Library to Operate Without AC Through Week

June 21, 2024
• After a week of high temperatures, the library — a designated local cooling center — will go without air conditioning for several days.

The heat wave that swept through Greater Boston this week led locals to turn to air-conditioned spaces, including the Needham Free Public Library. But next week, patrons expecting to cool down with a book may have to read at the Center at the Heights, the Charles River YMCA or elsewhere.

On Monday, the library is set to receive a new air-conditioning chiller, which could take until the weekend to install, according to an alert from the library and the town Thursday.

The new unit is expected to be in place by noon on Saturday, June 29, though the library will remain open. Despite the lack of AC, there will still be air flow through the building, according to the statement.

“To ensure the safety and comfort of library patrons and staff, Town staff will be monitoring the temperature on each library floor during this time,” the statement reads.

When asked if there’s any peak temperature at which the library will be deemed too hot to occupy, Amy Haelsen, the town’s director of communications and community engagement, wrote they “will be monitoring a set of factors that each affect the internal environment at the Library.”

“Factors such as the internal temperature and humidity, the [effect] of cloud cover and direct sun, and the air flow within the building will help inform our decision as to when to close the Library, if needed,” Haelsen wrote in a message.

“Library patrons who may be concerned are encouraged to visit the library prior to Monday, June 24th,” the library statement reads, “or make use of its online collections of hundreds of thousands of digital ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, and TV shows.”

Residents can visit to access its digital catalog.

While the unit is being delivered, the Rosemary Street parking lot and entrance will be inaccessible on Monday from 7 a.m. to about 3 p.m., according to the statement.

Apart from the new AC chiller, the library aims to further upgrade its facilities, now under the leadership of its new director Rob MacLean, who started the job in March. At the Annual Town Meeting, residents approved $454,000 to redesign the library’s young adult section, the first of several intended interior improvements.

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