Library of Congress Shelves Plans for Scholars’ Residence on East Capitol
by Larry Janezich
The Library of Congress (LOC) has cancelled plans to build a new Scholars’ Residence on East Capitol Street. Capitol Hill Corner’s inquiry to the Library about the status of the Scholars’ Residence project proposed for 601 East Capitol Street, SE, resulted in the following response:
“The Library has been working to build a program that would make extended periods of research and collaborative work with the Library’s collections and staff more affordable for young scholars and information professionals from around the country. The vision had originally been a bricks and mortar approach, but we have recently explored alternate means to achieve that goal and have decided on a different programmatic approach.”
According to a spokesperson, the statement has not been “issued” per se, since the Library had not previously issued any statements about the plans, but the stakeholders have been notified about this decision. According to the spokesperson, “this was really a decision motivated by wanting to make extended research with our collections more affordable, and the recognition that there is more than one way to go about doing that. We believe we’ve identified a better solution than a building, and are looking forward to announcing more details in the near future.”
The Library of Congress Scholars’ Residence was expected to open for business in the spring of 2015. The project envisioned 50 new rooms providing temporary housing for recipients of LOC fellowships and scholars on sabbatical while engaged in research projects at the Library.
The federal government purchased the property in 1991 and converted the lower floor of the two building to a child care facility. The upper floors have remained vacant. It appears that the child care facility will remain in place.
The website for the project with additional details about the original proposal (www.loc.gov/rsc) has been taken down.