Mayor Adrian Fenty's announcement today that the city would build a hotel at the site of the old convention center dooms any hope of replacing the aging Martin Luther King Jr. Library with a new central branch. But make no mistake--Fenty (D) had been an ardent supporter of building a new library and using the 36-year-old Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building for another purpose. In Sept. 2006, he offered this quote to the Washington Post when asked to provide a position for the voter's guide before the mayoral primary:
"A new central library, offering access to modern research technology and first-rate collections, would invigorate our culture and community life. (My administration will ensure that the historic building currently housing the central library is restored and put to use in a way befitting the unique quality of its architecture.) Further, our branch libraries are greatly in need of modernization. Many are closed or in such poor repair they are difficult to use. My administration will ensure that the enormous backlog of deferred maintenance is addressed and that we rebuild our community-based library system."