When flood waters rushed into Oceanport's Borough Hall during Hurricane Sandy's surge, the public library occupying the west end of the building filled with about a foot and a half of water that destroyed the entire book collection.
"It was really devastating to walk in there and see the damage," said Kate Hardy, Oceanport's librarian who had just started working in the borough five months before Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29.
Hardy said she's spent the past three months trying to replace the approximately 16,000 items the Oceanport Library lost to the flood. She said she has about 3,000 books waiting in storage at the Monmouth County Library's headquarters in Manalapan to start rebuilding the Oceanport collection.
Oceanport's library is part of the county system so while they are responsible for replacing the book and DVD collections and computers, the borough is handling the remediation of the libray's space in borough hall and replacing shelving, tables and chairs.
Borough Administrator and Clerk Kim Jungfer said that the space has been remediated and that they are working on replacing the shelving. She said the borough hopes to have the library reopened by the end of March.
In the meantime, Hardy is spending her time working out of the county's main branch and pitching in at satellite branches when needed. She's ready, though, to get back to Oceanport.
"We'll be better than ever," she said.