LIBRARY CLOSES IN ON REOPENING. REALLY.

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The books are out of storage, free of dust and are being returned to their shelves.

Now, all that remains is a short punchlist of renovation items, plus the logistics of getting the phones re-installed and the return of books from the temporary lending library set up a couple of doors away.

By this time next month, barring unforeseen catastrophe (and there have been one or two), the long-awaited reopening of the Red Bank Public Library will have happened, director Debbie Griffin-Sadel tells redbankgreen.

Though she remains reluctant to give a specific date for the reopening, she says it will likely be sometime between Dec. 1 and 15. It all depends on when the place is ready, she says.

“The last thing I want is to say to someone, ‘You want what book? I have no idea where that is,'” she says.

Griffin-Sadel is clearly uncomfortable making such forecasts, given the unpredictability of what can happen when you rip apart a conjoined 19th-century mansion and 1960s-era concrete wing. The $1.6 million job was delayed by a prolonged deep freeze last winter, as well as problems that arose regarding the ventilation and other systems. It also became something of a political punching bag over rising costs.

There was also a small roof fire, but that had no impact on the work, we’re told.

There will be some changes when the place reopens. Taking a cue from bookstores, most of which of course don’t categorize books according to the hairsplitting Dewey Decimal system, Griffin-Sadel says food and home decorating books will be removed from their customary places in the nonfiction stacks and grouped together in a convenient location.

There may also be a coffee maker in the library’s future, but Griffin-Sadel says it’s to early to say if that idea will fly with the borough council and building inspectors. At this point, it’s just a possibility, she says.

Nearer term, though, Griffin-Sadel says there will be a grand reopening for the public, probably in January, with some refreshments and music. And of course, tours of the place, including the beautifully-restored Eisner family living room.

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