By Cyndi Sellers
Cameron Parish Libraries will remain open weekdays under the same conditions previously approved for COVID-19, the Board decided last Thursday, but will close on Saturdays for the time being. Board President Ernest Roberts had suggested the libraries might need to go back to curbside-only service due to the summer spike in COVID-19 cases in the parish, but it was reported that no library employees had contracted the disease, and stringent steps are in place to keep patrons and staff safe.
Library Administrator Dede Sanders reported that 5000 items have been distributed parishwide since June 1, a respectable number, she said. Libraries opened to limited public access on June 8. Board member Beth Ferguson said that with school opening this week the libraries would probably see even more use. Board member Peter Posada said there are many children who will need to use library computers and internet for on-line schoolwork, and part-time workers would lose their incomes if doors were closed. Roberts changed his position to allowing the libraries to stay open “until something happens at school.”
Saturday library hours, however, will be cut out as circulation has been extremely limited all summer. Only 35 items were circulated on Saturdays since June 1. The libraries have only been open for curbside service on Saturdays, and it has been hard to find part-time workers for those days. Some branches have not been able to open at all on weekends due to lack of staff.
New Hackberry Library
The Library Board approved a contract with architect Vincent Shows to design the new Hackberry branch library. The budget for the new structure is $999,999 and the architect fee is capped at 8 percent of the total bid.
Initial plans were to elevate the building on pilings, but board members asked for a determination on whether raising the property with fill is feasible.
Cameron Main Library
Renovations to the Cameron Main Library, formerly the School Board’s Educational Conference Center, are nearly complete, Sanders reported. The lettering on the outside of the building has been changed, except for a missing M. A new circulation desk and manager’s office have been built, and a new administrator’s office created. Additional work includes ceiling and lighting on the former stage and repairs to the kitchen.
The building was purchased last year from the School Board, and now aging equipment needs replacing. The Board voted to replace a cracked generator radiator at a cost of $10,423, and an HVAC compressor at a cost of $6350. Replacement was chosen over repair in order to get longer warranties.