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Four Brooklyn Libraries Closed During Heat Wave

July 18, 2013
Brooklyn library branches in need of repairs

Brooklyn library branches in need of repairs

With broken air conditioners preventing them from maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature for their patron, four Brooklyn libraries were forced to shut down during the recent heat wave, disappointing neighborhood residents.

Public libraries are the main destination recommended by city officials as a way for the public to beat the heat, and has even officially designated 39 Brooklyn branches as “cooling center.” But not only are the branches in Brooklyn Heights, Brownsville, Clinton Hill and Flatlands not cooling centers, they will not even be open when the temperature gets too hot. The public is rightfully frustrated.

“The library is one of the only options we have,” said Brooklyn Heights resident Lori Burch, 54. “It’s a problem for parents, teachers and even the seniors if there are no indoor activities for them in this weather.”

These four branches are not alone. There are now 60 branches, including the main branch, which are in drastic need of at least $300 million in repairs such for such things as broken boilers, outdated computers, dilapidated furniture and leaky roofs.

“While we do have a number of upcoming projects to repair (air conditioning) systems, our ongoing capital funding crisis means there are branches that have to close altogether in heat emergencies because we simply cannot afford the upgrades needed to keep them comfortable,” said library spokesman Jeremy Soffin.

“I’m extremely frustrated by this,” said Elizabeth Ramachandran, 48, who lives in Boerum Hill. “I have two boys who are going to be at home for the summer. Now I have to pay extra money to hire a babysitter.”

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