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Gerritsen Library shows off $1.5 million fix

Brooklyn Daily
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The Gerritsen Beach Library has been renewed.

The neighborhood branch on Gerritsen Avenue was checked out for nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy flooded the building and ruined the roof, but the Gerritsen Beach Library is finally back in the book-lending business as of their Sept. 30 reopening, with more space and even a few extra gadgets.

“In a lot of respects, we’re better than before,” said library supervisor Christine Dille.

The book lender, like many homes and businesses throughout Gerritsen Beach, was flooded during last October’s superstorm, which ruined the floor, the boiler, and the electrical wiring — not to mention hundreds of books.

The branch’s roof, which a Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman said was already in bad shape, sprang a few extra leaks, as well.

In fact, just about the only thing that wasn’t replaced at the Gerritsen Beach Library was its wooden frame, according to Brooklyn Public Library president Linda Johnson, who spoke of the old building’s skeleton in downright poetic terms.

“It’s got good bones,” said Johnson. “It has nice, high ceilings and beams. I’m glad we were able to keep that.”

But after extensive renovations costing $1.5 million, the Gerritsen Avenue branch is back with two new meeting rooms, a new roof, wi-fi, two self-checkout machines, and twice as many computers, among other technological improvements.

“Compared to before the storm, it looks a lot better,” said Gerritsen Beach-resident Chris Santiago, who inspected the branch on reopening day with his wife and son. “I really like it.”

For the staff at the Gerritsen Beach branch, many of whom live in the neighborhood and suffered Sandy damage of their own, Monday morning was as much a reunion as a reopening celebration.

After the library was closed following the storm, the staffers there were sent to different branches across the borough, and some hadn’t seen each other since before the storm — until Monday.

“Wherever they needed us, that’s where we would go,” said Dille. “But we’re all really happy to be back. It’s such a lovely branch, and it’s a lovely community.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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