The chairman of the D.C. Public Library board said Thursday that he’ll follow through with a promise to resign should the D.C. Council vote to name a new library in far Southwest Washington after former school board member William O. Lockridge.
John W. Hill Jr. did not give a date certain for a resignation, noting that he had not consulted yet with his board colleagues and that the renaming bill now before the D.C. Council must pass a second and final reading. But it is unlikely that legislators will reverse course, with 11 of 13 members supporting the bill on its initial vote.
“I just can’t be there to cut a ribbon on this library,” he said. “It’s just so difficult to imagine being in that position, especially with what I know to be absolutely true about this individual.” Hill penned a Washington Post op-ed last Sunday outlining his objections to naming the library for Lockridge, who died in January.
George Williams, a library spokesman, said the would-be “William O. Lockridge Library at Bellevue” is tentatively scheduled to open in the early months of next year.
It is possible that the library board could override the council’s wishes and vote again to name the $15 million facility the Bellevue library. But Hill said he wouldn’t recommend the board do so. “I wouldn’t want to put the library board in that position,” he said. “I don’t think it would stand. I think the council would see it as a question to their authority.”
Hill, who is CEO of the Federal City Council and has served on the board since 2004, said a transition will be probably be discussed at a January meeting of the library board, where a new chairman is set to be elected.
Like the seven other current members of the library board, Hill is serving indefinitely on an expired term. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) is expected to nominate new trustees in the coming months.
Hill said that before he steps down, he is hoping to ensure that current Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper retains support. Gray’s chief of staff, Christopher Murphy, said the administration was on the same page.
“She’s a valued member of the administration, and we want her around,” he said Thursday of Cooper, chief librarian since 2006.