After years of inaction, the process of re-constructing the D.C. Public Library’s Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Branch seems on-track. A new temporary library hums with activity, demolition of the old building well underway, and a meeting scheduled later this month to reveal a preliminary design for the new building.
Last October, a well-equipped temporary library opened on the grounds of Shaw Junior High roughly two years since the old Watha T. Daniel branch closed. The temporary library is equipped with a children’s section, periodicals, a number of public computers, and variety of books, and a visit this afternoon found a number of people reading, browsing the stacks, and surfing the web.
Library officials have planned a community meeting to unveil the preliminary design for the new library, to be held on Wednesday, January 30th at the interim library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
For the last several weeks construction crews have begun the painstaking task of the careful demolition of the brutalist 1960s structure, revealed in the photos below to be heavily reinforced concrete.
While I haven’t visited recently, during a visit last August I found the system’s long-beleaguered Martin Luther King Memorial Library to be in the best shape I’ve ever seen it. All four elevators were in operation, which hadn’t happened in so long the Washington Post saw fit to report the news. The lobby was so clean and well-lit it reminded me of the historic photos I’d found from when the building just opened, perhaps fitting as the building was declared a historic landmark by the city last July.