Friends of Southeast Library Reach Agreement with DCPL to Continue Monthly Book Sales
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday morning, Friends of Southeast Library (FOSEL) met with the Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director of DC Public Libraries, and other library officials regarding the Friend’s need for additional space in plans to renovate SE Library to allow them to continue monthly book sales. Under the plan for renovation, the space the Friends use to organize book sales was reduced from 175 to 89 square feet and the Friends say they can’t continue book sales with so little. FOSEL began a campaign to solicit public support, circulating a petition and writing letters to public officials urging endorsement of their appeal just to keep the same amount of space they have now after the renovation.
At today’s meeting, Reyes-Gavilan acknowledged the contribution the Friends make to the Library and their need for more space. He revealed new architectural drawings and proposed that with changes to the design, the space allotted to the Friends could be increased to a total of 140 square feet.
After discussing pros and cons, the Friends’ Executive Committee agreed to the proposal. According to Neal Gregory, President of FOSEL, “The offer was not as much as we want, but enough to allow us to continue doing the monthly sales.”
The book sales attracts thousands of visitors and raises some $20,000 annually. All of the funds are used to benefit the DC Library system – most are spent for children’s programs at SE Library but funds are also made available to other branch libraries and programs supported by DC Public Libraries.
FOSEL had collected more than 600 signatures on their petition and CM Charles Allen was reported to be supportive of the Friends’ request.
The current library is closing at the end of 2022 when construction will begin. The renovated library is scheduled to reopen in late 2024.
(Full disclosure: The editor of Capitol Hill Corner is a member of FOSEL.)