Mayor Vincent C. Gray & Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper Stress Summer Reading at William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Library Opening

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Mayor Vincent C. Gray & Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper Stress Summer Reading at William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Library Opening

Building Is First Library in North America Designed by Renowned British Architect David Adjaye

June 13, 2012 – Today, DC Public Library (DCPL) Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper, world-famous architect David Adjaye and District residents joined Mayor Vincent C. Gray to cut the ribbon on the William O. Lockridge/Bellevue library.

The library is the first in North America to be designed by Adjaye, whose designs in the United Kingdom helped change how the public viewed and used libraries. This library design challenges the traditional idea of the library by arranging the space to encourage social interaction and maximizing natural light sources.

As the school year nears its end in the District, city leaders hoped that the new library will help get more children focused on reading this summer.

“Even with our progress during the school year, educational improvements in the District of Columbia will slow down unless our children read over the summer,” Mayor Gray said. “District libraries offer free books and more than 150 summer reading programs. By participating in these activities during the summer at the library, our children will return to school in the fall ready to tackle the next grade.”

“Today we are opening a state-of-the-art library that will give more District children a place that invites wonder, dreaming and reading,” said Cooper. “The Library takes its role in supporting education in the District seriously. By offering programs that help keep children's minds engaged over the summer, libraries better prepare students for their return to school in the fall.”

“Communities need empowering buildings – and this neighborhood library is all about the creation of a strong beacon for its community,” said Adjaye, who also designed the $500 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture currently under construction. “The primary act of public architecture is to create spaces that are socially edifying and socially liberating – using design excellence as a social force that makes good. This is at the heart of my work, so it is very exciting to see this building welcome its community through its doors today.”

Located at 115 Atlantic Street SW, the new library opens with 40,000 books, CDs, DVDs and other library materials and with space to hold 80,000 items; 36 public-access computers and free Wi-Fi Internet access; a large meeting room for up to 100 people and two conference rooms for up to 14 people.

The new library will quickly be put to use as the District's summer reading program kicks into gear. There will be 155 programs city-wide, six of them at the William O. Lockridge/Bellevue library alone.

The new library was designed by award-winning architecture team Adjaye & Associates and Wiencek Associates. Coakley Williams, Inc. partnered with Blue Skye Development, LLC to build the new library under DCPL’s Mentor-Protégé program. Developed with the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development, the program pairs small certified local businesses with larger businesses to create more opportunities for smaller firms to work on government contracts.

The library cost $13.5 million to design and build. Like all other DCPL buildings under construction, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification is expected and the building complies with the District's Green Building Act.