New chapter: Red Hook library turns the page on Hurricane Sandy

Don’t close the book on the Red Hook branch library.

The Hurricane Sandy-slammed reading hub will reopen Tuesday after months of reconstruction following the Oct. 29 storm, according to a Brooklyn Public library spokeswoman.

The Wolcott Street facility, which served as a community warming center in the days after Sandy hit, suffered $750,000 in damage and was forced to shut down completely in late November.

The library replaced nearly half of the 2,500 waterlogged books and the 38-year-old building’s mechanical and electrical systems, damaged floors, furniture, shelving, and equipment.

While the Red Hook branch was out of commission, the Brooklyn Public Library called in a bookmobile to distribute literature to the inundated community.

Neighborhood book lovers are thrilled about the library’s comeback.

“This library is the life of the community,” said Lillie Marshall, president of the tenants association in the west wing of the Red Hook Houses. “It has been truly missed — it serves a great purpose in the community.”

The branch is slated to close for complete renovation next year, and will come back as a partner with Spaceworks — an organization that helps artists find long-term and permanent studio space.

The deal will help the library remain solvent while bringing the community an additional 100 hours a year of free programming in two new studio spaces that will be created, said library officials.

“The studios will be affordable workspaces available for local artists to rent,” said spokeswoman Emma Woods. “We will also collaborate with artists to provide new arts education programming in the branch for patrons.”

Once the Red Hook branch reopens — following a 12:30 pm ceremony with civic leaders and library staff — the hard-hit Coney Island and Gerritsen Beach branches will be the only libraries in the borough that remain shuttered from storm damages.

Those branches are slated to reopen in the fall, said Woods.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.