Biloxi Library Feels Heat After AC Breaks Down

For 10 days, noisy fans have been the only relief for library patrons and employees. A broken air conditioner turned the Biloxi Library on Lameuse Street into an oven.

Helen Ross, a frequent visitor during the summer, certainly felt the heat.

"It's just been unbearable. Something needs to be done desperately, because it happens every so often," Ross said.

"It happens just about every summer," local history librarian Murella Powell said. "It's really hard, because there aren't many places we can bring outside air in. We don't have windows that can open, so we do open as many doors as we can, and we use fans."

Besides making library patrons and employees uncomfortable, some people had concerns that the hot temperatures could do some damage to the thousands of books.

"It will cause them to deteriorate and dry out," Ross said.

"Long term, the heat, the humidity, the dust coming in from outside, plus the fans blowing everything around, that's always been a concern," head librarian Charlie Longino said.

On Wednesday, the parts finally came in and city crews repaired the broken air conditioner. The librarian says repairing the system has not been easy.

"It's a big system, because it's not always the same thing that goes out. The city's actually replaced a lot of the parts. I counted it one day and we must have 10 different parts to this air conditioning system," Longino said.

For now, the books and the people are cooler, but will the system go out again? Librarians are waiting for the next chapter.

"I have all my fingers crossed that it is indeed fixed," Longino said. "We'd like to see everybody coming back up and enjoy the cooler temperatures around here too."

Biloxi Spokesman Vincent Creel says he hopes the air conditioning problem is fixed and the city has no plans at this time to replace the old system. For now, fans will keep blowing inside the library, because it will take a few days to cool down the building.

One more note, the Ohr Museum shares space with the library. Museum employees say the heat and humidity made everyone uncomfortable, but it did not affect any of the artwork.