People looking for respite from the heat won't find it at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library, where the air-conditioning system went kaput six weeks ago.
"It's been a tough, sweaty summer," library director Michael Squillante said Tuesday. "Trying to get this fixed has been my full-time job. I'm sorry that it is uncomfortable. I hope they [patrons] can be patient until this problem is rectified."
The temperature inside the library has impacted attendance, according to Squillante, who said 17,018 people visited in July 2017 compared with 14,917 last month, representing a 12.3 percent decline. The air conditioning broke on July 2, and it may not be repaired until around Labor Day, he said.
Temperatures have been recorded as high as 98 degrees on the library's second floor, Squillante said.
Two industrial fans, eight portable air-conditioning units and midsize fans throughout the building have literally been keeping people from losing their cool inside the 35,000-square-foot library.
Patrons and employees alike on Tuesday were seen wiping sweat from their brows.
"The longer you sit in there, the hotter it gets," said Jay Foley, 79, of Bay Shore. Foley, who visits the library at least twice a week with his wife, Agnes, 77, said the couple are avid readers.
The library has used a geothermal system that requires water from a nearby well, Squillante said. A rusted screen at the bottom of the 250-foot well made it impossible for a pump to suck up well water for the system, Squillante said.
Workers have to dig a new well that will cost the library about $130,000, Squillante said. The library closed for 2 1/2 days shortly after the air conditioning broke because of a combination of hot temperatures and time to diagnose the problem, Squillante said.
Carolina Immoor, 40, of Bay Shore, was at the library Tuesday with her 6-year-old son and 7-year-old niece. Immoor visits the library about three times a week to keep the kids busy with activities, such as arts and crafts. However, she said, sweltering temperatures inside have her and the children bookmarking their library time.
“Instead of staying an hour, we stay half, or 20 minutes and have to leave because they’re all sweaty and thirsty,” Immoor said.