From the Natchitoches Parish Library: ‘Born to Read’ program benefits newborns, Friends sponsor music program in honor of Dr. Hurst Hall

The Friends of the Natchitoches Parish Library purchased books for the NPL’s “Born to Read” bags to be distributed throughout the year at the NRMC. The FONPL is a non-profit group that supports the NPL through programming donations and meets the second Thursday of the month at the NPL.

This year marks 80 years of service for the Natchitoches Parish Library (NPL) and to celebrate its birthday, the library is giving presents to Natchitoches’ newest residents through the “Born to Read” program.

The NPL and Friends of the Natchitoches Parish Library (FONPL) have partnered to promote literacy and learning from birth. All children born at the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) throughout 2019 will receive a “Born to Read” book bag which includes a board book provided by the Friends of the Natchitoches Parish Library, information on early literacy, a brochure on the library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program and an application to sign their child up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“Studies show that language learning, which is greatly improved by reading to children, is a reliable predictor of a child’s success in school and later in life,” said Alan Niette, community outreach coordinator. “We hope that by promoting library use and providing easy access to books from this early age we will set up our youngest patrons for a lifetime of success.”

Michelle Harris and daughter Rachel Lin are one of the first of the new year at NRMC to receive a “Born to Read” bag from the NPL.

Thanks to funding from United Way of Northwest Louisiana and other local partners, after parents enroll their new addition in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, their child will receive one age-appropriate book mailed to their home each month until their fifth birthday, giving them a 60 book library of their own before even starting kindergarten, all at no cost to the family! The NPL also offers its 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, encouraging an early interest in reading as kids listen, learn, then read their way through one thousand books. Participants are invited to a “graduation” party each year at the library before they start their first day of school. This works out to be 200 books a year after being born, or about four books a week, to reach the goal before kindergarten.

These programs are also available to any child living in Natchitoches Parish prior to entering kindergarten. Sign-up forms are available at the NPL. For more information, visit the NPL’s website,, or call the (318) 357-3280.


Dr. Hall Sr., a long-time member of the Northwestern State University faculty, served his community through his church, Trinity Episcopal Church, among many other organizations. Hall was a founding member of the Back Porch Band and was inducted into the Louisiana State Hall of Master Folk Artists in 2002.

Another program that the NPL is thrilled to bring to the community is the adult ukulele classes. The FONPL have donated ukulele kits for program participants in memory of Dr. Hurst Moreland Hall, Sr. Among Dr. Hall’s many talents and gifts was his love of folk music and various folk instrument combinations. In his honor, the FONPL has donated six ukuleles for the use of patrons enrolled in the library’s ukulele class.

“It is our hope that through the offering of these lessons, Natchitoches residents will be inspired by Dr. Hall Sr.’s legacy to pursue knowledge and love of the various forms of folk music,” says Alice Bryant, FONPL President.

All ukuleles were donated by the FONPL in honor of Dr. Hurst Moreland Hall, Sr. The learning kits include a ukulele, strings, tuner, case and chord book.

Ukuleles are small, four-stringed instruments, resembling a miniature guitar, which are easy to transport and even easier to play. Starting this month, the NPL has begun circulating these instruments and offering classes on how to play them for fun and enjoyment.

Due to the limited number of ukuleles, there is a sign-up requirement for patrons who wish to participate in the program. There is currently a wait list for those wishing to use one of the NPL’s ukuleles due to the high interest. If you have your own instrument and would like to get to know it better, you may sign up for the class and bring your own ukulele.

Allison Weatherford, Library Technical Assistant I, leads the first of several planned ukulele classes at the NPL.

Four classes, taught by Library Technical Assistant Allison Weatherford, will be offered on a rotating schedule: Intro to the Ukulele, Basic Chords, Strumming, and Fingerpicking.

For questions and to register for upcoming classes, call the NPL Circulation Desk at (318) 238-9224, message the NPL on its Facebook page (Natchitoches Parish Library) or visit the main library branch on Second Street.