The D.C. Council took a second and final vote Wednesday to name a new Ward 8 library after late activist and State Board of Education member William O. Lockridge. The vote caps a months-long controversy over the propriety of renaming of library, which is scheduled to open in the coming months and was originally slated to be named the Bellevue Library after its surrounding neighborhood.
The vote also followed a last-ditch objection from D.C. Public Library board chairman John W. Hill Jr., who implored Council members in a Dec. 29 letter not to override the board’s choice of Bellevue.
“At the core of mounting frustration toward the DC government held by many of our residents and stakeholders is the belief that our elected officials have failed to follow the very laws they have established in favor of a political goal instead of one that will benefit residents,” Hill wrote. “The current process political officials are using to rename this [library] adds to this perception.”
After the council’s initial vote last month, he said he would likely resign from the library board after seven years should the council finalize the Lockridge renaming. “I just can’t be there to cut a ribbon on this library,” Hill said at the time.
UPDATE, 2:30 P.M.: Hill tweeted the following this afternoon, suggesting his fight to keep Lockridge’s name off the library is not over.
In a subsequent interview, Hill noted that there’s “nothing in the legislation that affects the library board’s ability to change the name” back to Bellevue. “I don’t know what the board’s going to do yet,” he said, adding that goes for his own preference as well.
What is unclear is whether the board would have to wait to do so until the bill is signed by the mayor and passes through a 30-legislative-day congressional review period. “Until it does, that building’s named Bellevue,” Hill said.
The letter in full: