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Valleywide Focus

2 Quake-Damaged Libraries Reopen

March 15, 1994|SUSAN BYRNES

Two San Fernando Valley branches of the Los Angeles Public Library that were damaged by the Northridge earthquake reopened Monday.

Small crowds gathered as the doors opened at 10 a.m. at the Canoga Park and Sherman Oaks libraries, which were closed for nearly two months.

At both locations, shaking from the quake toppled heavy wooden bookshelves or pulled them loose from the walls, sending tens of thousands of books to the floor. At the Canoga Park branch, fluorescent light fixtures fell and smashed computers.

Eleven branches of the public library remain closed, and a schedule for their reopening has not been set.

Robert Reagan, a spokesman for the libraries, said public support has helped push forward the repair and reopening process. "The public is being very helpful and understanding," Reagan said. "We get a lot of help from volunteers in putting books back on the shelves, and we get calls every day from people asking, 'What can we do to help?' "

A library supporter from Canoga Park dressed in a clown costume to alert passersby to the reopening. And at the Sherman Oaks branch, library workers decorated the interior with potted flowers donated by a supporter.

"We are so happy to be back," said Judy Sanchez, branch librarian in Sherman Oaks. "People have been so wonderful to us."

Reagan said that many books were thrown off the shelves during the quake, but most of the library shelving did not topple. Nonetheless, he said, the damage prompted an evaluation. "We are checking shelving in all the branches to find out what needs to be done to make them stand up to evaluation," Reagan said.

The two branches will be open extended hours--Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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