By Robert Barron Staff Writer



No one is happier for a few cool days than the staff at Public Library of Enid and Garfield County.

For the third time this summer, the library's 40-year-old air-conditioning system has broken down.

Library Director Wilita Larrison said the system was last repaired Aug. 15 after being off for three weeks. Before that, the air conditioning was out of order one time during some of the hottest days this summer, she said.

The building has been without air conditioning at least four weeks of the summer.

As a result, the library is operating on reduced hours.

The library will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the rest of the week because of the heat and its effect on the library's computers.

"They act funny when they get hot, and since so many people used them, we felt it best not to operate them unless it was under good conditions," she said.

The library will be closed Labor Day weekend, Saturday through Monday.

City of Enid Public Works Director Jim McClain said the original problem was the compressor, which was part of the original system installed in 1964.

Another compressor was installed, but a valve failed. When that was replaced, he said, the compressor failed again.

"It was a combination of things that happen with a 40-year-old system that should have been replaced 15 years ago. They aren't making parts for some of it," he said.

Larrison said parts will be taken to to Oklahoma City.

"Depending on what they find, we could be another week or longer," she said.

The entire air conditioning system is scheduled for replacement in spring 2006.

"You don't just bring an air conditioner and stick in the building," Larrison said.

The library's air conditioning consists of one large system and four smaller units that cool specific areas of the library. The large one quit, she said.

Library staff members who normally work two shifts now are working one. The entire staff works, she said, so no one is losing working time.

"Some people normally cover multiple tasks and this allows them to catch up. People in the back office also work the front desk," Larrison said.

Hennessey Public Library has offered to honor Enid library cards after 4 p.m. for research at no charge, Larrison said. The offer is good as long as the system is down.

"It's frustrating. We get it fixed ... it breaks down again, but there is nothing we can do about it. We must provide as much service as we can and deal with the issues as we can," she said.

There should be no problems with heating this winter, she said.



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