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PoP Preview – The Newly Renovated Petworth Library

On Wed. afternoon I had the great honor of being invited to check out the newly renovated Petworth library, located at the intersection of Kansas, Upshur and Georgia Ave, NW (technically 4200 Kansas Ave, NW), which will re-open this Monday, Feb. 28. I was once again able to meet with Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper who we last met with back in mid-Jan. to tour the new Tenley-Friendship library.

The Petworth renovation is closest to the Georgetown renovation in that they were historic buildings that kept their good bones and were improved upon rather than brand new buildings like Shaw and Tenleytown. As a result there isn’t the same jaw dropping reaction when you see it but the improvements are equally impressive.

Their Web site says:

The library will re-open on Monday, February 28, 2011. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 10:30 am.

The library will host a Grand Opening Party on Saturday, March 12 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The library will feature:

· Welcoming spaces with comfortable seating and lounge chairs
· More than 40,000 books, DVDs and other library materials with a capacity to hold up to 80,000
· Children’s Story Room for storytelling and other children’s activities
· Dedicated areas for adults, children and teens
· 40 computers with free Wi-Fi Internet access
· Laptops for personal use or computer training classes
· 100-person community room connecting to a new outdoor patio
· 12-person conference room
· Two quiet study rooms
· New and restored woodwork throughout
· Parking lot
· Landscape and site improvements
· New cupola and balustrade constructed according to the original 1938 design

When asked what the most striking features of the new library were, Chief Librarian Cooper didn’t hesitate in her response:

First – the area is now flooded with light;
Second – the map on the floor upon entering is truly striking (photo after the jump);
Third – the basement community room which used to be a garage storage space was expanded and can now sit over 100 people;
Fourth – though the cupola was in the original architectural plans it was not built until now.

The other incredible improvement is simply the amount of public space. Though the total space had always been around 18,000 square feet before the renovation only 9,500 was public space and today 14,200 square feet is used for public space (an increase of over 42%).

The Petworth library has always been a gem for the community and today it really looks like one. And tomorrow it will no longer be a diamond in the rough.

As always the photos (after the jump) are far more impressive than any written description I can give.

Next up on our library tour will be the Mt. Pleasant library set to be completed around the end of the 2011.

Lots more photos after the jump.


Fantastic map on first floor seen after walking through front door


Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper


Huge basement meeting room


Newly constructed cupola


Will look even better when Georgia Ave beautification project is completed

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