Library Gets $1.5 Million Worth Of Repairs, Pleasing Local Residents

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Sandy is celebrating the reopening of its library 11 months after the storm.

The Gerritsen Beach Library has shiny new floors, bright new lights and shelves full of new CDs, DVDs and books, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported Monday.

“I’m so excited,” resident Selma Albin said. “It looks beautiful. I’m going to be renewed coming here.”

“We came in last week to get some stuff set up. We were in disbelief because we couldn’t imagine that it was finally here after waiting so long. It was incredible,” library circulation supervisor Alysa O’Donnell said.

The library was devastated by Sandy.

“This building was completely flooded. If you look out the window behind me you can see that it sits right on a canal, so we had feet of water. We lost the entire collection that was here and because the salt water is corrosive we lost all the electrical systems,” said Linda Johnson, president of the Brooklyn Public Library. “The library was completely decimated. We had to take absolutely everything out of the building.”

Eleven months and more than $1.5 million later, the library boasts three reading rooms, expanded computer stations, automated self-checkout, Wi-Fi and a dedicated area for children under 5, something that’s already proving to be very popular.

“It’s really beautiful if you look around, they have like frog tables and a choo-choo train and he looks very excited. Usually it’s hard for me to chase him, but he’s actually staying in this area, so it must work,” David Burger said of his grandson.

“We’re very happy to bring the children back to the riff program and everything they have here,” Barbara Wasserman said.

“We visit this library all the time, so we’re glad to have it back,” resident Gary Wasserman said.

The Gerritsen Beach Library was one of six Brooklyn Public Library branches impacted by Sandy. Four reopened earlier this year.

The last one in Coney Island will open in late October, Finch reported.

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