Tag Archives: Washington DC

Hoping to raise interest in books, public library opens school branch

“The kindergarten students sat in rows on a rainbow-colored carpet and listened to a story during a visit to their new school library. Then they did a reading cheer — “Read, Baby, Read!” — before they got to go “shopping” for books. Within a few minutes, the children at D.C. Prep Benning Public Charter School were lined up clutching books about Hot Wheels, princesses, pandas, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Curious George, Superman, and Pete the Cat, to name a few. The students usually select books in their classrooms, going through shelves or bins that are organized by reading level. But the Ward 7 school added 5,000 new books in March by opening a D.C. Public Library branch inside the school.” (via The Washington Post)

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Unequal shelves in D.C. school libraries benefit wealthier students

“Lafayette Elementary School, in upper Northwest Washington, has one of the largest library collections in the District’s public school system, with more than 28,000 books filling stacks on two floors. Drew Elementary, 12 miles away and east of the Anacostia River, has one of the city’s smallest inventories: 300 catalogued books lining shelves along two of the library’s walls. Reading and literacy are high priorities for the urban school district, as proficiency rates for its poorest students dwell below the averages for major cities. But the District dedicates no annual funding for school-library collections, instead relying on the largesse of parents or the kindness of strangers to stock its shelves through donations.” As a result, an unequal system has developed. (via The Washington Post)

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Plans for privately financed addition to D.C.’s MLK Library unravel after three years

“A plan three years in the making to pay for a renovation of the District’s central library by adding floors on top and renting them out has unraveled amid concerns about financing, practicality and historic preservation. Instead, D.C. Public Library trustees voted last week to pursue a more modest, publicly financed renovation that they say could transform the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library into a world-class urban center of learning in as little as four years.” (via The Washington Post)

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D.C. rethinks its central library plans, goes bigger

“The District’s big plans for its overhauled central library have expanded, though a mixed-use addition remains an option for the downtown landmark. The D.C. Public Library initially estimated it would need as little as 200,000 square feet of the 440,000-square-foot, Mies van der Rohe-designed Martin Luther King Jr. Library for library services. But after receiving more than 3,000 comments from the public, the DCPL has decided to use the entire building at 901 G St. NW, plus a new fifth floor, for library use.” (via Washington Business Journal)

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A new D.C. online archive lets users sample photos, drawings, maps and more

“Though they both lived in Washington, it’s unlikely that Clifford Berryman and Joseph Owen Curtis ever met. Berryman was the Washington Evening Star’s political cartoonist. Curtis was an amateur photographer. One used a pen to tweak lawmakers, especially over the issue of voting rights for Washingtonians. The other used a camera to celebrate the people and places of his Southwest Washington neighborhood. Now the two nestle together digitally at Dig DC, a new online archive created by the D.C. Public Library’s Special Collections department.” (via The Washington Post)

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D.C. public library system highlighted in Aspen Institute’s national report

“One of the District’s least highlighted gems is getting some national love. Tuesday, The Aspen Institute issued a report called “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries.” The document is the work of the institute’s Communications and Society Program, which put together the Dialogue on Public Libraries to study how the facilities can be better equipped to deal with a rapidly changing information world. As it turns out, the District is doing pretty well in that regard.” (via The Washington Post)

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D.C. adds a social worker to library system to work with homeless patrons

“Among the many roles for which public libraries are appreciated, there’s one that can be problematic: de facto day shelter for homeless people. Downtown’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library attracts many such patrons, and Jean Badalamenti understands why. “The city drops folks from three shelters off here every morning and picks them up in the evening. So they come here because of that,” said Badalamenti, a social worker who in May became the D.C. Public Library’s first health and human services coordinator.” (via The Washington Post)

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DC plans public meeting on MLK library renovation

“Architects and library officials want to hear from the public about what they would like to see in a major renovation of the central Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington. The library is holding a public meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the central library for the public to share ideas. Library officials want to know what services, facilities and technology that patrons would like to see in the renovated library.” (via AP)

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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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