The crane behind the Chestnut Hill branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is part of a construction team that will be replacing the building's air conditioning system this summer. (Photo by the Chestnut Hill Library)

by Allie Schreffler

As the large crane outside the Chestnut Hill branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia suggests, the branch at 8701 Germantown Ave. is currently undergoing construction.

The library recently announced that it will close for a period of time, beginning on Monday, June 4, in order to update its current air conditioning system. Right now, several large fans are blasting on high power, but the whole building is still hot, even though the weather was only in the mid-’70s this morning.

Since the library plans to replace the system throughout the entire building, branch manager Margaret Brunton said that the library “really can’t say” when it will reopen. Even though workers have begun to update the current system, which is at least 20 years old, this will be a large project. In addition, Brunton said the library is hesitant to estimate when it will reopen because it is factoring in the delays and mishaps that often occur during such projects. For now, the staff plans to cancel all of the library’s programs throughout June, and they will later assess whether they need to cancel programs for a longer period of time. All they can say for sure is that the library will reopen “whenever the project is finished.”

Brunton also emphasized that, although the building itself will be closed, the book drop will remain open so that people can return borrowed library materials. These materials, however, will not be removed for a person’s library record until the library reopens, which visitors can explain to staff members at other branches if a problem with overdue items arises at another branch of the Free Library.

During the period of time when the library will be closed, Brunton suggests that local library users visit any of three other nearby branches of the Free Library: Andorra, Lovett, and Wadsworth. For more information about these and other branches of the Free Library, visit