The downtown Birmingham Public Library will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays, starting Saturday, May 10. The reason is because of a broken air conditioner, which could take about six weeks to repair. The library has already implemented temporary, reduced hours for the work week. It will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and closed on Sundays. The hours do not affect the system’s other 18 locations.
The lack of air conditioning developed after a January cold snap ruptured an air conditioning coil in the library’s main handler. The Birmingham City Council has approved funding for the repairs. Staff is currently waiting for specially-ordered parts to arrive. Repairs are expected to be made in six weeks or sooner.
Because of rising temperatures, additional changes have been made at the downtown location. They include:
- To keep down heat within the building, all downtown public computers will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- The East Building’s third floor will close every day at 12:00 p.m.
- Tinted cellophane has been placed on East windows of the library’s East Building to help reduce the heat.
- The Youth Department will provide free snow cones on Friday afternoons.
- Some employees have been temporarily assigned to other library locations.
Employees continue to serve the public. They are helping patrons find books, movies, DVDs and CDs; assisting students with school research papers on scientists and inventors; and helping patrons locate business resources and grant opportunities in the library and online. They are also focused on launching Summer Reading, designed to encourage children to read for pleasure, on Monday, May 12.
This is the first time in about 10 years that employees have had to deal with a lack of air conditioning at the downtown library. “Various departments are working with us to expedite getting this problem solved,’’ said Renee Blalock, library director. “We are very grateful to our staff and the public for being so understanding.”