Five libraries that served patrons in Jersey Shore towns devastated by Hurricane Sandy remain shuttered months after the storm as they wrangle with the same questions many residents now face: How much of the storm damage will insurance cover? When will that money arrive? What is the best way to rebuild?
With few firm answers available, timelines for reopening those libraries are sketchy. As recovery and rebuilding efforts continue, library officials said the absence of those facilities leaves another open wound in communities trying to heal from historic damage.
In Monmouth County, libraries in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, as well as a branch of the county library system in Oceanport, are still closed because of storm damage. Two branches of the Ocean County Library — the Bay Head Reading Center and the Upper Shores branch in Lavallette — also have not reopened.
Tens of thousands of books and magazines, CDs and DVDs that once circulated through those communities are now trash, another layer in the mounds of debris collected from homes and businesses flooded during the storm.
“We lost our entire collection,” said Judith Bakos, director of the Monmouth Beach library, which was inundated by 30 inches of water during storm. “What wasn’t underwater was contaminated.”
New Jersey: 5 Jersey Shore Libraries Wait for Next Chapter After Hurricane Sandy
Filed by February 19, 2013on