Tag Archives: Washington DC

The District library’s Washingtoniana division is a treasure trove of D.C. history

“People occasionally approach me — on the street, in the grocery checkout line, at the polo match — and say, “Excuse me, Mr. Man, there’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask you.” I typically respond, “Please, call me ‘Answer.’ What can I do for you?” “How do you do it? How do you know so much about so many things?” I give a knowing wink and walk away. Why should Answer Man give up his secrets for free?” (via The Washington Post)

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New D.C. library chief sees MLK as ‘empty canvas’

“Richard Reyes-Gavilan, the next chief of the D.C. Public Library, loves big libraries. In his introductory remarks Thursday before Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other dignitaries, he was rhapsodic in describing visits to the central library in his childhood home of Queens, N.Y. “The dignity that I was afforded when I walked through the revolving doors of that building on Merrick Boulevard every Saturday morning was like nothing I ever experienced,” he said. “Here was a space that made me important. It encouraged my curiosity, it made me a better student, it made me a more civic-minded person.” (via Washington Post)

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New Yorker will head D.C. library system

“The next leader of the District’s public library system will come from Brooklyn — just like his predecessor. Richard Reyes-Gavilan will be named chief librarian of the D.C. Public Library at a Thursday news conference at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, according to two officials with knowledge of the pick who were not authorized to speak publicly before the announcement.” (via The Washington Post)

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D.C. schools get thousands of new library books, musical instruments, computers

“D.C. Public Schools announced Thursday that it has purchased 85,000 new books for school libraries around the city, an investment that comes after years of pressure from parents and activists. Schools also have received 4,000 new musical instruments, 2,000 desktop computers and more than 1,300 laptops and tablets, as well as art supplies and science lab equipment.” (via The Washington Post)

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Opposition to D.C. public-private land deals imperil library, other projects

“During the past five years, District leaders have spent nearly $200 million to rebuild or renovate 14 public libraries. But the West End Neighborhood Library, a fraying, 46-year-old, concrete-and-brick edifice at 24th and L streets NW, has not been among them.

Plans dating back more than seven years to replace the library and a nearby fire station at no direct cost to taxpayers have languished despite the support of two mayors, a unanimous D.C. Council and numerous community groups.” (via The Washington Post)

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D.C. Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper retires, leaves a legacy

“After seven years, D.C.’s Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper is retiring and going back home to Oregon. She leaves behind a legacy that includes 17 new or renovated libraries. Cooper took a library system that was in decay seven years ago and tripled circulation. “We had about 100 computers. We now have 1,100 computers,” Cooper says.” (via WJLA.com)

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Spy Museum considers move to historic DC library

“The International Spy Museum, one of the most popular attractions in the nation’s capital over the past decade, is considering a move to a historic library that would give it more space for exhibits and a link to the city’s convention center. Museum officials told The Associated Press on Monday they will propose a redevelopment of Washington’s historic Carnegie Library with the city’s convention center authority, Events DC. The project would include new 40,000-square-foot underground space for exhibits and a new glass pavilion to house a visitors center, cafe and store. Peter Earnest, the museum’s executive director and a former CIA agent, said the Spy Museum has outgrown its space since opening in 2002 in downtown Washington.” (via AP)

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The digital age is forcing libraries to change. Here’s what that looks like.

“You make a beeline from the door to the iPad mini. The touch interface is nice, but you want something a little larger so you move on to the next device. Are you weighing a purchase at an Apple Store? No, you’re trying one of the lineup of devices at the new Digital Commons space at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. The similarity to an Apple Store is no accident, according to Nicholas Kerelchuk, the manager of the Digital Commons. But at the Digital Commons you can try out e-book readers from all of the major manufacturers, including Kindles, Nooks, and Windows 8 tablets.” (via Washington Psost)

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D.C. chief librarian Ginnie Cooper announces retirement

“Whoever said “without libraries, you have no civilization” had obviously never confronted a D.C. public library circa the early 2000s. Odd-smelling places, many of them, and not in a musty literary way but in a stinky dog pee way, with curling carpet and yellowy leaking ceilings, and the sense that whatever book you sought might be on the shelves, or might be propping up a window air-conditioning unit. Walking into a branch felt less like entering a monument to knowledge than like entering a semi­finished basement in need of a good wet vac. “I think the biggest day” in recent library history, says John Hill, president of the D.C. Public Library Board of Trustees, “was the day that Ginnie came.” (via The Washington Post)

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How Washington D.C.’s Laws Were Set Free for Web Viewing

“On Greater Greater Washington, Tom MacWright recently wrote a blog entry highlighting the problems of access to the Washington, D.C. Code. There is, first, a legal obstacle: Washington D.C. claims copyright over their laws, which is to say that it is illegal to reproduce them without permission of the city. Then, second, what is perhaps a more significant obstacle: They outsource the maintenance of their legal code. The city of Washington, D.C. long ago started paying WestLaw — and now LexisNexis — to turn the D.C. Council’s bills into laws. As a result, they now have neither the knowledge nor the infrastructure to maintain their own laws. The only way that D.C. can find out what their laws say is to pay LexisNexis to tell them. This is consequently true for the public, as well. If a resident of D.C. — like MacWright — wants to know what the law says, there’s no sense in asking (or FOIA-ing) the city, because the city has outsourced the process so completely that they know nothing.” (via PBS)

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