Red Hook Library Renovation

Rendering of the front of the new, enlarged Red Hook Library
A rendering of the enlarged and flood-protected Red Hook Library, from the corners of Dwight and Wolcott Streets. Rendering courtesy of LEVENBETTS.

Red Hook Library is undergoing a comprehensive interior and exterior renovation that will expand and protect this important public space. The library closed March 2023 for construction and is expected to reopen in 2025.

The reconfigured interior space will feature:

  • More public space; a 14% increase
  • Flood mitigation and protection
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • A space just for teens
  • A dedicated children’s room for storytimes and programs
  • A community room
  • Two reservable meeting rooms
  • Brand new furniture and upgraded technology, including laptop loans

The new outdoor space will feature:

  • Outdoor public seating
  • Outdoor reading and activity areas
  • An entrance for after-hours garden events
  • Landscaped native plants, with a focus on evergreens for year-round appeal

Environmental benefits will include:

  • Designed to be a “Net Zero Building,” so the total energy used on an annual basis will equal the energy created on-site
  • Solar panels on the roof will collect energy for the building

Frequently Asked Questions

Construction starts spring 2023 and is expected to last into 2025. Several neighborhood organizations have expressed interest in hosting library programs during this period. Red Hook Library will engage the community on the best ways to deliver select library services during construction.

The Red Hook Library is being designed to satisfy NYC Building Code Appendix G, which requires the building to be Dry Flood Proofed. All mechanical and electrical equipment will be placed on the library’s roof, flood resistant walls and windows will create a ‘flood wall’ of 3.5 feet around the building and the exterior will feature permeable landscaping and garden bioswale. Also included are moveable flood-proof devices to place at doors where water could potentially enter the building.

Brooklyn Public Library presented an initial proposal in 2014 to renovate Red Hook Library’s interior in partnership with an arts nonprofit. In response to concerns raised by the community, including unease about the loss of library floor space, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) agreed to engage in further community discussions before moving forward. The library held two community engagement labs in 2015, including one focused on teens, and BPL determined to pursue a library renovation independently of the arts partner, in line with the community priorities presented at these labs.

The Library continued engagement around this project and library programs with attendance at Community Board meetings, presentation at the NYCHA Tenant Association (West) and Board of NYCHA Red Hook (East) and annual participation in NYCHA Family Day festivities, annual presentations at Red Hook Civic Association meetings, participation in Red Hook Initiative Annual Community Fairs, and with presentations to elected officials.

On October 23, 2019, architects LEVENBETTS presented designs to Community Board 6's Youth/Human Services/Education committee. Download the presentation (.pdf). 

While construction costs are not finalized, the renovation’s budget is currently $17.5 million in capital funds, which were allocated by the City of New York. These funds include allocations from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and from Council District 38’s Participatory Budget process.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is managing this project for Brooklyn Public Library. The selected architect is LEVENBETTS, a firm that won an Architecture in America (AIA) award for its design of the interim Brooklyn Heights Library.

Construction and Interim Service Updates

Spring 2024 Update: The roof is raised! The construction team has successfully lifted the new roof. This Spring, new building columns and a new concrete slab will be installed to further strengthen the future library. We are excited by the progress so far and look forward to unveiling a transformed library in 2025! 

Red Hook Library continues to expand its programs! Find us around the neighborhood several days a week. Generous support for programming and interim Library services in Red Hook provided by Amazon.

Looking for the Bookmobile? We're now at the intersection of Lorraine and Columbia Streets every-other Tuesday from 11AM-4PM. 

Presentations, Flyers and FAQs

Help spread the word about the upcoming Red Hook Library reconstruction project. Below are resources about the project, all as .pdf files.


Report: Dream A New Future For Your Library

This report documents the ideas and priorities expressed in NYCpublic's Red Hook Library Community Engagement Lab.

Download the Report (.pdf)