A little over 10 years ago, the District of Columbia made an incredible investment in the crumbling infrastructure of the DC Public Library. Since then, DCPL has built new or renovated 16 of the 26 locations. This week, we opened our 17th new library. The Woodridge branch is in NE DC and is on a stretch of street that really needs some new design and services. The old branch was demolished before I moved to DC so I never experienced the old building, but I’ve spent enough time in some of our older buildings to know what it was like. Due to some construction/soil issues, the project was delayed for over a year, so as you can imagine, excitement was very high at the grand opening this week.
We were lucky to have a lot of VIPs come to the opening. The D.C. Mayor (and her parents…she grew up in the area), two D.C. Councilmembers, the Deputy Mayor for Education, Executive Director of the Urban Libraries Council, Executive Director of the American Library Association Washington Office, and…..Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden! I thought only the library folks in the room would be excited to see her but even the Mayor was excited to welcome our first female, African American Librarian of Congress. Members of the community packed the mid-week ribbon cutting, which really tells me how excited people are for their new library.
I wasn’t involved in the design of this building, since it started before I moved to D.C. but I spend about 75% of my time in design/construction meetings for the other projects we’re working on and it was extremely gratifying to see how excited everyone was for the opening. I know it will make all of the hard work worth it.