DC could build 3 new libraries by 2030 under $175 million improvement proposal

The D.C. Public Library released a $175 million improvement plan Thursday designed to extend library access to more residents across the city by the end of the current decade.

Called Next Libris, the plan will capitalize on the momentum gained during its current renovation plan, which will ultimately see the modernization of 24 of the city’s 26 libraries.

That project included major work on the central library, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, located between Metro Center and Gallery Place.

While the current improvement project is scheduled to end in 2024, the next project, according to the library’s Master Plan, will run through 2030.

The proposal will renew, replace or refresh a number of libraries and aspires to build up to three new ones, depending upon which “tier” of the proposal is funded by the D.C. Council.

Some of the District’s less-used libraries will be closed and new ones built to better serve the changing population centers of the city. New library construction would cost about $20 million.

The major expense of the proposal is the construction of new buildings, and that possibility is outlined in a section of the Next Libris document called “Grow equitably and smartly.”

That section includes three possibilities to address operational issues and service gaps, operational issues only or service gaps only.

Three new libraries would be built if the most robust version of the project is approved. The libraries would be in Ward 4, Congress Heights and Eckington/Edgewood.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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