As SE Library Prepares to Close, Taskforce Mobilizes for Interim Services

The ANC6B SE Library Taskforce met Sunday afternoon to organize support for interim library services during the renovation of SE Library.

As SE Library Prepares to Close, Taskforce Mobilizes for Interim Services

by Larry Janezich

Posted March 31, 2003

ANC6B’s Taskforce on the Southeast Library met on Sunday afternoon, to continue organizing support for interim library services during the two years + that Southeast Library will be closed for renovation, likely begin this summer. The group is chaired by ANC6B Commissioner David Sobelsohn.  Michelle Leporatti is vice chair and Ana Unruh Cohen has agreed to serve as taskforce secretary,

So far, outreach efforts by Taskforce volunteers have produced no plausible locations to site a temporary facility.  A preliminary list of needs includes a 300 – 400 s.f. room with a library staffer where books can be picked up and dropped off, access to the catalogue, a scanner, a copier, a few computers, and a selection of books. 

Other libraries such as the West End and the Southwest were accommodated with space in the Watergate and a mobile library respectively during their construction periods.  So far, DC Public Library’s response to the needs of residents using SE Library is the suggestion that they use the Northeast Library. 

Members of the ANC6B Taskforce find this unacceptable and are discussed mobilizing to seek support for interim services in the following ways: 

  • A meeting with CM Charles Allen to appeal for his assistance.
  • Sobelsohn is circulating a draft letter to all members of the DC City Council and the Mayor which he will take to ANC6B next Tuesday seeking their imprimatur before sending it to city officials.
  • Sobelsohn is also circulating a draft letter inviting Executive Director of DC Public Libraries Richard Reyes Gavilan to the next meeting of the Taskforce on March 26 to ask for treatment similar to that accorded residents of Southwest and the West End Libraries and to emphasize the Taskforce’s concern about the effects of construction on residents who live near the library.
  • Testify at the upcoming DC Budget Hearings to support additional funding for interim services.
  • Organize an email and petition campaign directed at DC Councilmembers.

New members joining the group have brought some significant assets to the table.  Susan Sedgewick representing the powerful community organization Capitol Hill Village participated in Sunday’s meeting.  And a pair of bibliophiles – Kelsey Gold and Celli Horstman – offered to lend their access to the hundreds of members of local social media communities – BookTok, Bookstagram, and BookTube and the book clubs that connect on those sites – to garner support for interim library space. 

After the meeting, Gold told Capitol Hill Corner:  “The library is so important to us. While the Southeast Branch modernization effort is really exciting, I was disappointed to hear at this meeting how much uncertainty there is regarding the provision of local interim services so close to construction.  I will definitely be reaching out to my local elected officials as a concerned resident and will advocate within my local bookish communities to do the same.”  For more, here’s a link to a WaPo article on bookstagram:

One popular event associated with the library which will be suspended during the construction period will be the monthly book sale organized by the Friends of the Southeast Library.  Without storage space and adequate adjacent space to set up a book sale, FOSEL leadership does not think it will possible to continue during construction. 

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