Monday, February 28, 2011

Petworth Library Reopens Today


The Petworth Library reopened today at 4200 Kansas Avenue NW, a 1939 Revival-style building that had been gutted and renovated to accommodate the changing needs of the neighborhood. Designed by Franck & Lohsen Architects, the renovations cost $12.4 million and were built by GCS/Sigal, LLC.

DC Public Library Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper says improvement to the branch includes new web-based tutorials and a doubling of computers to 48 Dells and Macs for teens. On opening day, the branch offers 50,000 books with space for 80,000.
The library is one of thirteen of the 24 in the city that will have been built or renovated over the course of the past two years. During Mayor Anthony Williams' administration, and through Mayor Adrian Fenty's tenure, a re-distribution of funds has translated to beefier collections, more targeted programming, and updated technology in all branches. Over the past five years, she says, community library attendance has doubled.

"There are a lot of little ones in this community," says Cooper of the Petworth neighborhood. "We look at the demographics and shape our plans accordingly." A whole wing of the second floor is dedicated to children's books and reading space.

Ironically, "this library used to have a side entrance for kids so no one would see them and they wouldn't disturb people working," said Cooper. "Libraries are no longer hushed rooms unwelcome for children and families." Officials also emphasized the library as a hub for job searches and for securing help with resumes.

The ground floor level offers wide open spaces with plenty of light as well as lounge seating around the non-working fireplace.

The second floor houses the children's level, an expansion to accommodate more kids in the neighborhood.

The cork floors are new, yet "historically accurate" said DCPL spokesperson George Williams.

Two private study rooms flank a corner of the building on the second floor, with seating for up to ten people. On the lowest level, residents can reserve one of two conference rooms: one that seats twelve and a larger room for up to 100 people.

The second floor also offers space for travel guides and teens (who like the magazine section, apparently).

Washington, D.C. Real Estate News

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