Families visit cooling centers as subway hits 100 degrees

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Minneapolis students who aren’t on summer vacation because of this spring’s teacher strike still had Monday off for Juneteenth — and it was hot.

MINNEAPOLIS— According to the National Weather Servicethe Twin Cities hit 100 degrees on Monday for the first time since May 2018. Of course, in the car, the gauge may read even hotter.

“On the dashboard, the temperature read 107,” Pamela Hegeholz said during a visit to the Hennepin County Washburn Library.

Hegeholz says she drove her 5- and 7-year-old grandchildren about eight blocks to the air-conditioned building. By the time they arrived, the gauge had dropped to around 101 degrees.

“Well, their mother suggested it this morning,” Hegeholz said of their afternoon visit to the library. “They swam in their backyard pool this morning.”

Due to the pandemic, it had been a few years since they had checked the books. Associate Librarian Cassandra Hendricks, who has worked at Washburn for six months, says many families are returning.

Hendricks says there are several activities planned, not just for extremely hot days, but throughout the summer. For example, 10 photos are currently displayed in the Library for a Pride Month scavenger hunt. There’s also a summer reading challenge for kids and teens to submit a drawing or book report on a book they’ve read, which allows them to receive a free book to keep.

“We missed a lot of community,” Hendricks said. “It was nice to see people. We now have prints for anyone with a library card… We have meeting rooms if you come with a group and art supplies and different things. When we have a lot of people, we pull out our imagination hats and imagine a project to do with people.”

There are 41 libraries throughout the county. Many are located along bus routes and are open five to seven days a week. Importantly, on a hot day, most also have a designated eating and drinking area.

For those who venture outdoors, it is important to know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The latter involves a rapid, strong pulse and sometimes loss of consciousness – this is when you call for help.

Hennepin, Ramsey, and Dakota counties all list public libraries as cooling centers. There are also government buildings, beaches and swimming pools.

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