For the past two weeks, the Roxborough Library has been closed - a victim of a broken air-conditioning system - leaving residents to seek other places to beat the heat, socialize or check out a library book.
Sandy Horrocks, vice president of external affairs for Free Library of Philadelphia, said the air conditioners stopped working on May 25 and the city hopes to reopen the library June 15. It will cost $30,000 to repair the building's two air-conditioning compressors, which date back to 1969, when the library opened.
Chris Erb and his son, Charlie, didn't know it was closed before walking to the library Tuesday afternoon. Charlie, 5, likes going to the library to check out dinosaur books. While they waited outside the library, located in the 6200 block of Ridge Avenue, a helpful librarian brought out five dinosaur books for Charlie to read.
"I have to say they're being wonderful," said Chris Erb, 46. "(Charlie) was very disappointed. He loves the library. (The librarian) asked if she could get us anything."
Horrocks said there may be ongoing problems with some of the city's library branches because of their age.
Of the city's 54 branches, 17 were built in the early 1900's, called Carnegie buildings.
"A lot of our buildings are wonderful old buildings but they have leaky roofs, need new windows and have old systems," Horrocks said. "It's a challenge to keep these old buildings running well."
Roxborough residents are disappointed that the library is shut down.
Linda Horn, 64, who often walks her dog past the Roxborough library, said one reason she moved to the neighborhood was because the library is near her house. She goes three or four times a week to read the periodicals.
"It's a big loss," Horn said. "I feel for the people in this neighborhood who have to use the computer center. Some depend on the computers for job-seeking, e-mail and research."
Horn, who lives on the 600 block of Leverington Avenue, said the library serves many people - especially parents who bring their children to reading groups.
"I'd see tons of strollers and moms outside the library," Horn said. "All that is gone."
The Roxborough library is also a place for some residents to go and cool down during hot summer days. It will be closed at a crucial time for those without air-conditioning with the National Weather Service issuing a heat warning for Wednesday and Thursday with temperatures possibly climbing to 99 degrees.
The closest branch for Roxborough library patrons is Andorra, located 2.4 miles northeast of Roxborough. Horrocks said the librarians at Roxborough are working to serve the community by emptying the book drop and notifying residents of the closure. She said there will be waived library fees and extended deadlines for books due while the library is closed.
Horn, who calls herself a regular, said she's ready for it to open.
"I pay a lot of taxes, and I hope it's fixed soon," Horn said. "I expect that from my city."