OCEANPORT – New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) officials presented $1,942 checks to three Monmouth County libraries – Oceanport, Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach – that were damaged last year during Super Storm Sandy.
During a ceremony at the Oceanport Library last month, NJLA Executive Director Patricia Tumulty and NJLA President Eileen Palmer gave the checks to Monmouth County library officials, including Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, library liaison, and Monmouth County Library Commission Chair Renee B. Swartz.
“We are touched by all the people who donated to our libraries damaged by Sandy, and we thank them for their generosity,” Burry said. “We all know how much the residents in Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach and Oceanport value their libraries, and the money will be put to good use.”
Burry noted that many of the Monmouth County library branches and member libraries were able to act as “ports in the storm” during Sandy, offering residents a warm and dry refuge with a place to charge their electronic devices and use public computers.
Swartz emphasized the Monmouth County library’s increasing role in the community. “Hurricane Sandy was yet another example of how the library in recent years has evolved and expanded, so that the library now functions as a true community center for residents,” Swartz saud.
Palmer said the NJLA received calls from people all over the country – and from as far away as Scotland – who wished to help New Jersey libraries damaged by Super Storm Sandy. As a result, the NJLA took in more than $13,000 in donations and formed the Save Our New Jersey Libraries fund, according to Tumulty.
The money raised is being equally distributed to the seven libraries throughout the state that were damaged by the storm. Each library will receive $1,942.
Oceanport branch manager Katie Kenny, Monmouth Beach Library director Judith Bakos and Sea Bright Library director Joan Walsh accepted the checks.
The Oceanport Library, which was flooded with almost 2 feet of water from the Shrewsbury River during Sandy, was closed for renovation for almost nine months, and reopened on July 1.
The library on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright was severely damaged by the storm’s tidal surge, but borough officials are currently renovating the building.
The Monmouth Beach Library is now operating out of a room in the Monmouth Beach Borough Hall until a decision is more about a permanent placement.