Little Gem

D.C.'s branch libraries getting architectural makeovers

The Georgetown library reopens soon.
The Georgetown library reopens soon. (D.c. Public Library)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 12, 2010

They aren't huge buildings, and they aren't on the Mall, but the new libraries that began opening in the District in April are one of the city's architectural bright spots.

Earlier this year, the District added a new and bold facility on Benning Road and another in Anacostia. In October, the newly refurbished Georgetown branch reopens for the first time since a devastating fire in 2007. More than just a rehabilitation, the Georgetown branch will include completely new spaces on the first and third floors, and a lot more natural light.

Early this winter, an entirely new Tenleytown branch will open, designed by the Freelon Group. In an age of bland, glass-fronted office blocks and generic design, these little libraries stand out as genuine acts of architectural thinking. They are also making the District's libraries more attractive, more functional and more relevant to the people who rely on them.

-- Philip Kennicott

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