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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane libraries extend hours for cooling centers

Avery Williams, right, 20, who was visiting Spokane from Brentwood, Tenn., wipes his face down and drinks water with his sister Camille, 16, lower left, as they escape the heat with their mother, Heather Brentwood, not pictured, June 29, 2021, at a downtown cooling center in the same building as the Looff Carrousel in Spokane.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Jase Picanso and Molly Wisor The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Public Libraries are doubling as cooling centers this week as a heat wave bears down on the Inland Northwest.

But few people were taking advantage of the services on Tuesday afternoon.

Along with air conditioning, libraries are providing bottled water and seating for guests.

Tuesday through Saturday, Central, Shadle Park, Liberty Park and Hillyard libraries will be open until 8 p.m., an hour after their usual closing time on weeknights and three hours past their usual closing time on Friday and Saturday.

The heat wave is expected to last until Monday, with temperatures hitting their peak on Friday.

“We’re working closely with the city of Spokane to extend our hours,” Spokane Public Libraries spokesperson Amanda Donovan said.

Although library attendance wasn’t greater than usual at the Liberty Park and Hillyard branches early Tuesday afternoon, staff expect the number of patrons to increase as temperatures climb over 100 degrees over the next few days.

Those visiting the cooling centers will also be able to access the standard library resources until the normal closing time at 7 p.m.

The city has provided funding for security during these extended hours.

The city may add more hours if they are needed once the heat wave hits.

“We are always open for anyone that needs a place to be,” Donovan said.