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Kids spend 100-degree holiday at cooling centers like Washburn Library

Minneapolis students who aren't on summer break because of this spring's teachers strike still had Monday off for Juneteenth — and it was a hot one.

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

"On the dashboard, the temperature, it said 107," Pamela Hegeholz said while visiting Hennepin County's 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 dropped to around 101 degrees.

"Well, their mother suggested that this morning," Hegeholz said of their afternoon library trip. "They swam in their backyard pool this morning."

Due to the pandemic, it'd been a few years since they'd checked out the books. Associate librarian Cassandra Hendricks, who has worked at Washburn for the last six months, says many families are making their way back. 

Hendricks says there are several activities planned, not only for extremely hot days, but throughout summer. For example, 10 photos are currently posted throughout the library for a Pride Month scavenger hunt. There is also a summer reading challenge for kids and teens to submit a drawing or book report about a book they've read, which allows them to receive a free book to keep.

"We missed a lot of community," Hendricks said. "It's been lovely to see people. We have printing now for anyone with a library card … We have meeting rooms if you're coming with a group and art supplies and different things. When we have lots of people in, we pull out our imagination hats and figure out a project to do with people."

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

For those who venture outside, it's important to know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The latter involves a rapid, strong pulse and sometimes losing consciousness — that's when you call for help.

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

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