Don’t sweat it! Library open today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NATCHEZ — The hottest books of the summer were even hotter in Natchez over the weekend.

The George W. Armstrong Library will reopen today after being closed Saturday and Monday after the building’s air conditioning unit failed Friday afternoon.

Library director Susan Cassagne said the already crippled cooling unit quit working Friday afternoon and was unable to be easily repaired that day. The library was closed Saturday and all day Monday.

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For approximately a year, Cassagne said, the unit has been running at half capacity with just one compressor working.

“The heat has pushed the unit to its limit and (the air conditioner) has actually kicked off several times this summer, but we have always been able to get it back on,” she said.

That wasn’t the case when the unit stopped working on Friday. Repairs and cleaning of the unit’s coils could not happen until Monday.

“(The repairman) said the coils were just filthy,” Cassagne said. “They are cleaned periodically, so I don’t know how that happened there, but the unit is on now, and we will be open.”

The automation system server, which runs the online catalog for the library is cooled by a separate window unit, and remained operational even while the library was closed.

Cassagne said having that room cooled by a separate window air conditioning unit allows the library’s branches to continue to access the automation system even when the main library is closed.

The latest fix is only a “band-aid” and Cassagne said the real fix would be the installation of a new air conditioning unit.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors recently voted to serve as the grant applicant for a Mississippi Development Authority Energy Efficiency Block Grant, which could award the library up to $175,000 for the installation of a new unit.

Southwest Planning and Development District grant writer Alan Laird said previously only $90,000 would be needed to complete the project.

Cassagne said she should know soon if the library was awarded the grant.

“We appreciate the support of the supervisors in applying for this grant,” Cassagne said. “The heat in the building has definitely impacted the amount of traffic we’ve seen at the library. When I look down at 3 p.m., and don’t see any of the public computers being used, I know something is wrong, and lately it has just been too hot to be in here.”