By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Once again, the air conditioning at the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is on the fritz and patrons are burning mad.
The library (also home to the Business and Careers Library) at 280 Cadman Plaza West, locked its gates at 2 p.m. on Tuesday before officially closing for Independence Day Wednesday.
At lunchtime on Thursday, a steady stream of library patrons found the building closed again, and a sign said 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?”
The broken air conditioning is business as usual to Brooklyn Eagle reporter Don Evans, who remembers writing about faulty air conditioning at the Heights branch “five or six years ago.”
“The air conditioning broke down, they had a crew come in to make repairs, then it would happen all over again,” he said on Tuesday. “On a warm day the staff wouldn’t work, so they closed it. People would go there and discover it was closed, with just a hand-written notice on the door.”
“This happens every summer,” said a volunteer with Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Library, in an email. “I heard that a Japanese company installed it in 1992, 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!”
Councilman Steve Levin’s chief of staff Ashley Thompson said his office would be following up to see “how we can fix this.”
“It’s not acceptable if the library closes every single hot day. The councilman understands the importance of the library to people looking for jobs, doing research and for seniors who need air conditioning.”
“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.”
The Brooklyn Heights branch library was constructed in 1962 and renovated between 1991 and 1993. New York State estimates that the branch currently needs a renovation that would cost up to $13,872,127.89.
One mother and daughter walked all the way from Carroll Gardens to return their books because the Carroll Gardens branch — an official New York City Cooling Center — is closed for two months for renovations.
“It’s kind of far,” they said as they rushed to get out of the sun.