Overdue repairs close library

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NATCHEZ — Dewey decimal disarray has more than one librarian feeling a bit out of order this week.

Judge George W. Armstrong Library staff and a few friendly volunteers began work over the weekend to disorganize — and pack into boxes — the system the library relies on so dearly.

Contractors came Sunday to begin replacing carpet damaged during Hurricane Gustav; the library will be closed while work continues all week.

Nearly 40,000 books have been packed and moved to areas of the library that won’t be re-carpeted.

But that still leaves 10,000 more to go.

Director Susan Cassagne said the process wasn’t going as smoothly as she would like, right down to a botched pizza order for lunch, but that the group would persist.

“I don’t hold much hope for (finishing on time,)” she said. “If we can get the first floor finished, we can reopen just the first floor and work on the second floor.”

The plan is to reopen the library at 9 a.m. Monday.

No items were due for return this week, and Cassagne said the library will have a fine amnesty week next week.

“We will check everything in with no fines. It will be fine free even if you’ve had it for 45 years,” she said. “Look behind your bed, in the sofa cushions and under the car seats and if you have a book, bring it by.”

The carpet work is the last in a series of repairs after Gustav’s winds damaged the roof in 2008.

Rainwater flooded portions of the second floor and dripped down to the first floor after the storm.

Insurance covered the cost of all repairs to the tune of $70,028, including $24,967 for the carpet.

Library workers are also doing some touch up paint work as they move books and shelves.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said the library is handling the cost of the paint.