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The new Benning Library opened to much fanfare earlier this week (don’t miss Head Librarian Ginny Cooper’s “signature cheer”). Tomorrow is the real coming-out party, with crafts and entertainment for everybody. It’s an historic event: The neighborhood has gone without a library of its own since 2004. And it’s the beginning of a wave of libraries to set to close and reopen in the next year. Next up is Anacostia, opening April 26. Then comes Shaw, scheduled for sometime this summer.
All of these have something in common: They’re big shiny boxes, braced with steel and concrete, that look especially similar to each other when wrapped in Forrester Construction-logoed cloth. But there’s a certain brand to the new D.C. library—that glassy facade signals transparency and modernity.
Renovation of historic libraries, as we learned last weekend, tends to be more controversial. Two studies on the now-closed Mt. Pleasant Library—focusing on fire safety and accessibility issues—will most likely be released by ANCs 1D and 1C sometime next week.