More libraries fall as heat nears 100 degrees

July 7, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Mary Frost

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Outrageous!

With temperatures soaring into the 90s and higher, more branches of the Brooklyn Public Library are shutting their doors —  due to faulty air conditioning.

The Brooklyn Heights branch and Business and Career Library on Cadman Plaza West — closed due to heat for most of the week — will remain shut until Monday, according to BPL. The branch has been having trouble with its air conditioner for years, patrons say.

The Clinton Hill branch on Washington Avenue closed its doors on Thursday, also because of malfunctioning air conditioning. BPL’s website said the branch would remain closed through Monday.

The Brownsville Library on Glenmore Avenue closed on Thursday and plans to remain closed through Monday, also due to air conditioning problems.

The Brooklyn Eagle’s inquiries about these additional library closings were not answered by BPL on Friday.

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A message on the Brooklyn Heights branch phone referred customers to the Walt Whitman, Pacific and Carroll Gardens branches — but the Carroll Gardens branch is closed for renovations until mid-August.

Clinton Street resident Martin Feuerman said in an email on Friday that while he could personally live without the library for a week or two, “I know that a lot of people really depend upon it staying open  — people looking for jobs, computer training, use of the computer, or just a place to cool off.”

“The air conditioning system at our Brooklyn Heights branch has been experiencing problems and is operating at limited capacity,” Sacha Thompson, spokesperson for Brooklyn Public Library, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday.

“Given the extreme and rising heat, we needed to close early today and will remain closed Friday and Saturday. We expect to reopen Monday and apologize for any inconvenience to our customers. We are working on both a plan for the remainder of the summer and long term plan.”

At lunchtime on Thursday, a steady stream of library patrons arrived at the Brooklyn Heights branch and found the gates locked and a sign saying the library would remain closed on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m disappointed,” said Austin Golding, who arrived with his son Samuel, almost three, both baking in the 92-degree heat. “I was hoping to take Sam to the children’s room. The library is our ‘go-to’ place on a hot day. He gets to see other kids and take books out. Now where do we go?”

 “This happens every summer,” said Deborah Halen, a volunteer with Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Library, in an email. “I heard that a Japanese company installed it in 1992. The company went out of business, [and the] warranty wasn’t honored.

“What really matters is that the library will be closed until Monday because of the broken AC,” she said. “I passed by there today to pick something up. A stroller child was crying because the library was closed!”

BPL did not respond to a question by the Eagle about whether it would extend due dates on books or suspend penalty fees. Patrons were advised to renew books online or by phone at (718) 230-6700.

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