Library delays reopening until Monday

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — The reopening of the Judge George W. Armstrong Library has been delayed until 9 a.m. Monday, March 29.

Boxes filled with books of every genre rested on the library’s newly carpeted floors Tuesday as Library Director Susan Cassagne surveyed a seemingly infinite number of items waiting to be shelved.

The library closed March 13 to replace carpeting damaged by Hurricane Gustav. Since that time, library staff and volunteers have worked to reinstall shelving and organize book titles. Some touch-up paintwork was also completed.

Cassagne initially planned to reopen the library today.

“It’s a matter of safety,” Cassagne said of the delay. “We do not feel comfortable opening to the public with boxes of books still left to be unpacked.

“We just didn’t anticipate it would take us this long, and I’ve never moved a library before, so I guess I didn’t have realistic expectations.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the library staff had re-shelved its large print books, and half of its nonfiction books. Approximately 50,000 books were boxed and stored before the new carpeting was installed.

The library has tentatively scheduled an open house April 12, the start of National Library Week, to officially unveil the library’s new layout to the public.

“The idea is bright, open, inviting and visible,” Cassagne said.

Due to the library’s extended closing, today’s AARP Tax Aide service has been relocated to the library at First Presbyterian Church from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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

“We urge everyone not to return books while the library is closed,” Cassagne said. “Everything will be checked in fine free next week.”

To view photos of the library’s progress, visit the library’s blog at natchezlibrary.blogspot.com.