North Brunswick Public Library will be closed for weeks due to flooding

NORTH BRUNSWICK — If you haven’t finished reading the book you borrowed from the township public library, don’t bother returning it before the due date.

Due to a sewer backup on April 21, the Hermann Road Library was closed for repairs that will take six to seven weeks.

Library materials, such as books, CDs and DVDs, already borrowed with a due date of April 21 and later, have had their due date extended to July 5. No fines will be accrued.

The sewer backup caused flooding in the building.

“It flooded enough to make the building smelly and possibly moldy, so it needs to be fixed,” Mayor Francis M. Womack III said. “We have to make sure he’s totally healthy and clean.”

The water damaged the interior of the library, furniture and fixtures, said library director Zoltan Braz.

Books and the children’s area were spared, the mayor said.

Womack said he didn’t have the monetary amount of damages, but should be covered by insurance.

“We regret the inconvenience this is causing to residents of North Brunswick and look forward to welcoming the community back to the building when we reopen,” Braz said.

Virtual services are still available, he added.

The library is the second building in the township to face repairs following flooding.

The municipal complex will remain closed for several more months due to damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida last year, the mayor said.

“We are still working with our insurance company and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to get the maximum reimbursement for everything,” he said. “The work is progressing, but there has been serious damage there.”

Womack said he wouldn’t have a specific dollar amount for the repairs for some time, but estimated the damage in the millions.

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“The flooding of the library was coincidental as a backed up sewer but it is important for me to remind people that the township municipal building was never and has never been in what is considered to be a flood zone,” the mayor said. “It was such a weird thing with Hurricane Ida.”

Flood waters from the September 1 storm caused the first floor of the police department, the main lobby and the complex’s courtroom on Hermann Road to be inundated, forcing the relocation of various offices.

The township engineer is working with USA Architects on repairs.

“From an architectural and technical design, we are moving forward, but there are no nails on the walls yet,” Womack said.

Plus, he said, “so many of the parts we need are always out of stock.”

Womack said the township eventually hopes to open at least one reception area in the building.

“It will be so much more convenient for the public and we understand that one of our main duties is to try to provide the best customer service,” he said.

Township offices are still operating, some from trailers at the Hermann Road site, while others operate from other locations.

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Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to his work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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