DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When the North Texas sun is blazing and air conditioners struggle to cool, when there is no other place to hide from the heat, some people find a quiet, cold place to shelter among the shelves in the local library.

Robin Harris is one of those people.  She sat quietly in the Fort Worth Central Library using one of the computer terminals Friday.

“The economy is getting better,” Harris said.  “But it is still very, very rough for many people.”

Harris is on a tight budget.  And her electric bill runs, “Around $170,” Harris said.  “And in a one bedroom apartment that’s expensive…I’m whittling away at my little nest egg.”

So, Harris turns off her A/C and enjoys the air here.

Library attendence rises with temperatures.  Fort Worth’s libraries see about a 20% increase in visitors when temperatures are at their highest.   And many of those guests stay all day.

Some are staying off the sizzling streets until night shelters open.  We met a teen who’s mom works downtown and she needs a cool place to hang out during work hours.  No matter the situation, all are welcome.

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

“Here you could come in the morning and leave when they close,” said John James who comes four times a week not just for the free A/C but also to use the wi-fi.

And for Harris, every hour spent here is an hour her air conditioner isn’t running up her electric bill.

“That’s really important when you’re on a budget,” Harris said.  “It’s expensive to run the A/C.  And when you’re in triple digits it saves me quite a bit of money so I don’t have to run my A/C.”

There is one other time library attendances spike and that is when people are escaping the coldest days of the year.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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