Heatwave forces Geneva to close public libraries

Heatwave forces Geneva to close public libraries
The Saint-Jean municipal library in Geneva already closed its children's section late last week because of the heat. Photo: Geneva municipal libraries/Facebook
The ongoing heatwave in the city of Geneva has forced authorities to close seven municipal libraries on Tuesday because they lack air conditioning.

Libraries are the sort of place that members of the public seek out when the weather is hot.

But in Geneva, the lack of cooling systems in the municipal libraries has made them among the most uncomfortable places to be.

On Monday, the branches were closed to the public as usual, but some of them registered temperatures of between 32C and 35C inside.

MeteoSwiss, the national weather office, forecast highs of 37C for Geneva on Tuesday.

Given the intensity of the heat, library management decided to close the doors to the public.

“We are obliged to take this decision because we have not been able to put in place the prevention measures foreseen within the context of the 2015 heatwave plan,” Véronique Pürro, municipal library director told the Tribune de Genève newspaper.

“We cannot open the windows at night for security reasons,” Pürro said.

“So we can’t lower the temperature.”

The closure is aimed at protecting staff as well as members of the public.

Library branches in the Eaux-Vives, La Jonction, Saint-Jean, Servette, Pâquis, Minoteries and La Cité neighbourhoods will be shuttered for the day.

The Geneva museum of art and history was also forced to close its doors on the weekend because of the boiling temperatures.

The temperature in certain rooms in the museum, which dates from 1910 and is badly in need of renovation, rose on Friday to as much as 34 degrees, the Tribune reported.

Residents of most parts of Switzerland will have to wait until Wednesday for relief from the heat in the form of forecast cooler weather and rain showers.

MeteoSwiss predicted Basel will be the hottest place in Switzerland on Tuesday with an expected high of 38 degrees, while top temperatures of 37C are expected in Sion and 36C in Zurich.

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