Library News

The Shaw Library Study Group (SLSG)

Statement of Purpose
The mission of the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Branch Library Study Group is to promote the public interest in the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Branch Public Library and ensure adequate community oversight of the proposed transformation of the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Branch Public Library, located in Ward 2. The Library Study Group will research and disseminate information, as well as convene meetings to foster community consultation, discuss findings, identify concerns, and take action as participants so direct.

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The District Dynamos have been an effective bunch in the Shaw community. DCPL's poor planning and obfuscation during the so-called community input meetings found many Ward 2 residents scratching their heads and quite frustrated -- something you wouldn't imagine could happen when the City is helping build new libraries.

In January 2008, DCPL showed off the new library plans calling the new library building the "Jewel of Rhode Island Avenue."

January 2008
January 2008 night shot

For nearly six months, the community heard nothing about the library project with little to no updates on the DCPL website to inform us how the project was proceeding. Then Shaw residents were invited to a surprise community meeting, held with very little notice, to announce that DCPL had to change the plans a bit.

July 2008
July 2008

The plans changed dramatically. DCPL showed the public the above images in July 2008.

The Dynamos had to step up and inform thousands of local residents who were expecting a jewel to instead beware that it may actually something quite different. The ridiculous changes made the new building looking like the old building, except with a modern veneer. The design showed a triangular shaped building with slot windows, plain metal plated facade -- some residents called it a "bunker" and some said it felt like "a prison."

We pushed and pushed hard for the design changes, unfortunately this DCPL mess detracted from conversing about other critical aspects of the library plans, like security and the interior layout.

In September 2008, DCPL showed us the following design.

The Dynamos collected thousands of petition signatures, many local community groups got on board a campaign to say we deserved better. Soon enough, the library's jewel like facade appeared again and this time the building would have a green roof as had been requested and denied by DCPL prior to our campaign.

The new building opened in Summer 2010 and to much fanfare and the building has been nominated for architectural awards.

Thanks to the Shaw Library Study Group, another Dynamo around the City pushing for more public input our public library system.