I absolutely had not been in a county library in at least a decade when my girlfriend said we should visit the one near our new house sometime. Libraries were my only havens as a kid. They had all of these great after school programs and it was always a place where I knew I could spend hours peering through the seemingly endless shelves of books before I narrowed it down to a few and then comfortably sat in silence reading for hours on end until my parents pulled up to drive me home. I think there was a part of myself that was possibly hoping to recapture some of the magic I felt being in libraries when I was young. But when my girlfriend took my hand and led me through the doors and up towards the front desk, a gross musty odor slammed our noses immediately. The air felt easily about as warm as the 83 degree breeze we just felt while we were still outside. It was also so humid our skin started to feel sticky to the touch. Finally, I turned my head up and looked at what upon first glance seemed to be these large black metal pipes around suspended from end of the ceiling to the other. But then it hit me and I realize that those weren’t dingy old pipes, that’s literally the ductwork for the whole library! Their whole HVAC setup consisted of old 1980s era ventilation ducts covered in ripped apart insulation thta grew black from so many years of dust build up and a poorly maintained air conditioner. The idea of trying to effectively cool any kind of building as large as my library with nearly crumbling ductwork and a poorly maintained air conditioner is literally insane. I don’t remember seeing many people while I was there as well, and and it was a weekend in the summer when school is out and kids are at home. I wonder the number of people who stay away from our local library simply because their old air conditioner is so worthless.