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Southeast Library to Close For Modernization Jan. 4

DC Public Library has announced that the Southeast Library (403 Seventh St. SE) will close for modernization on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024.

This closure paves the way for a $33 million modernization of the historic library.

It’s been a long time coming. The first meeting to discuss the renovation took place all the way back in 2018. Neighbors continued to meet online to discuss the project throughout the pandemic. Designs were presented, refined and discussed at community meetings through 2021 and 2022.

The final community meeting to discuss the project will be on Dec. 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Southeast Library. DCPL and the Southeast Library construction team Whiting-Turner are expected to cover upcoming logistics and what to expect during the construction.

In 2023, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B formed a SE Library Task Force that focused on the renovation and attendant issues. The task force worked with Councilmember Charles Allen (D) to secure funding for DCPL interim services at Arthur Capper Community Center.

The task force will continue to meet with an eye to coping with community concerns during construction. Task force members have expressed concern that the interim services at Arthur Capper will be inadequate. The next meeting is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, on the second floor at 700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

The new library will increase space as much as possible within the limited footprint of the site and within the constraints of historic preservation. The team said there would be 25 percent more meeting space, 50 percent more room for books, double the space for adult seating and three times the space for children and families.

According to DCPL, it will also feature:

  • Preservation and restoration of the building’s historic elements
  • Universally accessible entrance and maintenance of the original historic entrance
  • Restoration of the exterior landscape
  • Environmentally sustainable design
  • Improved sight lines
  • More meeting, collaboration, and study spaces

During the historic modernization, the official interim library for the Southeast Library is the Northeast Library (330 Seventh St. NE).

The Arthur Capper Community Center at 1000 5th St SE will also serve as an express location. The exact days and operating hours will be announced later. Services available at this location include:

  • Holds Pick-Up
  • Item Return
  • Wi-Fi Access
  • Public Computers for Children, Teens, and Adults (Desktops and Laptops)
  • Printing and Copying

Library Programs will be temporarily relocated as follows:

  • Story times at 700 Pennsylvania Ave SE
  • Book Clubs at a location TBD, including Travel Fiction Book Club and BookTok Book Club

Library by Mail Service is a free service for eligible Washington, DC residents. This service includes the mailing of library books, DVDs, and magazines. Eligibility includes residents with permanent or temporary disabilities or underlying health conditions. Materials are mailed in a postage-paid library pouch through the U.S. Postal Service.

To learn more about the Southeast Library historic modernization, visit https://www.dclibrary.org/news/southeast-library-modernization-project

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