Public library finds fix for air conditioning problems

Published 12:35am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NATCHEZ — A broken air conditioner apparently can’t close the doors of the George W. Armstrong Library for long, at least not all of them.

The staff is working this week — while the library is temporarily closed — to move the adult, children and teen collections into the periodicals room and technology service area. There, the staff will set up a portable air conditioner, which was donated by a library employee.

The library will reopen Monday in the limited space, Director Susan Cassagne said.

She said the rest of the library will be closed off to the public until the air conditioning system can be fixed. Staff will be able to get books for patrons in the collections that will not be open to the public, Cassagne said.

Refurbished compressors that recently replaced old compressors stopped working early this week. Cassagne said the compressors were installed more than a year ago, and she does not believe they are under warranty.

The compressors were part of a recent overhaul to the library’s heating and cooling system that totaled approximately $206,600. The overhaul did not completely replace the system, Cassagne said, only repaired it. She said the library did not have enough money to completely replace the system.

Cassagne said she looked into temporarily relocating library services to another location.

“But with moving our equipment, shelving and collections, it just wasn’t feasible,” she said.

Cassagne said the library could also rent a chiller unit until the system is repaired, but she said that option is not cost-effective. The initial monthly fee for transportation, setup and rental would be $7,500 and then $3,500 each month after that.

“I just couldn’t see paying that much money,” she said. “So we’re going to do the best we can to provide services considering the circumstances.”

Library patrons can access the open area through the library’s side doors, Cassagne said, but the front door will remain closed.

Some computers will still be available for public use, Cassagne said.

“(Thirty-minute) time limits will be strictly enforced, though, because we won’t have … 16 public computers anymore,” she said. “We will only have four to six.”

The children’s programs on Wednesdays and Thursdays will be moved to the Natchez City Council Chambers on Pearl Street.

The library will be open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday given that the building temperature is reasonable for employees to work, Cassagne said. The library will be closed on Saturday until further notice.

Any overdue book fines accrued will be waived until the library is fully reopened.

Cassagne said any updates on changes in hours will be posted to the library’s Facebook page and website,