By Southwester Staff

At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson delivers remarks at the grand opening of the new Southwest Library; Courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Christina Henderson

The new Southwest library opening was truly a Southwest event, with Southwest’s favorite son Ben Sands serenading the small group with beautiful flute music. Library Executive Director Richard Reyes Gavilan kicked off the short ceremony and thanked those who had a role in the new library’s creation. 

The next speaker, Ward 6 member of the DC Public Library Teen Council Sheridan Waters, introduced Mayor Muriel Bowser. The Mayor thanked residents for their patience during the pandemic, encouraged everyone to be vaccinated, and complimented the Executive Director on the beauty of the new library.  

Councilmembers Charles Allen and Christina Henderson also addressed the group. Councilmember Henderson recalled her time as a Southwest resident and noted the lack of windows in the previous building but remarked on the community’s spirit and love of libraries. 

DC Public Library Board of Trustees President Monte Monash concluded the ceremony and applauded the addition of the new transformation lab with a new 3D printer. 

One Southwest community member received ongoing praise throughout the event: Georgine Wallace, of Friends of the Southwest Library. As Councilmember Allen stated, “There are definitely lots of thank yous to go around, but I want to give my personal thanks to my good friend and somebody who’s been an incredible leader in this journey, and that’s Georgine Wallace…She has been an amazing leader for the Southwest community and the Southwest library.”

Councilmember Allen then brought it home:

“Today for me is not just a celebration about this building. It’s not just about the 4 corners, more glass, more meeting rooms, more books, more technology and the solar panels on the roof. It’s about so much more than that. This is truly a celebration of what a community can do when it comes together, creates a shared vision for what the community needs, what the community deserves, and then sees that through.

This is going to be a place where we gather for years. I think for generations. It is going to be the place where neighbors come together. Where a kid after school needs to have a place to come do homework or needs a safe space. Where we come to gather as a group to have conversation and have meetings. It’s where folks will come to find a job for the first time. This is going to be a place for generations to come that families will see their city represent their values and serve the community of Southwest and the whole city. 

I think we have set the bar for what we expect out of all of our libraries. Rich and his team keep raising that bar but we just raised it again Southwest. I’m really proud of you.” 

The entire 23 minute ceremony can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQy_6QOTuIU

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