According to the First United Methodist Church website: the building was once First United Methodist Church of Amite. FUMC of Amite has had its roots before the Civil War, when it was located between Myrtle and Duncan Avenue. That church, the second church building of the congregation, burned down. Elder members recall that the first church was a one room building that stood on the site of the Brown Funeral Home.
The third church was built in the middle of the block between Laurel and Bay, facing Mulberry. It was destroyed by a tornado in 1908. Another church was soon built, but it was destroyed by a 1940 tornado. The church was rebuilt once again, on the corner of Laurel and Mulberry. That property (where the Parish library is now located) was later sold to buy land on Duncan Avenue.
The building is over sixty years old and holds much sentiment for many Amite residents. Most feel that the building holds a certain historical value for the community.
Tangipahoa Parish Library Director Barry Bradford stated, "I want to see a building built in town that is the most cost effective. Preferable a different building."
According to Bradford, there is a plan in motion for now that may solve the issue of having to tear down the old building. The library board and parish council's executive offices provided the suggestion of a strip of property located behind Central Progressive Bank on Highway 16. This property is owned by the parish and is currently being inspected by Holly and Smith Construction firm to see if the property is adequate for what the library is needing.
"The property is being examined closely before a decision is to be made. It is right here in town and could be cost effective. It's owned by the parish and we would not have to tear down this building," Bradford said of the potential property.
According to Bradford the library board has already received the permission to demolish the current building. "However, we are aware of the apprehension from the community and have taken that under consideration," stated Bradford. Bradford also stated that he would like to hold a "town meeting" and hear from the community on what they want and need.
Bradford has been the library director for a few months new and states that he loves his new job. "It's nice to work with a board that is interested and has a desire to put the library first in the community. They are a great group of people to work with," stated Bradford.
Bradford also sang the praises of the library workers throughout the parish. "The staff is extremely hard working. They are also very dedicated to providing great public service and that's key in this profession." Bradford maintained that his primary concern is to provide a library facility that is modern and state of the art for the community.
Bradford knows his profession having worked in library systems for 15 years. He started with the New Orleans Public Library. "I was married with two part time jobs and a child. We didn't have enough money so my wife suggested that I apply with the library where she worked and I got the job. Then in 1991 they offered by the opportunity to get his library science degree, which I did," Bradford said.
"I needed a job and I've stayed because I think it's a noble profession that I love. I feel good about what I do for a living," he added.
Bradford admitted that he is an avid fan of non-fiction but also has a passion for southern literature fiction. "Confederacy for Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole being one of his favorites.
The community will just have to wait to see what the is decided about the destruction and construction situation facing the library board and council members.