2013-01-11 / Top Stories

Library Tour Emphasizes Need For Disaster Aid

By Miriam Rosenberg


CEO Thomas Galante, Borough President Helen Marshall, CB 14 Chair Delores Orr, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer consider the damage at the Arverne branch. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg CEO Thomas Galante, Borough President Helen Marshall, CB 14 Chair Delores Orr, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer consider the damage at the Arverne branch. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Elected officials joined Thomas Galante, the president and CEO of the Queens Library, last week to tour the libraries in Rockaway that sustained damage from Superstorm Sandy in October.

The storm caused a total of $7.62 million in damage and ruined more than 100,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials at the Arverne Library, the Peninsula Library in Rockaway Beach, the Seaside Library in Rockaway Park and the Broad Channel Library. All four branches suffered extensive interior damage.

The damage is especially disheartening at the Arverne and Seaside Libraries where both reopened in 2010 after extensive renovations.

Galante said that the Queens Library is currently working with the city and FEMA to begin the rebuilding process.


Everything came off the Arverne Library’s walls. Everything came off the Arverne Library’s walls. “We’ve been directed by FEMA that the library reconstruction will be done through a city fund,” said Galante on January 7th.

He added “The city at this point is putting up the funding needed for the capital reconstruction…. Their goal is to have that replenished through a FEMA process down the road.”

The library is seeking private funding to help with operating costs and to run programs.

Congressman Gregory Meeks said he had helped secure $50,000 from Turkish American community organizations and hoped other funding sources would emerge.

Meeks was quick to add that it is imperative that the remaining $51 billion disaster aid bill for Superstorm Sandy is passed in Washington so that the mayor and governor can direct the money where it is most needed, like rebuilding the libraries.

The congressman is scheduled to hold a fundraiser for Sandy relief in Washington during the upcoming inauguration.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. said that a Senate Task Force will recommend to Governor Cuomo how and where money and libraries should be a priority.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee, said he will push city officials to speed up the funding process for the repairs.

Service has already been restored in trailers at the Arverne and Peninsula Libraries and one will soon open at Seaside. The Broad Channel Library is scheduled to reopen at the end of this month or the first week of February. Among those who joined the tour were Councilman Eric Ulrich, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder and Hayden Horsham representing state Senator James Sanders Jr.

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