The Long Beach Public Library, which has remained closed after it sustained major damage during Hurricane Sandy, will reopen on Wednesday, March 27, at 9 a.m.
On March 9, more than 70 volunteers turned out to help organize approximately 150,000 books on the library’s shelves. Library Director George Trepp said that approximately 85 percent of the main branch’s book collection was salvaged after the storm, and materials were put in 2,740 boxes that were stored in the second-floor auditorium and other areas.
Trepp said that the storm caused more than $389,000 in damage and that the Long Beach School District, which owns the building, hired a remediation firm to gut the first floor and make repairs.
“Volunteers were putting the shelves in order — what happened is that the movers brought down the boxes, but they were not required to put them in shelf order because it could have cost an additional $13,000 to $14,000,” Trepp said.
He said the library received an insurance reimbursement of more than $400,000, but is waiting to hear if it is eligible for state and Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to cover costs associated with the storm.
“A lot of the repair work has been done but there is still stuff coming in — in the last two days, they were fixing the circulation desk and reference desk and putting in platforms for new bookshelves to raise them … there is still some work going on,” he told the Herald last week. Trepp said that the library is expected to resume its services at the main branch on March 27, and discussions about events and programs are already underway.
Although work is not complete — stack ends are due at the end of the month, quiet study refurnishing is scheduled for the week of April 8 and cabinetry for three areas is due in mid April — Trepp said that the library will be able to provide all services. Residents are being asked not to return any wet or moldy items.
“We’re talking about an April music festival, and we’re going to start up slowly,” he said. “I think it’s a sign of the recovery and we hope that it will be like a beacon for the community.”