Library Acts as "Technology Shelter" to Powerless Residents

Glen Cove Public Library Director Antonia Petrash tells how the facility earned the nickname “technology shelter” during the post-storm outages.

The outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene ; some went without lights, hot water, refrigeration, cable and internet for a week.

It seems the was able to fill a void for many, as the facility never lost power after the storm and was able to provide internet access and outlets to those in desperate need of recharging.

“There were people everywhere, in every nook and cranny,” according to Library Director Antonia Petrash, saying residents flocked to the building during the week of Aug. 28, especially on Monday, Aug. 29, and Tuesday, Aug. 30.

The library had become synonymous with technology, leading one clever resident to give it a nickname.

“One of our patrons said, ‘It’s so nice that you’re here, we’re so grateful. You guys are the technology shelter of Glen Cove,’” said Petrash.

On a tour of the library nine days after the storm, Petrash pointed out places that had been the most heavily populated: those closest to outlets. Residents who brought their own laptops and phones plugged in wherever they were available.

The new Quiet Room at the library was filled to capacity, with every single chair taken, according to Petrash.

“One woman brought in a huge monitor on a cart - I guess it was her home computer - and she put it up on the desk,” she recalled. “She was there every day, for a couple of days.”

In addition to increased internet usage, Petrash said the bookshelves had been “made bare,” saying people were taking out books in anticipation of continued outages.

“I’m hoping...they remember the library now - not just in a storm - but throughout the year,” she said.

For some, the days following Irene were chaotic. However, Petrash was delighted the library could provide technological relief to the community.

“We were the hot spot - literally - in town,” she said. “It was fun, we had a good time with it.”


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