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Bishop Perry Center opens lending library


The Bishop Perry Center, which provides ministry to those living on the margins of society, opened a new public lending library Aug. 18 at its headquarters, 1941 Dauphine St., New Orleans.

The library is named for St. Catherine of Alexander, the patron saint of libraries. The library will have two spaces – the main shelves and the lending area – and a reading room.

“There is something magical, almost sacramental, in touching and smelling a book,” said Father William Maestri, director of the Bishop Perry Center. “The smell of ink and paper; the lure of the cover which hides the adventure and wisdom within its covers; and the reverence of care with which one stores a book on a shelf should be enjoyed by all.”

The library began issuing laminated photo ID cards, necessary for checking out books, on Aug. 18. The ID cards can be used by persons who do not have driver’s licenses for voter registration and check cashing.

The library also will have computers and free wi-fi service for research purposes and reading on line. The library will operate Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In the fall, the library will create a Bishop Perry Book Club with author appearances.

Major sponsors of the library include George Jeansonne, a former librarian, and her husband, realtor Richard Jeansonne; Michael Wilkinson of French Quarter Realty, who funded the vital library software; and T.J. McGurn, a Maryland resident who learned of the center’s plans while visiting New Orleans and subsequently donated 2,000 books from her collection. Books and literary memorabilia also were donated by Rosemary James and Joseph DeSalvo of Faulkner House.

Donations of gently used books, both fiction and non-fiction, are being accepted for the library. There is a special need for books on history, important biographies, survey texts (such as English literature, French literature, Spanish literature), contemporary non-fiction (such as important author memoirs, memoirs of important presidents) and classic works of fiction.

Donations of current magazines and donated magazine and newspaper subscriptions also are highly desirable. Donations may be dropped off or mailed directly to the center, 1941 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA. 70116.

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