The Oceanport branch of the Monmouth County Library reopened on Monday, July 1, eight months after sustaining extensive flood damage during Superstorm Sandy.
"The Monmouth County Library Commission is pleased that the Oceanport branch will be back up and running after suffering such a devastating blow last October in Superstorm Sandy," said Renee B. Swartz, chair of the Library Commission. "We know the library plays a vital part in the Oceanport community and residents have missed their library terribly."
Library patrons can check out books and DVDS and pick up their holds at the refurbished library. Children's story times will also resume the week of July 1.
The branch will begin its usual hours on July 1. The library is open 1 to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. In addition it is open 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The new branch manager will be Katie Kenny.
"The Board of Freeholders would like to thank the officials of Oceanport for their tireless efforts to help put the Oceanport branch back together physically, and also thank the residents of Oceanport for their patience in waiting to get their library back." said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Library. "We are glad that this reminder of Sandy's devastation in the area has finally been rectified."
For more photos of the re-opening, visit the Library's Facebook page!
The Oceanport branch, which is located in the Oceanport Borough Hall complex off Myrtle Avenue, sustained widespread flood damage during Sandy as did the rest of the Borough Hall building.
The library now has a new circulation desk and new shelving. The library area has been thoroughly cleaned and repainted. It's quite a contrast to late October, when more than 18 inches of river water and muck washed into the library.
Close to 18,000 items – including books, CDs, DVDs and periodicals – were either flooded or otherwise contaminated and had to be disposed, according to Monmouth County Library Director Ken Sheinbaum. Under FEMA guidelines, all books and other library materials exposed to floodwaters had to be disposed of, Sheinbaum said. Library computers, printers, shelving, desks and furniture were also damaged in the storm.
In April, the Monmouth County Library received an insurance settlement of $283,704 to restore the collection of library materials to the Oceanport branch. The Monmouth County Library System is responsible for the replacement of the library collection items, according to Sheinbaum. The borough of Oceanport, which owns the building, worked to make the physical repairs.
The Monmouth County Library System has 13 branches and 14 member libraries. Oceanport was the only branch that sustained severe damage during Sandy.
Two member libraries of the Monmouth County Library System, Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, were severely damaged during Sandy and remain closed, as their municipalities grapple with rebuilding.
Member library Oceanic Free Library in Rumson has extended library borrowing privileges to the residents of Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach while their libraries are closed. Residents of Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach can also use the services at the Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury.