The last two branches of the New York Public Library to be closed in the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy super-storm have re-opened: the Hamilton Fish Park Library on Manhattan and the Dongan Hills Library on Staten Island. Several branches of the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) remain closed in the aftermath of the super-storm: the Coney Island Library, the Coney Island Learning Center, the Gerritsen Beach Library, the Red Hook Library, and the Sheepshead Bay Library. Bookmobile Service will be provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in front of the Coney Island Library and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. in front of the Gerritsen Beach Library.
Workman Publishing has donated ten boxes of books and the non-profit organization LitWorld has donated over 100 books to be distributed via BPL Bookmobiles. Thus far, BPL Bookmobiles have distributed over 1,400 free books to children. BPL Bookmobiles are also giving out free copies of The Great Storm & Flood Recovery Children’s Story & Recovery Book/Recuperación después de la gran tormenta y la inundación Cuento Infantil y Cuaderno de Actividades, which parents can also download at the Mentor Research Institute’s Web site.
FEMA will be on hand at three locations to answer questions and help fill out forms: Brighton Beach Branch from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays, from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays, and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays; the Kings Bay Branch from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays, from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays, and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays; and the Central Library from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. The Uni Project, which had to close its office for a week due to a power failure, had a pop-up library in Coffee Park in front of the Red Hook Library on the afternoon of Sunday, November 11, 2012.
The Gravesend Library is closed until further notice while it undergoes renovations. The New Lots Library is also closed to undergo renovations, and is scheduled to re-open on Christmas Eve (as if it was a Christmas present).
The Saratoga Library is closed to undergo repairs until Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. The Walt Whitman Library will be closed temporarily for customer service enhancements at the end of business on Friday, December 14, 2012, and will re-open on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 10:00 a.m..
The super-storm struck Queens hard. The Queens Borough Public Library reported four branches were “all-but destroyed.” Approximately 100,000 books and DVDs were destroyed in four of the five branches in the Rockaways, including 40,000 books at the Peninsula Branch.
In “Despite Ruin, Library Offers Books and Community,” Vivian Yee described the damage at the Peninsula Branch in The New York Times.
Nearly four feet of water had smashed through the Peninsula branch’s glass front, tearing thousands of books from the shelves and spewing them onto the sidewalk. Outside, sand, debris, glass and pieces of boardwalk covered the road, and the National Guard patrolled the streets. Recovery centers had not yet opened. So the library, a natural community center, stepped unto the breach.
The Arverne Community Library re-opened on Monday, November 19, 2012. The Broad Channel Community Library and the Seaside Community Library are temporarily closed due to storm damage.
Queens Library branches in the hardest-hit areas are now temporarily open seven days a week: the Arverne, Far Rockaway, Howard Beach, and Peninsula Branches. A colorful bus, the Mobile Library, is operating outside the Peninsula Community Library. All open branches are collecting gently-used coats in collaboration with the 24th Annual New York Cares Coat Drive.
Effective Sunday, December 2, 2012, the Queens Library’s Central Library’s Media Center will be “closed while we move to our new expanded home.” While it undergoes renovations, the Elmhurst Community Library at 85-08 51st Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens, New York City, is at a temporary location, 85-05 51st Avenue. The Glen Oaks Community Library is currently at its temporary location across the street.
The Queensboro Hill Branch is closed while it undergoes renovations. The Ravenswood Branch, at 35-32 21 Street, and Queensbridge Bridge, at 10-43 41 Avenue, both in Long Island City, now serve as family literacy centers and are closed for general library service.
Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) is accepting donations of children’s books and money to purchase children’s books. Send donations to Urban Libraries Unite, 45-06 Queens Blvd, Suite 120, Sunnyside, NY 11104. Include a note that the contribution is for Sandy Relief efforts.
The New York Public Library, now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street will be closed on Sunday, December 2, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to “transform into a merry winter wonderland for our annual Holiday Open House” for the Friends of the Library. There will be puppet shows, storytellers, circus acts, arts and crafts, face-painting, the Grinch, Scrooge, Mother Goose, Frosty the Snowman, Christmas carols, tours of the Rose Main Reading Room, and exhibitions “Lunch Hour NYC” and “Charles Dickens: The Key to Character.” The Holiday Open House is free to members at the $40 level and up.
 The closed library is itself a temporary facility. The old Elmhurst Community Library at 86-01 Grand Avenue closed to be demolished and replaced with a structure twice its size, a $27,000,000 construction project. The new library will open next year, according to an article by Michael Pantelidis in The Queens Courier.