Mt. Pleasant Library Rendering

mt p lib 2

From the Mt. P Listserv:

“On Wednesday, June 3, 2009, DC Public Library held the second community meeting since showing the public preliminary design plans on March 26, 2009 for an expansion to the rear of the current Mount Pleasant Library building. There were more than forty people in attendance.

Although the public was expecting to discuss at least four design schemes, DCPL showed the already discussed plan to renovate within the existing walls and a plan they are calling Scheme F. DCPL staff concluded that the renovation plan would just not suit their “building program” so in essence the audience was given one choice, Scheme F — there was no compromise on this.

The architect, Henry Myerberg and Associates, presented Scheme F using a slideshow of images depicting the floor layouts and only a couple slides showing the real-world renditions of the expansion. You can find these here >>

The full-expansion would increase the size of the library more than 4,500 square feet and extend back from the current building to the library property line. This would put a three-story expansion less than twenty feet from the apartment buildings adjacent and behind the library.

mt p lib 1

Community comments ranged the spectrum. Some audience members gave the new plans enthusiastic support despite seeing these details for the very first time. Others were visibly frustrated and upset, especially about not being given much choice and the lack of meaningful discussion around fire safety concerns.

Mtp rendering

So what do you think of the plans? You can also send feedback to The District Dynamos (who sent the original email) at
[email protected]

18 Comment

  • Oh God. I feel really bad for this architect. Here is a wonderful plan that sensibly respects the building’s classic feel, and the Mt. P NIMBY busybodies are about to have a field day with it. I guarantee you this will never get built because the strict preservationists will make every effort to tear it apart (like the cleveland park Giant). The fire hazard thing is just a way to avoid saying that they won’t approve anything that actually adds architectural diversity to the neighborhood. I would expect to see nothing, ever, or a bland addition that looks like the state department. The worst thing about this city are the little civic groups with all their anti-development activism. Get a job, people.

    And yes, I went there.

  • I liked the first one better with the modern glass addition that the nimbys raised hell about. But then Im not an old fuddy duddy. That said this one is good too and the library will be way more functional as a result of the increased size. This SHOULD make the neighborhood very happy. A first class library like this one gives us all a place to bring our children and makes the neighborhood that much more desirable to house hunters looking to have kids. It still amazes me that the city came looking to invest in our neighborhood and instead of thanking them the neighborhood just groaned about the design. Im sure it will be remembered the next time DC is looking to allocate money to neighborhoods for modernizing schools etc.

  • I think everyone who is excited about the prospect of a new library should take time to email their support to the link above. Tell them it looks great and to please move forward. clearly the majority of residents support this. We just have jobs and familys and lives that make attending these meetings impossible. giving Laurie Collins the floor as always

  • That looks nice but the 3rd picture of the inside is a pretty fantastic.
    There will never be that many people in a library.

  • I wonder if the community would change their whining opinions if they realized that the architect is getting paid to produce all these extra schemes with their taxpayer dollars.

    There is a slim chance that the architect agreed to unlimited design revisions on a flat fee, but more than likely the architect agreed to one design and to make minor revisions to that based on feedback. And after that he rakes in extra billable hours for every new scheme they request. In this economy, he’s probably quite happy to keep churning out new designs.

    And the differences in the various schemes will continue to be smaller and less distinct as time goes on. We are after all talking about a small addition to an existing building squeezed into a very small area. There are not infinite directions in which to go with the design.

  • I like it. It respects the current structure while giving the library the needed room to grow.

  • Looks good to me! I think the NIMBY types will object to any potential plan. Redesign it a hundred times, and they’ll find a hundred different things to object to.

  • Yes, but how are the bathrooms?!

  • @oldmanclem

    thanks for the update! I have a good feeling that we are not done with the Giant debacle yet. that nonsense has been going on for 11 years. Literally, NIMBYs have a delayed a wonderful and necessary project for 11 years. Can you imagine that? That’s like Soviet timelines. As a commenter (BSSB) on DCist said, these people were useful in the 50s and 60s when DC was seriously debating whether or not to build a superhighway through RCP, and they worked their a**es off to push the metro thing instead, but now they are completely ridiculous. Oh no! Modern architecture that improves a library! this is the end of our neighborhood! Heavens no! A grocery store that is oriented towards pedestrians and has limited parking! the sky is falling! i repeat: get a job, sirs/madams.

  • They forgot the burned out shell of a building behind!

  • I think the design looks great! It is about time we got a upgrade at the library. I am tired of the doom and gloom forecasts about how new libraries are ignoring the community input. It is kind of stupid to think that renting or owning in a community makes you an armchair architect. I see libraries being built all over the city and I want mine done too. I will be sending an email supporting the plan to move forward.

  • All – This process was not the typical MtP nimby situation – the community was actually pretty united against the original DCPL process, and design, which is quite rare for MtP. DCPL ignored the whole of Ward 1 at the start – this has been a DCPL problem thourhgout the city. The library, to their credit and with the help of Jim Graham, has taken steps to involve the community and find a reasonable compromise on some design/safety concerns. The architect said at the last meeting that the pauses and changes over the past few months have lead to a “better” design – I’d agree, it looks great.

    Instead of recycling your old MtP NIMBY complaints here, I think you should email the District Dynamos, Jim Graham and DCPL to let them know your support for the new design. All three of those groups, as well as other neighborhood groups, worked very hard to get to this great “compromise” design for Ward One. These groups demanded transparency and community outreach from DCPL (who really stepped up to the plate for Ward One) – this was more or less achieved. We should be celebrating this rather than simply complaining about “those MtP NIMBYs.”

  • As Cassandra said in Wayne’s World: “yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass when he hopped.”

    Like everything in this city, I’ll believe it when I walk through the doors. I give it 96 hours before some group springs up to oppose this and demand some sort of study be done.

  • Looks like it will be a very nice shelter for the homeless

  • Overall, looks nice. That one rendering of the children’s reading room is really unfortunate. Nice paintings on the walls, but they laid out a new floor right over the previous image and didn’t properly photoshop it. It looks like they chopped off half of someone’s head and buried a little girl’s legs. A little more attention to detail would be nice. Pretty funny pic!

  • @ Ward One Library Patron

    I am also a ward one library patron and did not see what happened in Mt. Pleasant the way that you did. I am glad to see the project move forward but the community wasn’t all that concerned with the library’s outreach. I do know that as a regular user, there was always information in the library about plans to do a new library.

    People who were united seemed very similar and didn’t look like the people who that make up the neighborhood. Nobody had young kids. Everyone was white. Please. That is classic nimbyism.

    Like I said, it is a good thing that the library is moving forward. But let’s not make it out to be some thing that unified all of the community. Never in any of this “outrage” was there any voice from the Latino community involved. It should move forward but let’s cut out the lies. We have enough snake oil to last us.

  • @ Anonymous 10:55

    I think you sort of proved my point – there was no substantial voice from the Latino community. Hell of a job getting community input by DCPL, no? The folks that participated in the process (and they were not “all white”) did their best to get more folks involved in the process. That the initial meetings were not representative of the broader Ward One community was the problem and a real shame – a true failure of community involvement on the part of DCPL.

    We shouldn’t confuse lack of participation in the process by library patrons as tacit support for the original design/process. I’m certainly not calling this some magical happy ending – I think its worth acknowledging though that the process was terrible at the start (Ward One is a big place, a couple of signs in the library didn’t cut it as reaching out), many, including DCPL to their credit, worked to make it better and a compromise was reached. As you noted, its certainly not perfect, but to imply this was some sort of exclusionary NIMBY meddling is not correct. More people, perhaps not enough as you suggest, became involved as the process opened up a bit. A compromise was reached. This is good, right?

  • I hope that new library will come complete with books, too. The present library in MtP is just pathetic, with just 1 small room of old books. It’s only useful for DVDs. Why does that not surprise me? Nobody in that neighborhood can read English anyway though, so maybe it’s a conscious decision on the part of DC Gov.

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