The summer heat has kept the Deer Park Library closed to the public for the last month as the Spokane County Library District waits for the part they need to make repairs to the air conditioning system.
“It’s a supply chain kind of thing at the moment,” county library operations director Doug Stumbough said. “The part we’re waiting for won’t be available until the end of September.”
The library is open for curbside service from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday, and people can use the return drop box. But by noon, it gets too hot inside for the staff to work, Strumbough said.
“We monitor the temperature in there,” he said. “Once it happened, it hasn’t dropped below 80 in there, even overnight.”
Fans have been brought in to help keep the staff cool as much as possible, he said.
“It’s still quite warm,” he said. “Somebody compared it to their attic. There’s very little airflow and it gets hot.”
The air conditioning broke about an hour before closing time Aug. 2.
“According to our staff up there, there was a loud noise and they heard the air circulation stop,” he said.
A compressor in the HVAC system had failed, damaging other parts of the system and spewing oil everywhere, Strumbough said. The system, installed when the building was constructed in 1998, is still under warranty. But the district was soon notified that the necessary part needed for repairs is no longer available. Even the manufacturer didn’t have any.
“It’s got to be remanufactured,” he said.
The only way the library will open before the air conditioning is fixed is if it cools off enough to lower the temperature inside the building, Strumbough said. The high temperatures are forecast to get down in the 70s late next week, and Strumbough said they’ll see if that’s enough to cool the building.
The closure of the library will be evaluated based on the weather. It’s possible the curbside pickup hours could expand, even if the building can’t fully open to the public, he said.
“Our focus is on getting the building back open to customers,” he said.
Strumbough said he knows that people often visit their local library in the summer to cool off in the air conditioning.
“It’s just very unfortunate that during this hot part of the summer, we can’t do that,” he said.
The district’s new mobile library, LINC, spent several days at the Deer Park Library in August to provide computers and Wi-Fi for library patrons. Strumbough said he’s working to also get LINC scheduled to visit the library in September, but nothing has been set .
The library district will put updates on the closure on its webpage, www.scld.org. People can also call the library at (509) 893-8300.
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