Cholla Library, at 10050 Metro Parkway E., is one of four Phoenix libraries offering extended heat relief hours this summer (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

There were 645 heat-related deaths reported in Maricopa County in 2023; 71 percent of those occurred on a day when the Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning, and 45 percent of heat related deaths were among people experiencing homelessness. So, this year, when the county launched its annual Heat Relief Network May 1, it had another partner in helping combat heat-related deaths – the Phoenix Public Library system.

Providing relief from summer heat is not new to Phoenix libraries; they have always been open to residents seeking to come in from the heat during operating hours, and many summers have provided water, cooling towels and heat-related safety information. This year, however they are stepping up their efforts.

For the first time, Phoenix is offering two heat Respite Centers that will be accessible overnight. Burton Barr Central Library will offer a 24-hour respite center and the Senior Opportunities West Senior Center at 7th Ave. and Buckeye will offer overnight respite hours daily from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In addition, three library locations will serve as designated Cooling Centers, offering extended hours. Cholla, Harmon and Yucca Libraries will stay open as Cooling Centers (full library services will not be available during designated extended Cooling Center hours) Mondays through Saturdays until 10 p.m. On Sundays, these three locations will open as designated Cooling Centers only from noon to 10 p.m.

These designated Cooling Centers will remain open for heat relief during city holidays, including Memorial Day, Juneteenth and Independence Day. Respite Centers’ holiday hours will be the same and the Cooling Centers’ holiday hours at the three other library locations will be noon to 10 p.m.

Libraries are working in tandem with Phoenix Human Services Department, Office of Homeless Solutions, Office of Heat Response and Mitigation and others to provide a coordinated response to residents seeking relief during extended hours.

A library spokesperson said, “During those hours, people can come in out of the heat, they can charge a phone, and they can have access if they want to connect with further resources,” and emphasized that this service is available to anyone who needs to get out of the heat.

The regional Heat Relief Network includes an interactive map with more than 124 locations where people can find shade, water and indoor cooling centers, or where those wanting to help can drop off donations, such as bottled water. The network, and the services provided at libraries, will be active through Sept. 30. Residents can find the map at, and find additional resources at, and



Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.