As Michael Grass reported in yesterday’s Express, there’s controversy brewing at The Library, the newly rechristened 12th Street NE watering hole. Apparently, some neighbors don’t like the beer selection at the dive bar, and others think there’s been an increase in litter since the bar reopened.

But the most interesting criticism comes from Kee Malesky, a corporate librarian, who finds the name offensive. I interviewed Malesky about her grievances yesterday, and here’s what she had to say:

  1. It’s not a library. “A library is a place for people to study or read, have quiet community meetings. This is a bar with ten satellite TVs tuned to sports events.”
  2. It provides an easy alibi for Catholic University’s slacker students. “Why else would they call it The Library unless to lie to their parents [and] professors about what they did last night?”
  3. It impugns the dignity of librarians worldwide. “It’s snide, cynical, rude, and offensive to the neighbors and librarians everywhere,” she says.

Brookland neighbor Sandy Malone, however, says Malesky needs to lighten up. As an undergrad, she attended both Ohio State and Ohio University and says, at the time, both campuses had bars called The Library nearby. “It was like a joke,” she says. “It’s just a funny name.” She thinks Malesky should be grateful a place like The Library exists. “They need a campus bar,” she says of the students. “Otherwise, they’re going to come to the restaurants and push the neighbors out.”

Still, the whole Library spat got us wondering about other nerdily named establishments in the area. For example, has the Science Club received criticism for its name? Co-owner Steve Maguire says absolutely not. Nerds love the name, he says. “I’ve seen people stop traffic on 19th Street…They run up the stairs and say, ‘Science! We’re both biologists.’” Environmentalists also frequent the Dupont Circle spot, he says, adding, “we have been extremely well received by the scientific community and dorks in general.”

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