Cleveland Park Library

Photo of Cleveland Park Library ExteriorThe Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library has been slated to be renovated or rebuilt.

The Library will soon begin pre-design due diligence work. This work helps eliminate unknown building issues and informs decisions regarding building design. This work will help determine whether the modernization approach is to rebuild or undertake a major renovation. The project is currently funded at $15.2 million.

Due diligence includes the following:

1. Detailed site survey: A site survey is performed by a licensed professional surveyor. The site survey identifies the property lines, building corners, site utilities (water, gas, sewer lines), sidewalks, landscape areas, benches, trees, etc. The site survey also establishes the existing building's first floor elevation.

2. Hazardous material survey: A hazardous material survey, or Haz-Mat survey, identifies those materials that are considered health hazards (hazardous materials are defined by the EPA). Typical materials found in older DC libraries are asbestos, lead paint and mercury. These materials as they sit now are non-hazardous, but once demolition or renovation work happens, they can become exposed.

3. Geotechnical analysis: A geotechnical analysis is performed by drilling 30 to 35 feet into the ground and obtaining soil samples. The soil samples are then tested to determine their “bearing capacity” (how much weight they can support). This information is used to help design the building's foundation.

4. Building cost-benefit assessment: A cost benefit assessment, or analysis (CBA), looks at the entire building and all building systems. The CBA determines the useful life of the systems and makes recommendations for repair or replacement. The CBA also looks at the library’s Neighborhood Library Building Program and makes recommendations to the level of demolition or renovation needed to meet the program. The library program is the document that determines the amount of square footage needed. All these factors are then given a cost estimate that compares renovation vs. new construction. It is not the only document used to make the choice between demolition/new construction or renovation, but it does help the Library make an informed decision.

In the fall, the Library will select an architect to design the project.

Community Engagement

Community input is a critical part of the design process, starting with the selection of the architect.  The Library will establish an architect selection panel that includes representatives from the Cleveland Park community to select the architect to design the new Cleveland Park Library.

The Library will continue working with the community to gather input about what spaces and services customers would like to see in the new library. Library staff gave an initial presentation about the process and timeline at a meeting of the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library on March 26. More than 80 community members participated in the meeting and raised a number of issues including style of architecture, zoning limitations, parking, interest in having space for local archives and more. Read a summary of the questions and answers here.

Questions and comments about the project may be sent to Martha Saccocio at

Below, read a history of the Cleveland Park Library written in 1996 by the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library in cooperation with library staff.