The floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy destroyed and disrupted so much, bringing all sorts of public services to a standstill: even the borrowing of a best selling novel from the local library has been impossible in Belmar since the storm.
But the Belmar Public Library has spent the last 36 days working to resume services after the storm damaged much of the first floor, namely leaving the building without power.
With power restored, the Belmar Public Library will reopen for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, the first day the building has been open to the public since the storm.
At 3 p.m., a special event will celebrate the reopening, with light refreshments, face painting and more.
Basic lending services will be available, but the first floor remains closed for renovations.
According to the library, the building was in the middle of renovation when the storm hit. "The lower level of the Library suffered the main brunt of damage from Hurricane Sandy, with loss of heating and electrical services forcing full building closure. The building is safe to occupy and has lighting and heat. The lower level will remain closed for further repair of damages caused by the storm."
At Monday's Borough Council meeting, the borough agreed to go out to bid for work on a ramp and elevater shaft. The library already has a new roof and refurbished stucco siding, renovated water drainage system, newly-paved driveway and parking area, new carpeting and a redesigned computer station.
Though the building reopens Friday, it's not yet Americans with Disabilities Act accessible, meaning anyone who would use a ramp to enter the building can instead receive curbside service, library staff announced.
Despite renovations and the storm, the community eagerly awaited the library's reopening, said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.
“I am thrilled to announce that the library is being returned to our residents, this marks another important milestone in our recovery efforts,” said the mayor in a prepared statement.
Doherty said that basic services will be available as renovations continue. The building is safe.
“Early on in the disaster recovery process, our residents and patrons expressed concern for the library and inquired as to an anticipated reopening date. Borough staff has worked hard to ensure the building is safe and reopen basic lending services while work to the lower level continues.” Doherty said.
The process for those who have accessibility issues is:
In addition to our book collection, including audio books and large print books, and DVD selections, we are offering curbside service to our patrons with special needs. In the absence of the use of the handicapped-accessible ramp, we will accommodate our patrons who need additional assistance with returning or checking out library materials by meeting them curbside. Call the Library at 732-681-0775 and give us your name, card numbers, items you wish to check out and the time you will arrive. Please let us know if you will also be returning library materials.
The library hours are a bit different post-Sandy. Here is the schedule:
- Monday and Wednesday – 9 am to 8 pm
- Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – 9 am to 5 pm
- Saturday – 9 am to 2 pm