As you may know, the Southwest Neighborhood Library will undergo a complete demolition and rebuild over the next two years. The most commonly asked question I receive as the President of the Friends of the SW Library is, “when is the library closing?” Unfortunately, a specific date is unavailable right now. We were initially told to prepare for a closing at the end of September. The Friends suspended book donations, stopped sales and many of the donations are now packed in boxes awaiting shipment. However, I was recently advised the building will close in late Fall with a possibility of an end-of-year close.

This is not welcome news to any of us. However, the delay is a matter of process, and not neglect by any party. The rebuild of a library involves the approval of several agencies, including the Council of Fine Arts, the local ANC and the Board of Zoning. Each meeting is scheduled based on the availability of the governing body. In addition, DC Public Library is required to obtain a variety of permits for both the interim location and the actual build site. Permits are issued when all specifications are met and the application can be processed by staff. Delays can occur at any point and impact not only the building under construction but every project on the schedule after it.

A community meeting on the final exterior design and the interior plans should occur in the next few weeks. We will get word out to the community as soon as a date is finalized and announced. If you want to keep abreast of the latest news about the library project or refresh your memory on the planned layout of the new structure, go to to review the contents and sign up for updates.

BY Georgine Wallace

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