Bishop Friend’s Book Collection in Slattery Library


by Jessica Rinaudo

The Catholic Center’s Slattery Library has recently had a huge boost to its book collection. Upon his passing, Bishop William B. Friend bequeathed his vast collection of literature to the diocesan library.

Sue Vernia, who served as Bishop Friend’s first secretary, is now the librarian of Slattery Library. She had the task of sorting through and organizing his vast collection of over 1,800 books, which included identifying and labeling their Dewey Decimal numbers with bright green tags so that they are easily identifiable on the shelves of the library.

“I look out into the library, and I can see those green tags. His books are on every row,” said Sue.

Patrons to the library can browse through Bishop Friend’s collection and quickly see that his reading was broad and varied. “It’s amazing his wide scope of interests. There’s a shelf out there that’s almost full of books on leadership and things on the future society. It’s not just religious tracks. He was into a lot of things,” said Sue. “He was curious.”

“We have some that are just reference books and stay in the library, but most of them can be checked out for two weeks,” said Sue.
Lucky library patrons may even stumble upon one of Bishop Friend’s books that he read heavily. Those volumes are laced with his own notations, underlines and scrawled notes. Most of those heavily read and examined books are from a time before he became bishop, when he had more time to read and study.

It’s these hand written notations that remind Sue of her work with Bishop Friend in 1986. The cyclical nature of working as Bishop Friend’s first secretary, and then on his book collection after his death is not lost on her. With joy and nostalgia she said, “Working on his books, seeing his curiosity and interests, has brought him more into my life.”

A special display is up in the Slattery Library highlighting some of the books in Bishop Friend’s collection.

Stop by, talk to Sue and browse through the bright green tabs and see what Bishop Friend wanted to share with the Catholics of the Diocese of Shreveport.

The checkout process is easy. Any patron to the library can browse, select the books they like, fill out a form and borrow them for two weeks.
The Slattery Library is located in the Catholic Center, located at 3500 Fairfield Avenue. It will re-open, after being closed for construction for several months, on February 1. It will be open from Monday – Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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