them through the online library system.
The Winn Parish Library system is far from outmoded, as it provides not only the books written on paper, but books on CD, movies, electronic and audiobooks, e-magazines, live entertainment, computer and online access and assistance, in-person classes, meeting areas and all types of services you never imagined before. And it appears to be thriving under the leadership of Mona Bamburg!
Rotary’s meeting this day was adjourned as customary with its motto, “Service above self!”