Patrons of the Ouachita Parish Library may still check out books and other physical items like DVDs but accessing public computers or the library’s digital catalog is unavailable until the library system’s network is restored.

The parish library system’s network crashed on April 22, meaning the telephones, computers and more have been out of service at each of the library system’s branches since then.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley confirmed the library’s system was down.

“It’s frustrating for us and our patrons,” said Danielle Tolbird, library system communications director. “What I’ve been told is we had a critical network failure. We are having to restructure our server.”

When asked whether the network crash was the result of a cyber attack, Tolbird said, “As far as all that other stuff, I’m not sure.”

“From what I understand, all our patron data is completely safe,” Tolbird said.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the library system’s vendors have taken longer to provide assistance, according to Tolbird. Information technology staff from the Ouachita Parish Police Jury also have lended a hand.

“Unfortunately, these things just take time,” Tolbird said.

At this time, patrons can check out eBooks and audio books as well as physical copies of books at each library’s branch.

“People can bring the books they want to check out,” Tolbird said.

“We write down their card number and the book number so we can keep tabs, manually, on paper. People can still borrow books, DVDs and our physical collection. They just cannot look at our digital collection.”

The restoration of the library’s network could be accomplished in phases, according to Tolbird.

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