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“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth…” is an ungrateful newspaper. Ask any Washington City Paper reporter or stringer, and they will testify that the Washingtoniana Division has been invaluable for their research. Lorton, Blue Plains, the police—all researched here. Anything Washington, D.C. All tucked away in voluminous files of clippings and reports.

So to see Ms. Mencimer open her piece with a back-of-the-hand slap at the division is a rude shock (“Gates of Heaven,” 10/30). Perhaps CP valued us more when it resided ’round the corner in the Victor Building. Perhaps not. For the record, no one has been flashed in Washingtoniana in at least the past eight years. We try our best to maintain a secure environment, within the strictures of a downtown urban public place.

In Washingtoniana, we try our darndest to offer a “one-stop-shopping” spot for District of Columbia laws, regulations, history, politics, housing, fiction, arts, real estate, etc. And now the World Wide Web. Ours (http://dclibrary.org) is the only site where you can find every D.C. government Web site, even more than the mayor’s site. But you wouldn’t know that reading this article. Sure, the library got a big gift of new technology, wiring, and computers, but that’s not the story. It isn’t a matter of plunking a few computers in libraries—we are working to build a gateway, through our Web site, to the World Wide Web and its many resources. Not provide really fancy typewriters. We have a long way to go before our Web site is where it needs to be, but we are working on it.

As for the rest of the article: We are the D.C. public library. Maybe Bill Gates is “geeky.” We may be undergoing a “renaissance.” The rest is debatable.

D.C. Public Library

Washingtoniana Division

via the Internet