AIR CONDITIONING (more important to libraries than you think)

Photo #1 by KitAY Photo #2 by RichieC (used via CC license)

The recent “heatwave” * that has hit most of the Eastern United States sort of sucks.  No one likes to be sticky and covered in sweat.

However, this is a great opportunity for libraries.**  Why?  It’s simple.  People like to feel good.  Air conditioning gives people a break from the heat and gives them a chance to relax and catch their breath.  Simply stated, people are coming to our libraries to use our air conditioning.  Its not a traditional service, but it is a service that we offer. Let’s take advantage of this awesome situation.

So, they’re coming into our buildings, sitting around, browsing, and relaxing.  Time to put on your happy face.

  • TELL EVERYONE THAT YOU SEE “Hello!  Thanks for coming to the library! It works.  At least you’ll get a smile.  Most of the time, I’ve found that people just want you to break down that wall.  The next thing that may come up is the weather.  Give in and talk about the weather!  It can lead the conversation on an interesting journey.
  • PUT YOUR LIBRARIAN HAT ON! Time for readers/movie/music/gaming advisory.  What I do is come up with a core list in my head of titles that I’m into.  They’re my old standbys.  Most people see librarians as experts on the things that are in our libraries.  They’re happy to hear what we recommend.
  • SMILE!  A simple smile goes a long way in welcoming people into the library.  Never underestimate it.

It is my hope that through small interactions such as these, the public we serve and the governments funding us will begin to view libraries in a new light where they understand the worthwhile contributions the public library makes to our communities.

*(I use quotes because, while it is hot here in Maine, I’ve experience a lot worse.  Try living on the Jersey Shore for two summers)
**(If your library has air conditioning.  If not, RUN!)


  1. And don’t forget to remind your local emergency personnel that you have air conditioning. They may need places for high risk individuals like senior citizens.

  2. Justin–you’ve touch on a great element and libraries need to promote how great they are, even on the most basic level. We had our busiest day ever on Monday when the weather was over 100s. Patrons were glad to have a place to cool off and read (beaches were too hot). You couldn’t even get a seat in the Magazine Room!

  3. No AC here in Bangor, ME. As many know Bangor is the hometown and primary residence of horror author Stephen King. Mr. King donated millions in the late 1990s to the library for a much neened exspansion, however AC was not a luxury they could afford. get lost in a “cool” book.

    • Wow! Really? That’s so nuts. Maybe Mr. King is using your library as an experiment for a new books…”what do patrons do when their library doesn’t have AC?” Hahaha. Just kidding around.

      I need to make it up to your library sometime. I am very curious to explore Bangor!

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