(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, DC Public Library Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan and local elected officials in cutting the ribbon on the new Woodridge Library. The opening also celebrated a decade of improvements to the District’s library system.
“The DC Public Library has become one of the most forward-thinking systems in the country,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The Woodridge Library will provide neighbors with a wealth of resources that will support their growth and development.”
The new Woodridge Library reflects how public libraries have expanded from focusing on borrowing books to institutions of human capital development. In addition to housing more than 40,000 books and other library materials, the 20,000 square-foot library features separate spaces for adults, teens and children; comfortable seating for 200 visitors; 40 public access computers and free Wi-Fi internet access; a large programming room for up to 100 people; and two conference rooms. It is also the first library to have a roof terrace that will also serve as a space for library programming. Located at 1801 Hamlin Street, NE, the Woodridge Library is the 17th District library to be renovated or rebuilt as part of the system’s transformation.
“The Woodridge Library will serve as an inspirational center of learning for residents,” said Richard Reyes-Gavilan. “It is grand and beautiful and demonstrates the profound respect that our government has for its residents.”
Since 2006, more than $250 million has been used to upgrade District libraries. In addition, the Library’s operating budget has increased since Fiscal Year 2012. As a result of these investments, the number of library card holders has increased by more than 120 percent and the number of items borrowed has increased by more than 225 percent.
The Woodridge Library is the first library in the U.S. designed by Bing Thom Architects. The firm also designed the renovations to the Arena Stage Theater in the District and the innovative Surrey City Centre Library in Surrey, British Columbia. Wiencek + Associates serves as the architect of record.
Coakley Williams, Inc. and Blue Skye Development, LLC partnered to build the new library under the Library's Mentor-Protégé program. Developed with the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, the program creates opportunities for smaller firms to gain experience working on government contracts. The cost for design and construction was $19.6 million.