Friday, June 15, 2012

Shutters and Paint - Redux

People are asking why hasn’t the Painting / Shutter Project started, yet. Unfortunately there is not a good, concise answer - but here's the story.
As you may be aware, the City of Natchez owns the library building and is legally responsible for the maintenance of the building and property. We approached the City of Natchez and offered (what we thought was) a great DEAL – the Friends of the Library would pay for the Painting/Repairs/Shutters project if the City would follow the legal procedures necessary to select a contractor.
We began this project with that plan in mind. The City would determine what needed to be done and would secure the necessary cost estimates, following the procurement laws of the State of Mississippi - a procedure they follow regularly for any city-owned building. They select the contractor(s) and approve for the work to begin. The Friends of the Library raises the funds necessary and write the checks. Should be simple, right? Wrong!
After two months of getting prices and “negotiating” it occurred (to someone) that there may be lead-based paint on a 48 years old building! We were asked if we held “regular classes for children under the age of 6” to which I responded, “Classes?” The question was repeated. I responded that we have regular Mommy – Baby storytime every Tuesday morning and Pre-school/Daycare storytime every Wednesday morning – and we’re about to start Summer Library Program! I actually asked, “Public libraries – Children’s programming . . .  What do you think we do?!?!?!!!”
So, back to square one. <sigh>! It would seem the lead paint abatement is going to cost a chunk of money.  I asked, “How much?” and was given a general cost estimate. Then after I picked myself up off the floor, I was asked how much we had. I responded, “Not THAT much! And most of what we have is dedicated to the shutters!”
A bit of history here. We had asked the City of Natchez in early 2008 to get the exterior painting and repairs done before the planned Mississippi Library Association Annual Conference (held in October of that year). Well, it obviously didn’t happen. Now that the MLA Annual Conference will be back in Natchez in October of THIS year, we offered - and made - the DEAL , based on the cost estimate from the summer of 2008. Little did we realize how much damage four more years of neglect could cause.
So, while “Adopt a Needy Shutter” was an enormous success, our fundraising efforts are not over! We will continue to pursue the project, with phone calls to the City every few days, each asking the same question, “What’s the latest update on the cost projections?”
When (not IF) I get an answer, I’ll let you know. Rest assured, I am staying on top of this and I WILL NOT LET THE ISSUE DROP. Tenacious should be my middle name!
In the meantime, my sincere appreciation goes out to everyone that has made a donation and understands the important role the public library holds in every community! Thank you!


  1. lead paint abatement is going to cost a chunk of money?

  2. We don't know yet. The City is obtaining bids now and will let us know.