Benton Harbor's hot read

Doors are propped open at the Benton Harbor Public Library to let the cool air in.  That’s right!  On an 80-degree day, they're letting the cool air inside! There’s no air conditioning in the entire building.

“I'd tell you what i think of the heat but I’d get kicked out!” said 16-year-old Vincent Wilson. He comes to the library everyday. He volunteers here, and it’s where he likes to hang out.

The last three weeks of heat have been frustrating for Wilson. He jokes with other teenage volunteers at his table, “Why does Mother Nature hate us so much?”

“It’s amazing what you can get used to if you have to,” says Fred Kirby, the director of the library. He says it’s nothing new. “Our air conditioning died in August of 2010 and it’s taken a long time for us to get a new system ordered and installed.”

He says the library is planning an expansion and a says getting a new system has been a complicated process.

You might think all the heat inside would keep people from showing up. They still are. At least a dozen people were still inside using the computers and checking out books. 

One of those people is Gregory Cook who has to use the internet for his online classes at Lake Michigan College.

“I'm trying to get my school work done but yes it is extremely hot and yes it is ridiculous," he said right before wiping all the sweat off his face.

Not only does Cook have to work in the 90-degree temperatures, but he’s got to work fast. With this heat, the library decided to close it's doors at noon until it's fixed. “We can’t stand to be here any longer and neither can the public," says Kirby.

The conditions can’t keep Wilson away. "Because i’m not going to let mother nature stop me," he said. The library, extreme heat or not, is where he loves to be.

Now there is a silver lining in this story. As of right now the airconditioning is set to be working here on Thursday. Next week this hot spot might be a bit cooler.

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