People cooling off for free at Chesterfield libraries

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Some are reading, others are online- but everyone at one Chesterfield library is inside to beat the heat. And since the county doesn't offer cooling shelters, this is a popular place for free air conditioning.

In the dead of summer people are drawn to cool relief. This is no mirage. It's a library.

"It feels like a furnace outside," said Marcel Ficklin. He has no qualms about parking it inside on a sunny day.

"It's blistering outside. I just want to stay cool and work on this paper because I don't feel like sweating," he said.

Patria McGuire doesn't want to sweat or worry about her pair of grandkids.

"It's a danger because they can't really tell you when they're hot," said McGuire. "They don't really understand it. And they will run around a lot more and get heat exhaustion a lot faster."

So like one of their favorite stories: it's too hot for the park, too hot for the pool, but a seat here is just right.

"We really wanted to get out so we decided to go to the library- read some great books, interact with some children- and beat the heat," said McGuire.

The Chesterfield library system has cut its hours of operation at all 9 locations due to budget cuts. It's hard to tell if it's the changes or the heat that's drawing a crowd.

"What we do know is that there has been an increase on the Thursdays at Central, probably about a couple hundred people on each of the Thursdays," said Carolyn Sears, spokesperson for Chesterfield libraries. She says you don't even need a membership card to sit and read a book. If you do want a card, signing up is free.

"I don't want to go outside. So I wouldn't expect anyone else would," said Sears.

In this heat Patria says only vehicles should sunbathe, everyone else should grab a book and wait for the sun to set.

"Stay in the air conditioning!" McGuire said.

Snacks and covered beverages are allowed and most days there is a line of people waiting for the doors to open.

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Thursday CLOSED ** except for Central Library location
  • Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunday CLOSED

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