Progress and Promise Mark New Benning Library Opening

The DC Public Library opened the new 22,000-square-foot Benning Neighborhood Library Monday morning with a ribbon cutting.  In addition to celebrating the first of five new libraries opening this year, the event showcased the District’s rapidly-improving library system.

Mayor Adrian Fenty joined D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, Council Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation Chair Harry Thomas, Jr., Ward 7 Council Member Yvette Alexander, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper, and members of the District of Columbia Board of Library Trustees for the ceremony and tour at 3935 Benning Rd. N.E. 

"This new library shows that the District is keeping its commitment  to bringing world-class libraries and facilities to communities across the District," said Mayor Fenty. "This is a great day for residents and book lovers alike."

The new building is the most recent in a steady number of library accomplishments as part of its transformation over the past three years.  The number of books checked out has steadily increased annually, doubling in 2007. DC was the first public library in the world to offer an iPhone application for reserving and downloading audio books. A recent public-private partnership sponsored by the library provided 177 District seniors with personal computers as part of a comprehensive program addressing the digital divide.

“New buildings only scratch the surface of the library’s transformation,” said Ginnie Cooper.  “More people are making their way to their library for the improved book collection, the great author talks and workshops, and the robust Internet connection.  We are excited that people are becoming aware of the District’s top notch library.”

Libraries also will open in Anacostia (April 26), Deanwood (Summer), Shaw (Summer)  Georgetown (October) and Tenleytown (December). The library’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, which is essentially flat over the fiscal year 2010 budget, allows the library to maintain its current hours and provide the resources needed for the new libraries.  

The Benning Neighborhood Library was designed by Davis Brody Bond Aedas. Forrester Construction managed the library construction, with 38% of the sub-contracts going to Certified Business Enterprises.  The cost of the Benning Library was $12 million.

Read answers to frequently asked questions about the Benning Neighborhood Library.