By Liz Sheehan
MONMOUTH BEACH – The town library has been rebuilt and reopened, and will soon be offering afternoon, evening and Saturday hours again.
“By April 1, the extended hours will be fully implemented,” said Mayor Sue Howard on Wednesday.
Since Super Storm Sandy hit in October 2012, badly damaging the library building, the library has operated from a small section of the great room in Borough Hall, at about half of its previous 30-hour a week schedule. In October, the town welcomed the return of the library to a newly renovated building on Willow Avenue. But the hours remained 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays to Thursdays.
Library Director Judith Bakos said starting April 1, the library will be more broadly accessible again. The hours will be Tuesday and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The renovated library has a spacious section for small children, with shelves full of books displayed to show the colorful illustrations, and one bookcase holding books for school age children, and more on order. There are also DVDs, newspapers and places for quiet reading.
“It’s so much more than books,” said borough resident Dianne Zeigler.
Back before the storm, Zeigler took painting classes at the Monmouth Beach library. “I now paint on a regular basis,” she said. She has entered her work in art shows.
“My life has been fulfilled because of that,” Zeigler said.
The Monmouth Beach library is a “member library” with the Monmouth County Library system. Residents have free memberships to other county library branches, and can order books from them for pick-up in Monmouth Beach during its business hours.
They also have access to the county’s Library On the Go! app, with which they can download select e-books and audio books at any time.
Borough residents pay for their library cards through both a county tax and a municipal tax.
Sea Bright and Oceanport, neighboring towns whose libraries were also made unusable by Sandy have moved to new buildings. Oceanport moved into the town’s community center in April, 2015 and Sea Bright reopened their library in an area rented from the United Methodist Church in July, 2015.
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