PoP Preview: Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library

We’ve had great fun judging the exterior of the new Shaw library which opens Aug. 2nd. Recently, I had the good fortune of getting a tour from DC Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and Branch Manager Eric Riley.

DC Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper points out some features at the new Shaw Library

There were still a few boxes that needed to get unpacked when I stopped by but I was still able to grab a few interior photos. I’m super happy to report that the inside is about as impressive as the outside of the building. Shaw is a very lucky neighborhood though a number of other neighborhood locations are getting upgraded as well including Georgetown (should reopen in Oct.), Tenlytown (should reopen in Dec.) Petworth (should reopen in Jan.) and a few others including Mt. Pleasant.

Sculpture to be placed in front of Shaw library with neighborhood artist Craig Kraft in front of his home on R St, NW

But back to Shaw. It is really a beautiful sight. Located at 7th and Rhode Island Ave, NW (right across from the Shaw metro) it is certainly convenient. It consists of 3 floors and will have 80,000 books and 40 public computers including 8 apple computers for the teen room. There are also study rooms, conference rooms and a meeting room (that can be reserved online). A couple more cool features include the fact that the building is a green building (including a green roof) and will feature a sculpture at the point of the triangle out front that many will recognize from the Shaw neighborhood.

You can find more info about the library here.

As with many of my previews – the photos do far more justice than my words. Check lots more out after the jump.

Inside third floor

View third floor

external “skin” helps deflect direct sun light.

Holes in “skin” provide an unobstructed view

Cool details from one of the study rooms.

Cool “green” feature – lights go off automatically when enough natural light is detected.

Branch manager Eric Riley (left) and his team in the lower level.

40 Comment

  • “Had the good fortune of getting a tour”, that’s like Shymanski shooting the walk-off homer on opening day!

    PoP Rocks!

  • Why are the bookshelves so low?

    • 1– they all aren’t low. The longer sections are lower for looks and practicality. Someone standing up can see pretty much the whole library. You can’t really hide in between stacks– should cut down on some of the stupid things people do in libraries these days.

  • Very excited for the opening. That thing really went up after they broke ground.

  • Looks awesome! Well done, DC …

  • I’m sure the people who recently built the tent city across the street will be thrilled to make constant use of the rest rooms and air conditioning of this fantastic new library.

  • Can’t wait for the opening. Wonder if they are hiring?

  • Robin Givhan or those what not to wear people need to tackle some serious librarian style issues.

    • I assume they’re dressed so casually because they are setting up the library. It doesn’t open until Monday, right?

    • Yeah – what is your “style” for moving day?

    • Awesome! With all the insane homeless people and assorted craziness these people deal with for modest salary, they’ll be thrilled to hear you’re gonna buy them all-new library-chic clothing! Cheer up.

  • Beautiful. I hope all of the upgraded libraries look nearly as nice as this new one.

  • Very cool. Got a chance to check this out also. Should be a great addition to the neighborhood.

  • PoP- what are the odds of you getting us a sneak preview of the Petworth library? I’m dying to know how it’s coming along.

  • What’s the literacy rate in the Shaw?


  • I wonder if the glass facing Lincoln Westmoreland is bulletproof?

  • This incarnation is certainly more attractive and approachable than the concrete bunker it replaced, but it seems like the space could have been used more efficiently for a taller structure.

    • Yo what do you know about it? You an architect? You design buildings for a living? Urban planner? You work for the DC Public Library System too? Familiar with the funding considerations and how that relates to building design, heating/cooling, etc? You know everything, don’t you, and so you provide constructive and useful feedback on all topics, right?

      I suspect no. So sure, the space could have been used more efficiently for a taller structure, but hey, that structure could also be covered in diamonds and have water fountains that shoot liquid gold out of the faucets.

      So go back to your dream-world sir, since you clearly choose to live in a world that isn’t realistic.

      **PUMA STRIKE**

      • lol, this made my day. Pick your battles, dolph

      • Uh, I think he was probably just suggesting they try to do something like what’s being attempted up in Silver Spring, with an intregated library/civic space/housing structure. The library resides on the lower floors with the housing units above them.

        • You’ve negated your point and credibility by referencing Silver Spring.

          Thanks for making things easy.


      • What do your questions have to do with my comment? The only criticism I had was that 2-storey buildins seem to be wasteful in a city with limited land. Residential units or office space could have been incorporated into this design. Why so hot and bothered? Did you design this? Is this where you will be attending hobo-camp every day once it has opened?

        I don’t get your shtick…

  • I go to the interim branch now, and can tell you that Eric is a super nice guy. I’m really excited about this building. Libraries are awesome!

  • They should paint it brown so it looks like the Jawa sand crawler thing from Star Wars…

  • what a wonderful opportunity d.c. residents have to build or renevate libraries! i hope all neighborhoods take advantage of this gift…..with out to much negativity and infighting.

  • My name is Casey, I work at this branch (I’m in it right now!). We’re very excited to see the last bits fall into place, as we’ve been in here stocking, shelving, shifting, and re-shifting books and everything else. This team of architects is awesome. For those of us who have been using or working in the Shaw Interim trailer for almost three years, it feels like being let out of jail for a crime you didn’t commit. Come on down Aug. 2 and check it out (are puns back in style yet?)

  • The general aesthetic reminds me a little bit of a (much smaller) version of my favorite library in the country, the (insanely awesome) Seattle Public Library … I am always happy to see more contemporary architecture, generally, in DC public buildings.

  • I like the natural light workspaces. Does it have Wi Fi?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Yes there will be Wifi

      • I went there last week, and the WiFi does not work upstairs. It works downstairs, but only kids and their caregivers are allowed to sit downstairs.

        They didn’t seem to know when the WiFi would be working upstairs, but I wouldn’t say it’s likely until late Fall given all of the other priorities. Plus, the library is busy enough – I’m sure they’re not eager to cram it full of people hogging space with laptops.

  • This library is going to be fantastic. The interim library staff are friendly and helpful and I can’t wait to see them shine in the new space.

  • Eric and Nick are the best! Love all the staff – great programs for kiddies. too.

  • My God, I thought the old one was ugly!

Comments are closed.