The Norco Civic Association is starting a push for the construction of a new Norco Library.
The current library is housed in a rented space at 197 Good Hope St. in Norco, but is considered outdated. Norco Civic Association President Sal Digirolamo said his group is currently passing around a petition to get the project started.
“The petition has been moving around really good so far. We introduced it about two or three weeks ago,” he said. “The (St. Charles Parish) Library Board will listen to you better if you a have a number of people who say we need it.”
Although the drive for a new library is just in the early stages of discussion, Digirolamo said many of the Norco Civic Association’s members have felt like a change was needed.
“We are looking for a place to try and convince them that we need a new library,” he said. “We are just looking for a bigger, better place regardless of how they get it. We can lease it or buy it or do whatever they want, but we are looking for a new place.”
The Norco Civic Association is already looking at pieces of land in the community that could potentially serve as a spot for a new library. The group has also been reaching out to local industry for potential assistance.
Norco Civic Association Board Member Herman Locque said the construction of a new library has been a goal of his for years.
“As a board member, it’s one of my projects I started because I really thought we needed a new library in Norco,” he said.
Locque said given the concentration of industry in Norco, more property taxes are coming out of the community.
“I don’t feel like the parish spends much of the money from the refineries to fix anything,” he said. “I think we ought to reap the rewards from all of those taxes. We feel like because we are not such a big community that we are not getting things that maybe we should be getting.”
The St. Charles Parish library system already has six locations, including the current Norco Library, and a bookmobile that serve a population of around 52,000. Out of the six library locations, Norco is the most isolated and serves a larger population than other locations such as Paradis, where a new library was constructed only a few years ago, and Hahnville.
However, the concentration of libraries in St. Charles Parish is higher than that of surrounding communities.
Although Jefferson Parish has 15 libraries, they serve a much larger population and average about 28,000 residents per library. In St. John the Baptist Parish, there are four libraries for an average of 11,000 residents per library. In Lafourche Parish, there are about 9,700 residents for each of their ten libraries.
In St. Charles Parish, the number of residents per library is around 8,600.