Georgetown Public Library: A Treasure Resurrected

Robert Devaney

If you had been standing at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and R Street in April 2007, staring at the Georgetown Public Library up in flames, with its roof collapsing as firefighters rushed to connect working hydrants and librarians threw damaged documents onto the sidewalk, you had a right to feel depressed. It’s a damn shame to see a library on fire. How and when would we fix this?

Well folks, we did fix it, and we made it better, thanks to all: from the construction workers and library staffers to Mayor Adrian Fenty. This renewal shines as an example of everything and everyone coming together to get the job done. If the fire were to happen today, as Councilman Jack Evans noted, the job may not have gotten done so well.

We are indeed heartened to see the elderly with walkers determined to enter the new library and read the news blogs by college students. Tired of Georgetown University’s Lauringer Library, a student blog posted: “Those who yearn for a more civilized studying experience would be well-advised to head up…to the newly reopened Georgetown Public Library.”

The library is rightfully praised for its latest technology, historic reconstruction, open reading spaces and Peabody Room with rare Georgetown papers and artifacts. We are especially delighted by the artwork in the children’s reading room. Panels with lyrics of the first sentence of “The Star-Spangled Banner” line the wall, and Francis Scott Key is shown reading The Georgetowner Newspaper. So, support the Friends of the Georgetown Library and visit with Jerry McCoy, curator of the Peabody Room to learn about your home and history. Make sure your library card is current. It is time to borrow books—print or digital—and enjoy your beautiful neighborhood library.

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