North Brooklyn

BPL, neighbors, officials celebrate opening of Red Hook Interim Library

July 10, 2024 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Inside the library, librarian Maribel Rodriguez entertains young children from the neighborhood. Notice the wooden railway set (left). Photo by Gregg Richards
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Brooklyn Public Library staff, local elected officials and the Red Hook community on Tuesday celebrated the opening of the Red Hook Interim Library at 362 Van Brunt St. 

The new location, in a low-rise residential and commercial building, will serve as Red Hook’s neighborhood library while the permanent Red Hook Library undergoes a full interior and exterior renovation

Instead of cutting a ribbon, the grand opening centered on the ceremonial switching on of an LED neon sign. Attendees were joined by children from Learning Wheels Childcare.

Red Hook Interim Library will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new location will have materials available for all ages (including hold pickups), and patrons will have access to computers, free Wi-Fi, library card signup and a variety of programming. 

The Red Hook Interim Library is housed in this attractive, modern building on Van Brunt Street. Photo by Gregg Richards
The Red Hook Interim Library is housed in this attractive, modern building on Van Brunt Street. Photo by Gregg Richards

Amazon is providing support for library services at the interim branch in addition to bolstering more than 250 off-site library programs, reaching almost 6,000 attendees during the past year.

The location for the interim library branch was found through the collaborative efforts of Councilmember Alexa Avilés, Friends of Red Hook Library, the leadership of Red Hook Houses West, and the Service Committee of the former Red Hook Civic Association.

“We are excited to open Red Hook Interim Library, which will allow us to continue providing vital services and programming during this renovation period,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “This project is a testament to the collaborative spirit of the Red Hook community.”

“Amazon is proud to continue its support of the Brooklyn Public Library, including the opening of the interim Red Hook branch,” said Carley Graham Garcia, head of community affairs for Amazon in New York City. 

There were plenty of books in the stacks to look through.
There were plenty of books in the stacks to look through. Photo by Gregg Richards

“I am so grateful the Red Hook Brooklyn Public Library has found a temporary home so that our community still receives the valuable services that keep our neighborhood cohesive,” said Karen Blondel, president of the Red Hook Houses West Resident Association.

IKEA Brooklyn, which is also located in Red Hook, donated furniture and supplies to ensure a comfortable environment for patrons of all ages. The TaskRabbit for Good team, in partnership with IKEA, assembled all of the furniture in the interim library. 

“It is with immense pleasure that the IKEA Brooklyn team joins today’s celebration. We are delighted that IKEA furniture serves as the medium that organizes the library’s books and supplies, but more importantly, it is the connecting piece to a variety of resources that the Brooklyn Public Library will now be able to provide until construction is complete,” said Stephanie Perez, communication and events specialist, IKEA Brooklyn.

The walls of the Red Hook interim library are adorned with a photo exhibition curated by Dominique Jean-Louis, the chief historian at the BPL’s Center for Brooklyn History. This collection of photographs showcases numerous events in Red Hook’s history.  

Stephanie Perez of IKEA Brooklyn (left, in blue jacket) and others switch on an LED neon sign to open BPL’s Red Hook Interim Library. Photo by Gregg Richards
Stephanie Perez of IKEA Brooklyn (left, in blue jacket) and others switch on an LED neon sign to open BPL’s Red Hook Interim Library. Photo by Gregg Richards

During the past year, interim library programming in Red Hook has been hosted by community organizations, including Red Hook Initiative, Red Hook Houses East and West, Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Collective, Compere Collective, Hometown Bar-B-Que, Miccio Community Center, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Pioneer Works, Red Hook Coffee Shop, Red Hook Community Justice Center, Red Hook Record Shop, Red Hook Recreation Center and Red Hook Senior Center.

“Public libraries are the bedrock of city government. That’s why I’m thrilled that after months of tireless advocacy, Red Hook residents will once again have access to one. Members of the former Red Hook Civic Association, particularly David Lutz and Imre Kovacs, as well as my District Director, Rob Aguilar, refused to give up and kept fighting to identify a space. They did a tremendous job, and this would not have happened without them,” said Avilés.


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