Library News

Report: Second Design Meeting in Washington Highlands

On March 31, 2009, about thirty-five people attended a library design meeting on the Washighton Highlands Library project. Nearly half of those in attendance were DCPL staff and project coordinators.

This would be the first public 'design' meeting since September 18, 2009. In the meantime, DCPL has hosted a meet and greet with the architect, David Adjaye, and conducted several focus groups to also gather feedback, however focus groups are not heavily advertised and not announced on DCPL's website.

Nearly six months after the Hopes and Dreams meeting back in September, Ward Eight residents were presented with design images that are nearly complete, down to the bookshelves and chairs, perhaps even the pencils. Almost all of those in attendance were seeing these images for the very first time.

You can find the design slideshow at DCPL's website although it is a resource hungry download weighing in at more than 10Mb.
And more recently [4/9/09], DCPL has put up clickable images as well.

Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper always says that the architect's narrative is so important to go along with the design image presentation -- but unless you actually attend the design meeting you never get to see or hear the architect.

Since Chief Cooper and DCPL do not videotape their design meetings, the District Dynamos were there to make sure you can hear the architect as shown below.

#2 adjaye intro

#4 adjaye presentation

#5 adjaye presentation

Unfortunately, as noted by the architect, the highly-contrasted slideshow was hard for the audience to see. Despite this, the presentation showed many slides of the new Washington Highlands library project starting with interior concepts working out to the building's exterior.

The presentation given to Ward Eight residents at this March 31 design meeting was very similar to the one given to the Commission on Fine Arts back in mid-February.

The CFA sent a letter to Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper on February 19 making comments that included:

  • Undesirable prominence of the proposed parking area along the street frontage
  • The sheltered north-facing entrance beneath the elevated pavilions would be relatively dark and unwelcoming
New Design Washington Highlands

The designs for your new Ward Eight Library have been nearly complete since February 5, 2009 yet none of the exterior structural images were available to the public for almost two months.

DCPL wants to be done with public input by this summer. There are no further meeting dates planned at the time of writing this report 4/2/09.

MORE VIDEOS -- Community Comments

On March 31, 2009, about twenty Ward Eight residents were seeing the Washington Highlands Library project design images for the first time publicly. Community comments shown in the videos below elicit some serious concerns and controversies with how DCPL is conducting the design process.

  • ANC Commissioners are surprised they haven't been involved in any meaningful way regarding the new designs and amazed that DCPL's outreach has only been centered on neighborhoods around the library even though the library serves the entire Ward.

  • Residents are also concerned about the quality of the construction, with fears that it will be another "stick building" and not last very long.

  • Folks want more options including presentation of design concepts that would beautifully and cost-effectively renovate and upgrade the current building and take the savings to build out other library services in the Ward. DCPL's renovation study shows a renovation could save at up to two million dollars in costs ~ the price of two modular libraries like the ones being heavily used and liked by residents in Ward Seven.

  • There is also deep concern that DCPL is not hiring local contractors and training Ward Eight residents looking for jobs to develop and construct these library projects. A renovation and build-out of another library in Ward Eight would create almost twice as many jobs for Ward Eight residents.

These videos will give you the sense of concern heard and seen in Ward Eight residents regarding the Washington Highlands Library project.

#6 jones

# 7 cooper shelton

#8 jeff bonvechio

#9 renovation

#11 anc concerns

#12 ward


This video shows why perhaps DCPL isn't meaningfully outreaching to all of Ward Eight.