Library gets grant for air conditioner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NATCHEZ — A grant should fix a problem that has been burning up the Judge George W. Armstrong Library employees for years.

Library Director Susan Cassagne said she was notified Friday that a federal grant was awarded to Adams County for repairs to the library’s air conditioning system.

“I am so thrilled,” Cassagne said.

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The Adams County Board of Supervisors applied for the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant worth $136,000, which is the estimated cost of the repairs.

Cassagne said she unintentionally spread the good news to everyone at the library when she received the call that the library was tentatively awarded the grant.

“I was in my office when I got the phone call, and I screamed so loudly they heard me downstairs,” Cassagne said.

She said although the grant is not yet “officially official,” she was told the library would receive the money pending some minor details and paperwork.

Cassagne has been at the library for almost nine years, and she said heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system has caused problems for at least four years.

Cassagne said the staff was forced to close the library July 24 and July 26 because the building’s air conditioning system failed.

“Right now the system we have is iffy at best. We’re working off of one compressor right now and we should have two,” Cassagne said.

Short of replacing the air-conditioning system, which has been in place since the 1990s, Cassagne said the repairs they plan to do with the grant money are the next best thing.

“It’s not just putting another band-aid, which we’ve been doing year after year, after year,” Cassagne said.

Cassagne said the repairs should cut down on the power bill, as well.

“Right now it blows full speed ahead in each room,” Cassagne said.

Cassagne said all 27 thermostats are currently broken, so the staff does not have the ability to control the temperature.

In the past few years, someone would have had to adjust each vent in every room manually by going into the mechanical room and adjusting the water temperature.

Changing the water temperature can affect humidity, which is disadvantageous in a library.

“Humidity and books are not friends,” Cassagne said.

Cassagne said she plans to thank the supervisors, at their Monday meeting, for making the grant possible.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said even though the city — not the county — owns the library, the county applied for the grant. The city already applied for the same grant for a different use involving lighting and could not apply twice, so the supervisors stepped up to the plate.

“We weren’t making applications, so we thought, ‘Hey, let’s help the library’,” Grennell said.

The Entergy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is part of a program authorized by Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act.