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Heat And a Lack Of AC Forces Library To Close For Third Straight Year

Air conditioning is becoming an all too important part of living in some locations these days and having a working unit can be a life savior. But the average unit lasts 12 years or so, depending on maintenance. This means homeowners and businesses will have to replace them sooner or later.

This is a fact that the Northeast branch of the Reading Public Library in Reading, PA learned this week when they were forced to close down due to not having air conditioning for the warmer months.

Bronwen Gamble, the executive library director, said that she understood the frustrations that many were feeling, but the new system would not be done until the end of the summer at the earliest.

“The city has been very proactive in trying to get this done, but it’s a big project with many moving parts,” she said.

The new system will cost more than $150,000 just to install and is being paid for by the Keystone Grant and community block grants, which have specific requirements for their processes.

To help manage frustrations, Gamble intends to open the front porch of the building for outdoor hours, where people can check out books and a selection of other media.

This is the in the 1300 block of North 11th Street is without air conditioning. The library closed on July 1 and stated that in the last week temperatures inside had risen to 88 degrees.

“That’s not healthy or safe for patrons or staff,” said Gamble.

Heather Ferguson, a resident of the area, has five children that enjoy going to the library for both the books and the LEGO club that occurs there. The closing of the library frustrates her as she will have to move to the main branch, which is something that she has trouble doing.

“I can’t always get them down to the main branch or one of the other ones,” said Ferguson. “I just think something else can be done instead of closing the library. This is the only branch that got closed because all the other ones got air conditioning.”

The main library, located at South Fifth and Franklin Streets, will maintain their regular hours throughout the summer.

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