Grants help libraries clean up after Sandy

The East Rockaway Public Library is located at

The East Rockaway Public Library is located at 477 Atlantic Ave. (Aug. 2, 2012) Photo Credit: Amy Onorato

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Two Long Island libraries badly damaged by superstorm Sandy are among the recipients of grants from the New York Council for the Humanities to defray costs for staff working on cleanup efforts.

The Island Park and East Rockaway libraries received $1,500 each from the council, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York.

Thirty grants were given to applicants who estimated they sustained a total of $18.4 million in damages and will need more than 14,500 work hours to clean up their sites.

"We chose this focus, which is a kind of mini-jobs bill, because it is an operating expense that most likely won't be covered by other sources," council executive director Sara Ogger said in a statement.

Other organizations receiving grants are the Suffolk County Archaeological Association, the East End Arts & Humanities Council in Riverhead and the Montauk Historical Society.

The Island Park library sustained $875,000 in damages from 25 inches of floodwaters, according to the council's grants and technology manager Lauren Kushnick. Its entire collection was impacted and staff spent 231 hours cleaning up, she said.

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The East Rockaway library sustained $150,000 in damages, requiring 420 hours of cleaning, after being flooded with 3 inches of stormwaters, Kushnick said. The library's book collection was impacted by mold, carpeting was completely destroyed, 32 computers were affected and furniture that was salvaged needs cleaning, she said.

New York City organizations receiving grants included The New York Botanical Garden, New York City Opera and South Street Seaport Museum.

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