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Fenty 2006: Yes to New Library

Mayor Adrian Fenty's announcement today that the city would build a hotel at the site of the old convention center dooms any hope of replacing the aging Martin Luther King Jr. Library with a new central branch. But make no mistake--Fenty (D) had been an ardent supporter of building a new library and using the 36-year-old Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building for another purpose. In Sept. 2006, he offered this quote to the Washington Post when asked to provide a position for the voter's guide before the mayoral primary:

"A new central library, offering access to modern research technology and first-rate collections, would invigorate our culture and community life. (My administration will ensure that the historic building currently housing the central library is restored and put to use in a way befitting the unique quality of its architecture.) Further, our branch libraries are greatly in need of modernization. Many are closed or in such poor repair they are difficult to use. My administration will ensure that the enormous backlog of deferred maintenance is addressed and that we rebuild our community-based library system."

By David A Nakamura  |  May 12, 2008; 2:01 PM ET
Categories:  David Nakamura , Mayor Fenty  
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It was a good decision. I don't see a library as doing much for our community, at least not in a non-residential area. I don't see adults simply wandering into a library on their lunch break. We have the Library of Congress for people who really want to do research. It's 10 times better than DC Main, and the atmosphere is suited more to research. I would support the construction of elaborate, activity-filled, civic pride-inspiring libraries in RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS!!! This is where libraries can really have an impact especially on our young population in the initial learning stages. The current main library can be emptied out and replaced with its best and highest use.

Posted by: dcp | May 12, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

People will undoubtedly complain, but there aren't enough people near the old Convention Center site to merit a new Central Library. The only people who would use it are the Maryland and Virginia folk who work downtown and would go there on their lunch break. If we move it, put it in Mt Vernon Square, where there is better access to two metro stations and it is (slightly) more central and closer to populated areas.

Posted by: SG | May 12, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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