Friday, September 21, 2007

watha t. daniel library -- when's it coming?

well, if you live in shaw (or pass through every day as i do), you know that the double-wide trailer set up as a temporary home for the watha t. daniel/shaw branch has been sitting there at 10th and rhode island with a great big colorful banner announcing what it is, but it isn't open. it's looked ready for MONTHS, but there has been no movement. it's a shame, but it seems like the library staff is simply incapable of pushing to get the temporary location open. if you poke around on the link i provided above (and at this link), you'll see promises to have the temporary location open by july 13th. obviously, it takes at least THREE months to get an electrical connection made to a building.

i have to ask, what are the librarians doing? there must have been staff at the 7th and rhode island location of watha t. daniel before it was closed temporarily for this work, right? are they just sitting at home waiting for a new library to open? (i'm sure they've been transferred to other branches temporarily....that question was rhetorical, for those who couldn't get that themselves.) but seriously, if you were one of those librarians, wouldn't you be incensed that you can't serve the people you were hired to serve?

now, there was also the side problem of a lot of trash around the new temporary location. there's a dumpster there that was overflowing with garbage for the last couple months. i kept thinking that it would get emptied the next day, but that next day never came. so i finally contacted someone about it: jack evans.

Councilman Evans,

I know that there have been issues with getting the interim Shaw Library open, and I'm sure you're doing what you can to get that process moving along. I'm writing though about the dumpster alongside the temp. library. It's been full of garbage for weeks, and no one has come to empty it. Trash is overflowing now and it ends up blowing up and down the street. Can you get one of your constituent services people on this and make the library or contractor or whoever is responsible come and empty it. It would be nice if the entire library ordeal that we're dealing with in Shaw was just a little less of an eyesore.


surprisingly, i received this reply within a couple hours:

thank you for writing me. I am forwarding your email to Archie Williams of the DC Public Libraries for his review and response to your email. We look forward to an update from Archie on the removal of the trash very shortly.

Thank you again for contacting me.


and then archie williams emailed the councilman (and me) within the minute:

Councilmember Evans,

We will correct this immediately and stay on top of it.

Archie D. Williams

the trash was removed that day. i couldn't believe how quick the response was. now, why can't we get the temporary branch open that quickly? i received this email separately from mr. williams:

We are in receipt of an issue with the trash dumpster at the Watha T. Daniels Interim Library, as well as, your concern with it being an "eyesore". We have addressed the dumpster issue as of yesterday. We will pay more attention to the outward appearance of this facility. Please be assured that we are doing all that we can to open the Watha T. Daniels Interim Library which will address the most pressing concern.

We do thank you for your patience and your interest in the Watha T. Daniels Library. Please feel to contact me if you have any concerns with the Watha T. Daniels Library or DCPL. If you would like, I will contact when the Watha T. Daniels Interim Library opens.

Archie D. Williams

so i emailed him back:

Mr. Williams,

Thank you so much for the quick action with the dumpster! I know that sometimes you just need the eyes of the citizens of the city to keep a look out for things in order to help you all do your job and direct effort where it's needed.

I appreciate your candor and openness in talking to me about the issues with the library. I do have one other question. There has been an ongoing chain of dates for when the old library is going to be demolished. The latest I saw was a promise that the building would be removed by the end of July. That obviously didn't happen. Do you forsee any movement at the corner of 7th and Rhode Island before the end of 2007?


and that led to this response:

You are correct and when a citizen brings an issue to our attention we will address it as soon as possible. The demolition contractor has applied for a demolition (raze) permit. Honestly, I am somewhat mystified as to why it takes so long to get these permits and not just for the Watha T. Daniels Neighborhood Library, but three others. To address your question directly, this building will be demolished before the end of the year.

Archie D. Williams

so, that's something. but the library is still not open. until that happens, this is still overall a sad example of how, no matter how far we've come in DC, we still have a LONG way to go.


Unknown said...

way to bring the system to it's knees!

si said...

DCRA is broken. Pepco is dysfunctional. But I'm curious, how can work on the burned out Georgetown Library start in a matter of weeks? And in Shaw its 4 yrs and library.

Thats nice they picked up trash, just peachy.

Ben Schumin said...

Meanwhile, I go past the actual Watha T. Daniel building (the closed library) regularly, and the only progress in the last six months has been to erect a chain-link fence around the entire site and some asbestos work. One has to wonder what the deal with the DC library system is to have the library closed for more than three years and nothing...