Temporary library to open in Red Hook while local branch closed for renovations

red hook library
A temporary library branch will open next month in Red Hook as the nabe’s main location undergoes renovations.
Photo courtesy of Google Maps

An interim library is set to open in Red Hook next month, in the midst of a two-year closure of the neighborhood’s local branch.

The Red Hook Library shut its doors in March 2023 for a $17 million renovation. When the project wraps next spring, the library is set to have more public space with dedicated rooms for teens and children, meeting rooms, new tech, and outdoor space. 

red hook renovation
A rendering of the interior of the renovated Red Hook Library. Image courtesy of Levenbetts/Brooklyn Public Library

Starting on July 9, the interim library at 362 Van Brunt St. will offer books for all ages, computer access, free Wi-Fi, and all kinds of typical library programming, the Brooklyn Public Library announced on Tuesday.

Amazon will be providing financial support for the interim library, and furniture and supplies were donated by the Red Hook IKEA store. Community leaders including Council Member Alexa Avilés, the Friends of Red Hook Library, Red Hook Houses West, and the former Red Hook Civic Association identified and secured the location, according to BPL.

red hook library meeting
At a 2023 meeting, locals said they were frustrated about the impending closure. File photo by Ximena del Cerro

When library officials announced their plans to close and upgrade the library in 2023, patrons were frustrated. They said BPL’s plans to deploy mobile library services and relocate some programming weren’t enough, and that other neighborhoods had received temporary brick-and-mortar locations while their libraries were closed for renovations.

The Red Hook Library has long been in need of upgrades, in part because the building, like so many in Red Hook, was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Critically, the new library will be flood-proofed, with flood-resistant walls and windows and barricades for doorways. All of the library’s mechanical and electrical equipment will be relocated to the roof, well above potential flood lines.

Renovations were supposed to start in 2020, but were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

exterior of the red hook library
The finished library will have more public space and much-needed flood proofing. Image courtesy of Levenbetts/Brooklyn Public Library

With roughly nine months left to go until the library is set to reopen, the interim location is slated to open its doors at 11 a.m. on July 9, and will be open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Recent updates on the Red Hook Library website say that work is moving along as expected, and is still  slated to be completed in the spring of 2025. However, library officials have warned that Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed $58.3 million budget cut could lead to “indefinitely delayed reopenings of renovated branches.”