Catherine, a resident of Rockaway Beach, Queens


"You wear your scarves and mittens in the cold and still do the job."

What does the library do when a hurricane devastates the entire peninsula? Why you send in the Little Yellow School Bus! You wear your scarves and mittens in the cold and still do the job. At Christmas you bring stuffed animals, a balloon man, and books to keep the children reading. You set up a clothing table and direct people to hot food services, start children’s programs, put out games, and help with forms for FEMA. And you do this six days a week for months while the community begins to recover.


Angela, an artist in Brooklyn


The Far Rockaway Branch was the center for a huge number of people in the Rockaways who were living without electricity, phone service and resources in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Not only did it function as a shelter and meeting point, but it was a food distribution center with more organization than any other center I found. There were lines around the block each day, and the library staff made sure all the food and supplies were divided into individual-sized portions and that the line moved in an orderly fashion. They not only knew what to do at the library, but they did it immediately and they did it right.



Number of New Yorkers without power immediately following the storm

An immigrant in Brooklyn

People who were affected so badly by the hurricane as we were, came to the Sheepshead Bay Library to restore themselves, attending programs and workshops: art of writing for stress relief, express your emotions through writing, art of positive thinking, some of those programs for our children and not only in English, but Russian and Chinese languages as well.

Rebecca, a librarian in the Bronx


After the storm half of Riverdale was without power, including my branch. My cell phone rang endlessly with calls from my team and the public asking when we could open. I believe that some people kept a watchful eye on the branch, because I received about ten calls telling me that the power was back on and that we could open. When we did open, my team and I welcomed our community with hot coffee, donuts, extra programs for bored children, smiles, outlets for charging devices, internet access, and free Wi-Fi.


Number of New Yorkers without power immediately following the storm

Troy, a GED instructor in Queens

Arverne Library, though devastated by Hurricane Sandy, provides not just traditional library services to residents but also computers and internet access, training on a wide variety of subjects, help on resume writing and finding a job, GED test preparation, and Microsoft certification. Perhaps [more funding] could help expedite the restoration of the building so that the staff and community can reestablish much-needed programing to a community still crippled by Sandy.

Book Bus in Peninsula 11-2-12.jpg

A resident of Brooklyn


Gerritsen Beach Library does more than lend books and provide free newspapers and internet access. It is an anchor in a neighborhood that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Without this library there is no community, there is no place for residents to gather, talk about the community, and borrow books to take them to far away places.

Paul, a community group representative


City residents left homeless after the storm

The Red Hook Library was inundated with 18 inches of water during Hurricane Sandy, and was closed for several months following the storm. In spite of its condition, the library was opened up as a warming center during the cold spell that followed the storm, as many Red Hook residents were without heat or electricity, and many more were rendered homeless by the flood.