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Library Becomes Second Home After Storm

Plainview library officials said foot traffic tripled in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Over the last three days, Plainview resident Sharie Papush has spent so much time at the , she even ate dinner in the lobby Tuesday night.

“I’m sitting here so often now, so many hours of the day,” she said. “I feel like we should all be paying our LIPA bills to the library.”

In light of the fact that thousands of homes still remain without power, the Plainview library has become the go-to place for locals in the area. The did not reopen until this morning, which also accounted for the huge mass earlier this week.

“It’s been a little hectic, but we’re trying to accommodate everybody. People are coming from Bethpage, Hicksville, Syosset, all over,” said Sandi Silkes, head of reference.

“We couldn’t find enough places to put everybody, but we did the best we could. We found spaces for them all over, anywhere there was an outlet," she said.

Silkes said foot traffic at the Plainview library tripled yesterday, as many powerless residents came to recharge their phones and get work done.

“Growing up in Plainview, I think the library has come a long way,” said Plainview resident Alan Biren. “I used to sit in the back of the reference room and study for the SATs. Now I’m back here making sure I get my day job done.”

For several hours on Wednesday, Biren came equipped with his laptop, phone and even a power strip to make sure he was guaranteed a power source.

“We want to be the go-to place for the community and even outside the community,” Silkes said. “I’ve been here for 12 years and there were people here in the last few days that I have never seen before.”

The Plainview Library never lost power during or after the storm. But the library had no internet access or Wi-Fi until Tuesday morning. The library’s internet runs through a server in Uniondale, which lost power, Silkes said.

“Not that we would ever want to do it again, but this has proved to be a way to get people to come into the library,” she said.

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