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Calcasieu Parish libraries to reopen next week

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:11 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish library staff returned to work this week as they prepare for a gradual reopening of the library branches.

Just over a month after Hurricane Laura, 10 of the 13 library branches will soon open to the public. The staff said they are grateful because only two of the 13 branches were significantly damaged in the storm.

“Our Fontenot Memorial Library in Vinton received a tree on the roof so unfortunately we do have some extensive damage there," public information officer Christy Comeaux said. "Our Epps Memorial Library in North Lake Charles a couple of the windows busted out, so we have water damage there.”

The Calcasieu Parish libraries weren’t completely untouched by the hurricane; but, Comeaux said overall they are lucky.

The central library only has minor cosmetic damage. The focus now turns to the books and library resources.

“Right now, we’re going through our collection," she said. We’re checking all the books, magazines, all the items to make sure that they don’t have water damage.”

If items are damaged, they’re boxing them up and sending them away.

If you happen to have library books that were damaged, the library requests people to handle those items a specific way.

“We do ask if you have a book or item that may be slightly damp or have water damage to it [...] just come in the branch and hand that to us; because if you put that item in the book drop it will contaminate the dry books," she said.

Starting Monday, Oct. 5, people can drop off their books in the book drop outside the library.

“If you have an item, don’t rush we’re not charging any late fees right now," she said. "We know circumstances are so difficult for some of our individuals and our patrons.”

Comeaux said it’s a priority to reopen the libraries because she knows people need access to computers. For those branches that won’t be opening back up they have a plan for residents to get internet access.

“[We are] looking at the possibility of offering wifi at those buildings," she said. "So even though patrons can’t go into the buildings themselves they can at least drive up to the parking lot and access the internet.”

The libraries will open to the public Wednesday, Oct. 7. Their hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm.

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