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ERIC Number: EJ786544
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun-1
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0363-0277
Cooper's Challenge
Oder, Norman
Library Journal, v132 n10 p36-40 Jun 2007
A funny thing happened while the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL), already suffering from deteriorated facilities and systems, slogged through stasis (and three interim directors) after the 2003 departure of Director Molly Raphael. Mayor Anthony Williams presided over the city's economic turnaround--or, some charged, cozied up to developers--and then focused on neighborhood issues, including new resources for DCPL, in his second term. As the Williams-appointed library board and task force prepared ambitious plans for a new central library and revamped system, the city boom continued. Now DCPL, with many of its 27 locations long overdue for updates and with Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper on board since July 2006, finds itself in an enviable if not quite comfortable position. It owns some valuable sites, including an outdated central library in an unloved but architecturally notable building, but the future of those sites remains controversial. This despite the task force's endorsement of a plan for an ambitious new main library, for which the mayor nearly won city council approval in December 2006. The city council passed a plan to market library properties aggressively. However, Williams's anointed successor lost to Adrian Fenty, who has a different, though supportive, library agenda. Now, DCPL leaders recognize that grand plans must be preceded by steady fixes. They are working to upgrade facilities, processes, and leadership; basic functions like the library's web site, ILS, and procurement require significant changes. The mailing of overdue notices, suspended for eight years owing to budget cuts, was reinstituted in April 2006, before Cooper's arrival. But she has already presided over some palpable corrections. Systemwide Wi-Fi was added last September, and Sunday hours--a city council response to community concern--were restored a month later. Downloadable audio began May 1. An expected budget boost will enable Cooper to emphasize one of her signaturegoals, service to children and youth.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia