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Red Hook library reopens after Superstorm Sandy

A sign of Red Hook renewal: Red Hook branch library reopens after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Photo: Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Will partner with non-profits in 2014

Following massive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Red Hook Library re-opened on Tuesday, April 2.

“We have worked hard to renovate the branch, and are thrilled to be able to reopen it today,” said Brooklyn Public Library President & CEO Linda E. Johnson at the re-opening ceremony. Joining her were Red Hook community members, Brooklyn Public Library staff and leadership, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Representative Nydia M. Velázquez and Assembly Member Felix Ortiz.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, the Red Hook Library was covered by 18 inches of water, causing the destruction of roughly 2,500 books and other materials, as well as damaged floors, mechanical equipment, furniture, shelving, and supplies. In total, the library suffered $750,000 worth of damages.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Brooklyn Public Library worked to provide services and aid to the Red Hook community. In early November, the branch was opened as a Warming Center and distributed food and warm drinks. At branches throughout the borough, the Library collected food, water, clothes and toiletries to be distributed to Red Hook and other hard-hit communities via the Library’s Bookmobile. The Bookmobile also delivered free books to children and supplied charging stations so local residents could charge their mobile devices.

 In addition, the Library worked with The Uni Project to set up a temporary reading area in Coffey Park, complete with chess and math games, and partnered with NYC DOE to provide computers with internet access for middle and high school students displaced by the hurricane.

“Bravo to the Red Hook Library and to Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson for their resilience and hard work as they look to begin a new, post-Sandy chapter. In the days after the hurricane, even with the library flooded and so many of its books ruined, the use of its space as a warming center for Red Hook residents allowed the Library to continue to serve the community. Now, with its doorsreopened and its bookshelves replenished, the Red Hook Library has turned the page, reinforcing that in Brooklyn we will continue to rebuild, rebound, recover—and read!” said Borough President Marty Markowitz.

“I’m proud to see this important community resource back in business,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez.

"I am overjoyed whenever a library is opened! And this re-opening in Red Hook is especially significant because it continues the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, and restores access for the people of Red Hook to the benefits of one of the most important and sacred parts of our government: our public libraries. They provide access to not only information but to education, computers, better jobs, and better futures for us and our children. No community should ever lose its library, and I am very happy that the people of Red Hook once again have theirs," said Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

"In the months after Hurricane Sandy hit the area, Red Hook has shown an impeccable resilience. The latest success story is the re-opening of Red Hook Library, a cornerstone in the community. I am delighted and proud to represent this community. It is a celebration for children and adults alike," said Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz.

“Growing up in this community, I remember libraries as a safe haven to go and let my imagination take over. I could start a great adventure or travel the world simply by opening a book, and I became a better student in the process. I would meet my friends there and we would do homework together,” said Councilwoman Sara M. González. “Today our libraries have an even more comprehensive role in our City’s cultural, social and educational fabric. The Red Hook Library provides my constituents with resources like computer classes, job assistance and training, and English classes to empower themselves further. I have always supported the Red Hook Library and I share the community’s joy in seeing this vital resource return.”

The Library also announced that the Red Hook Library will undergo a complete renovation in 2014. Together with the non-profit Spaceworks, they will create two new Spaceworks studios in the library, which will be affordable workspaces available for local performance artists to rent, and collaborate with artists to provide new arts education programming in the branch for patrons.

Sandy impacted six of BPL's branch libraries. Gravesend, Brighton Beach, and Sheepshead Bay suffered minor to extensive flooding and have since re-opened. The most seriously affectedbranches, Gerritsen Beach and Coney Island, will require extensive rehabilitation and are expected to re-open later this year.

April 4, 2013 - 5:21pm


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