Georgetown’s Gorgeous New Library


The library in 2006.

I used to live in Georgetown, less than a block from the beautiful library which was gutted by a fire in the spring of 2007. That’s why I was reading this Prince of Petworth post with avid interest, “PoP Preview – Georgetown Library“:

The Georgetown Library located at 3260 R St, NW (Wisconsin and R) reopens Monday, Oct. 18th. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to receive a tour from DC’s chief librarian, Ginnie Cooper. Many will remember that the library was devastated by fire Apr. 30th, 2007 (same day as the Eastern Market fire).

It is awkward to say this but I think the fire may have been a blessing in disguise (thank God nobody was injured) because the renovation is truly amazing (and there were no plans for a major renovation). It is though an entire new library was built on the space (and much improved). Not only was the space gutted but a ton of new space was added. There is now a huge children’s section as well as a completely new third floor housing the historic Peabody collection (which thankfully some say miraculously survived the fire). Beautiful new staircases were added. A new meeting room and study rooms are top of the line. Wifi and 40 new computers as well as 40,000 books (with room for 80,000) will be housed in the library.

Sounds amazing. So amazing, I was a little sad that I no longer lived next to it– what a great place to, I don’t know…craft a blog post? Then I saw the only comment on the post, from someone who may be a current neighbor of mine, since their handle is “Columbia Road“:

Can anyone explain why this newly repaired library is significantly nicer than newly built libraries like Shaw’s Watha T. Daniel?

That got my attention. Why is there a significant disparity? It could be because outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty once called the Georgetown branch “our historic flagship library.” But I don’t know. I don’t feel like saying, “Duh, because it’s in Georgetown and not SHAW”, so I think I’ll find out. And of course, I’ll keep all of you posted.

Libraries are essential to communities; I wouldn’t be the person I am right now if I hadn’t spent the majority of my childhood in my local libraries, in Northern California. Every child deserves what I was given.