History

Established on June 15, 1898, Red Hook Public Library has been serving the village of Red Hook for more than 120 years.

Red Hook Public Library HistoricA provisional charter, signed by Melville Dewey, was granted by the University of the State of New York on June 27, 1898.

A permanent charter was granted on April 26, 1904. In 1959 the Library joined the Mid-Hudson Library System, which brought more than 60 libraries in five counties together to improve services to patrons and codify library services throughout the region.

Built for Allen Barringer Hendricks, son of prominent local businessman Jeremiah Hendricks, Hendricks House is a rare surviving example of the nationwide fad for octagons launched in the mid-19th century by phrenologist and author Orson Squire Fowler.

The building was the personal residence of the Hendricks family until 1933. It was purchased by the Red Hook Public Library in 1935 for $3,800, and renovated for library use by local builder Frank W. Coons for an additional $900. The building’s roof was replaced in 1950, following a hurricane. In the 1970’s the basement was renovated.

Today the Red Hook Public Library has more than 4,500 active cardholders. It is chartered to serve the Village of Red Hook (population 1,961), but serves the entire Town of Red Hook as well as a portion of the Town of Milan.

The Town of Red Hook is approximately 105 miles north of New York City. It has two villages and two hamlets for a total population of 11,319 (2010 census). It is home to Bard College.

The library has three floors, made ADA-accessible with the construction of an addition to the rear of the building in 2010-2011. A children’s library was created simultaneously, bringing the usable footage to 4,760 square feet.

In 2016, a renovation to the third floor, funded through grants, awards, and donations created an expanded Community Room for programming, meeting, and study space. The ceiling and floors of the second floor’s stacks were also updated at that time. The Community Room officially opened to the public October 14th 2016.

View our Annual Reports to the Community here.