Local book lovers are still waiting for the doors to open at the newly renovated Brazil Public Library, and it seems they may have to wait even longer.
Library Director Jill Scarbrough said the opening date for the library is still up in the air.
"The work hasn't even begun yet," Scarbrough said. "After the inspections and the second opinion were done, we thought that work would begin right away. We were wrong."
According to Scarbrough, carpenters are scheduled to be in the building next week and hopefully, will be done with their part of the repairs by mid-September.
"We are having HVAC issues, and the contractor still hasn't been reached," Scarbrough said. "Commercial Air hasn't returned calls from the architect, so we don't know when the work will be completed."
The library was originally scheduled to open for business in Sept. 2006, but that opening was delayed until Jan. 2007, then delayed again until May. Now library staff has no idea when they may open.
"I just can't believe that the HVAC contractors don't care enough about the quality of their work to finish the job," Scarbrough said.
A closed library means lack of revenue and entertainment.
Scarbrough estimates that they've lost at least $5,000 a quarter since they have been closed, and they are in their third quarter. Non-salaried employees have taken a voluntary lay-off, and are still showing up to help out.
"We still have expenses," Scarbrough said. "We still have a bond payment, and we are still purchasing new materials for our patrons."
Scarbrough said that the library has three or four large shelves full of newly released materials, and several large boxes of materials that they don't have room to display.
"I know that our customers are just as frustrated as the staff that the library is still closed," Scarbrough said. "We have more than 100 people knocking on our door weekly. They want to know when we are opening. They are tired of waiting. That also means loss of revenue over what we estimated."
Library board members have discussed library card extensions.
"We had initially said that we'd extend card privileges until the end of 2007, now it will probably be extended into 2008," Scarbrough said.
The situation is frustrating on many levels.
While an inspection was made along with a list of repairs that need to be done before the library can open, this is a public works project and no time limits can be set.
"It is frustrating," Scarbrough said. "The city can shut us down, but not enforce a time limit on when problems need to be fixed. It's a double-edged sword. We have to wait for the original contractor to correct the issues. We can't hire another because funds to do that would need to come out of our pockets, and doing that would void all our warranties."
Pyramid Architects is funding the repairs. Calls to their office were not returned by press time.
"We want our customers to know that we miss them, and can't wait until we do open," Scarbrough said.