The Broad Channel Library Is Back!
More than 90 people crowded inside the small library branch to celebrate its official grand re-opening on Wednesday morning, March 6th.
Mrs. Ryan’s fourth-graders from Broad Channel’s P.S. 47 joined the festivities, sharing with the community and invited guests what the library means to them.
Their artwork and messages are currently proudly on display at the library.
Commissioner David Burney, Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Nazli Parvizi, Councilmembers Eric Ulrich, Jimmy Van Bramer and Vincent Gentile and Borough President Helen Marshall.
Representatives for State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Representative Gregory Meeks and State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder also attended.
The Broad Channel branch took in up to two feet of water during Hurricane Sandy’s surge and suffered $940,000 in damage, including the loss of more than 16,000 books and other library items.
Broad Channel residents checked on the library directly after the storm. Through moisture fogged windows, they reported seeing tumbled over furniture and scattered, soaked books, videos and other materials.
Progress on the structure’s restoration has been anxiously watched every step of the way by residents of the tightknit island neighborhood.
The Broad Channel library was originally dedicated on July 17th, 1990, after a long and hard fought campaign to establish a branch there. Today is an important part of the community.
When the branch re-opened on Tuesday, February 19th, both staff and residents greeted each other warmly.
Both were thrilled to have “their” library back.
The library’s Carol Scheper, Joseph Partee, Bill Schulz and Jo Marie Rissmeyer all expressed their concern for Broad Channel through the storm and its aftermath. Often they watched news reports and got word from friends in the area.
Rissmeyer and her family are longtime residents of Broad Channel.
Librarian Scheper, a volunteer EMT, was on duty the night of the storm. A 10 plus year member of the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department, she was recently awarded the Joseph Daley Award for EMT of the Year.
BC Civic Association President Dan Mundy Jr., speaking to CBS News, said ““Two feet of water came through, destroyed all the books.
“The walls, the floors, everything. The electronics and the furniture were also wiped out.
“But today, you’d never know it.”
Broad Channel is one of four Rockaway area libraries that were severely damaged by the storm and required extensive interior repairs.
According to the Queens Public Library officials, repairs are underway at the library in Rockaway Park. It is expected to re-open in summer 2013.
Libraries in Arverne and Rockaway Beach will be closed for several months. They are serving the community from temporary buildings in the meantime. Overall Queens Library locations suffered $7.6 million in damage, including $2.2 million in destroyed books and other library materials.
The Broad Channel library, located at 16-26 Cross Bay Boulevard, has an average circulation of up to 40,000 items per year within the small island community.