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Work To Reopen Coney Island Branch Of Brooklyn Public Library Continues

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TWC News: Work To Reopen Coney Island Branch Of Brooklyn Public Library Continues
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For some New Yorkers, a cooling center can be their local library, but for Coney Island residents, it's not an option, as their library has been shuttered since Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

The Coney Island branch of the Brooklyn Public Library has been boarded up for nearly nine months now.

The library is just a shell after the whole first floor was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, but the rebuilding is underway for a new era.

"The opportunity for us is to actually open a better branch than was here before the storm," said Linda Johnson, president of the Brooklyn Public Library. "We've got this opportunity to build a better children's area, to move functions around within the building, to install self-check machines so that the librarians who are working here can spend more time with the patrons instead of on administrative functions."

Lines on a plaque inside the building indicate how high the floodwaters reached. Pictures captured the extent of the destruction.

"We got in here very quickly and sort of assessed the damage, but then, it took a while to deconstruct the place and to move all the materials out," Johnson said. "It was no small task to do that."

No small amount of money is needed. The Coney Island branch was the hardest hit, with damages estimated at more than $2.5 million. The Brooklyn Public Library received some insurance money, and funding has also came from grants. The latest round was donated by AIG and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

"This is obviously a focus because it is the one with the largest, the biggest needs and the most expensive needs," Johnson said.

Six branches were affected by the storm. Gerritsen Beach is scheduled to reopen in September. Coney Island will be the last to reopen in October.

Since the branch has been closed, the Brooklyn Public Library has been sending out its bookmobile here to Mermaid Avenue three times a week.

Residents said they're ready to get their library back.

"I miss getting books here," said one person. "I really like it here."

"I haven't been able to use this in a while, ever since Hurricane Sandy," said another.

"It's really going to help a lot of people around here who can't access books without this library," said a third.

Library officials said that books are already being sorted off site to be delivered to the library in the coming months. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP