The Island Park Public Library most likely will not reopen until the beginning of the new year as a result of Hurricane Sandy, according to Fred Seeba, of BBS Architects and Engineers, a Patchogue-based company that is making repairs to buildings — including the library — that are owned by the Island Park School District.
At a meeting of the library’s board of trustees on Dec. 5, Seeba said that although the building has heat and electricity, work is still being done on the floors. An environmental consultant has not yet been able to conduct an air-quality test because of the dust created by the construction of floors and walls.
“The main work for the building, with the exception of the carpet, should be done within the next couple of weeks,” Seeba explained. “It’s looking like the building itself will be in pretty good shape by the end of the year.”
He also said that one of the biggest issues the library will face is getting new furniture, because the company that supplied most of the now ruined furniture went into bankruptcy last year.
Another problem, Seeba said, is that most of the bookshelves were lost when the facility flooded, and will take time to replace. He said that most of the shelves have yet to be ordered because the library has not determined exactly how many it will need.
A representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency explained to the trustees that for the most part, the cost of repairing the building itself would be covered under a claim filed by its owners, the school district. The facility’s contents, however — such as books, shelves and computers — are covered by a claim filed by the library board.
Library Director Michelle Young said that the estimated loss of circulating items in its collection — books, magazines and DVDs — is more than $510,000.
Island Park Board of Education Trustee Richie Hayes expressed dissatisfaction that library officials were not better prepared for Sandy. “How come the building wasn’t prepared for the storm ahead of time?” he asked. “Who would have been responsible for getting the contents, the computers, off the floor? Why wasn’t there someone who was in charge of taking that responsibility on?”