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Community Celebrates Opening of Red Hook Temporary Library

Community Celebrates Opening of Red Hook Temporary Library

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

Brooklyn Public Library staff, local officials and the Red Hook community celebrated the grand opening of the temporary Red Hook Library at 362 Van Brunt St. on Tuesday.

The new location in a low-rise residential/commercial building will serve as Red Hook’s community library while the permanent Red Hook library undergoes renovations comprehensive renovation of interiors and facades.

Instead of a ribbon cutting, the grand opening focused on a ceremonial LED neon switch-on. Participants were joined by children from Learning Wheels Childcare.

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

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

Amazon is providing support for library services at the temporary branch and supports more than 250 off-site library programs. Over the past year, nearly 6,000 participants have participated in the programs.

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

“We are thrilled to open the Red Hook Interim Library, which will allow us to continue providing important services and programming during this period of renovation,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of the 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 opening a temporary Red Hook location,” said Carley Graham Garcia, head of community affairs at Amazon in New York.

There were plenty of books on the shelves to browse. Photo by Gregg Richards

“I am so grateful that the Red Hook Brooklyn Public Library has found a temporary home so our community can continue to benefit from the valuable services that keep our neighborhood together,” said Karen Blondel, president of the Red Hook Houses West Residents Association.

IKEA Brooklyn, also located in Red Hook, donated furniture and materials to provide a comfortable environment for customers of all ages. The TaskRabbit for Good team worked with IKEA to assemble all the furniture in the temporary library.

“It is with great pleasure that the IKEA Brooklyn team joins us in today’s celebration. We are thrilled that IKEA furniture serves as a medium that organizes books and library materials, but more importantly, it serves as a connecting element to the various resources that the Brooklyn Public Library will now be able to provide until construction is complete,” said Stephanie Perez, Communications and Events Specialist at IKEA Brooklyn.

The walls of the Red Hook Temporary Library are decorated with a photographic exhibit curated by Dominique Jean-Louis, chief historian at BPL’s Center for Brooklyn History. This collection of photographs depicts numerous events in Red Hook’s history.

In the library, librarian Maribel Rodriguez entertains young neighborhood children. Note the wooden train set (left). Photo by Gregg Richards

Over the past year, the temporary library program in Red Hook has been hosted by community organizations including the 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 backbone of city government. That’s why I’m thrilled that after months of constant advocacy, Red Hook residents will once again have access to them. Members of the former Red Hook Civic Association, especially David Lutz and Imre Kovacs, as well as my District Director, Rob Aguilar, did not give up and continued to fight for the space. They did an incredible job and this would not have been possible without them,” said Councilwoman Alexa Avilés.