Library News

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2C Decries Poor Library Design Process

On July 2, 2008, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2C in the Shaw neighborhood of Ward 2 issues a public declaration regarding the library transformation process for the new Watha T. Daniel/ Shaw library.


Advisory Neighborhood Commission Declaration
on DC Public Library Transformations -- Spring 2008


Advisory Neighborhood Commission Declaration on DC Public Library
Transformations, Spring 2008


In recent years, the DC Public Library system (DCPL) has embarked on a process of library transformations for neighborhood branch libraries under the leadership of the Chief Librarian and Board of Library Trustees (BOLT).

The process of transformation has been lauded by DCPL and BOLT as
adequate and open to community input. However it has become clear over time that the library transformation process has made an after thought of the duly elected local civic bodies known as Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) and their official great weight.


* Whereas, DCPL and BOLT have been conducting library transformations, including demolition of old library buildings and design of new buildings, without consulting any affected ANC Commission in any meaningful and public way,

* Whereas, demolition of the old library buildings went forward without the appropriate thirty days notice to affected ANC's so to allow Commissioners to weigh in on the demolition process, change in property disposition, and to help notify surrounding residents to prepare for demolition noise and dust,

* Whereas, DCPL and BOLT have never come to any ANC meeting demonstrating publicly any images of potential library designs so that duly elected ANC's could lend opinions, suggestions, and great weight as provided by law,

* Whereas, library transformation design meetings were held with little public notice lending to lower turnout and hence less community feedback,

* Whereas, design meeting dates were randomly chosen without conferring with ANC's and in some cases design meetings were scheduled on the same evening as ANC meetings and other regularly scheduled neighborhood meetings,

* Whereas, DCPL's website throughout the library design transformation timeline has consistently been outdated, provided limited narrative about new architectural designs, and offered low

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resolution and pixelated images, limiting the ability of the public to truly stay on top of these 21st Century library transformations,

* Whereas, DCPL has never provided a streamlined give-and-take
communication system, despite several public requests to do so,
preventing ANC's and the public at large to consult with the project
architects and DCPL about library design plans as they were developed,

* Whereas, the BOLT has continually deemed the library transformation
process as adequate despite mounting public concerns to the contrary,


It is the sense of the following Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and signed Commissioners, that DC Public Libraries and the Board of Library Trustees have not lived up to its legal obligation to invite ANC's into the library transformation process in any meaningful way.

This Advisory Neighborhood Commission collectively decries a poor library transformation process and denounces DCPL and BOLT for its failure to include ANC's in the design process.

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The vote was unanimous, the entire Commission signed off on this declaration. That includes:
Chair Doris Brooks
Commissioner Barbara Curtis
Commissioner Kevin Chapple
Commissioner Alex Padro

It was read into record by Commissioner Padro and introduced by Chair Doris Brooks.

The DC Library Renaissance Project helped to write the original draft.