Four Area Libraries Sustain Extensive Storm Damage
They are places for people to meet, have some quiet time reading a book, work on resumes, search the Internet for jobs, or for young people to do homework. They are our libraries. Now due to the devastation of Superstorm Sandy three of Rockaway’s libraries and the one in Broad Channel will have to undergo extensive repairs for them to reopen to the public.
The Arverne Library on Beach 56 Street, the Peninsula Library on Beach 94 Street, the Seaside Library on Beach 117 Street, and the Broad Channel Library are all going to need extensive repairs. The estimated cost for repairs to the four branches comes to $6.5 million.
“The exteriors of the buildings are OK but the interiors of each were flooded with 3-4 feet of water, the electronics and computers ruined and much of the collection gone,” said Joanne King, a representative for the Queens Library in an email on Tuesday.
King went on to say that “The mo-bile library is parked in front of Pen-insula. It will stay there until the li-brary is re-opened. A temporary building was erected in the lot next to Arverne. Right now, it has only computers and reference service but books will be there in a couple of weeks. We expect Broad Channel will reopen within a few weeks and we are exploring the best options for Seaside. Through December, Howard Beach and Far Rockaway as well as the mobile library [at Peninsula] and the Arverne library will remain open 7 days a week to assist in storm recovery, emergency unemployment insurance and other benefits, as well as to support displaced students.”
While there was damage at the Howard Beach branch it resumed service on November 10. The Far Rockaway Branch and Teen Library in Far Rockaway received very little damage. The Far Rockaway branch, under the direction of its librarian Sharon Anderson, remained open af-ter the storm to distribute relief supplies. A donated generator kept computers going until power was re-stored.
The damage to the Arverne and Seaside Libraries is especially dis-heartening since both re-opened after massive renovations just two years ago.
The Queens Library Foundation has set up an emergency fund to help rebuild the libraries and the library collections. Those who are interested in donating can go to www.queenslibraryfoundtion.org.