The D.C. Council allocated $200,000 of next year’s budget to open a collection in the new West End Library.
The new library – set to open next spring – will have an additional $200,000 for a state-of-the-art opening collection. Community members said that the new location is an opportunity to update the library’s resources.
The funding will go toward updated books and periodicals. D.C. Public Library officials will make the final decisions on books for the new building.
The library is temporarily located in the Watergate building until the new building is completed next year. The 10-story complex, part of a mixed-use renovation by the real estate development company EastBanc Inc., will offer residential units with luxury housing, retail space and three levels of underground parking.
Members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a resolution last month to support the increased funding for the library that the D.C. Council proposed at the time. The library’s new content should be “reflective of a first-class, 21st Century” and should come in a variety of materials such as DVDs and e-books, as well as traditional books, according to the resolution.
“In order to be competitive, the West End Library’s collection must include all these things as well as the latest periodicals and research materials that, although they may be online, are considered part of the collection budget,” according to the resolution.
Patrick Kennedy, the chairman of the ANC, said a new library building has inspired ANC members to update the collections, which could “fall into complacency” if the building wasn’t updated.
He added that the community is “tremendously grateful” for the work on the new library.
“You actually have to have content in the library for the library to fulfill its mission,” he said. “It’s the kind of thing we wanted to make sure is in the budget this year.”
Developers broke ground on redeveloping the almost-50-year-old library two years ago, after the District Court of Appeals struck down a lawsuit that the D.C. Library Renaissance Project filed against the city for the renovation. The group protested the public-private partnership of the building and complained that the D.C. government was giving public land to a private company to make a profit.
Peter Sacco, the executive director of the Foggy Bottom ANC, said ANC members have been “actively involved” in the library’s development. He said that the ANC unanimously passed the resolution to show their support for the D.C. Council by allocating money in the budget for the library’s new collection.
“We wanted to ensure the full Council approved funding as part of the second vote on the budget,” Sacco said.
George Williams, the spokesman for the D.C. Public Library, said libraries the size of the new West End Library usually open with about half the books that the building’s capacity allows, making room to tailor the rest of the content according to the neighborhood’s needs.
“We want to be able to have space to add those items to the collection,” Williams said.