Lamond-Riggs Library Design Unveiled

By Robert Oliver (Contributor)

On Tuesday, November 19, over 40 community members met at the Lamond-Riggs Library to attend the latest community engagement meeting on the new Lamond-Riggs Library design. DC Public Library Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan hosted the meeting and introduced the HGA architect team led by Peter Cook, Design Principal.

Mr. Reyes-Gavilan gave a brief summary of the project timeline. He stated that the Lamond-Riggs Library project began in fall 2017, has a projected closing of summer 2020, and will reopen by late 2021. He also thanked his team and the Lamond-Riggs Library Friends for the work done so far. Next, Mr. Cook spoke.

Mr. Cook cited that the community emphasized three elements which, in turn, drove the design process: Natural Light, Quiet Spaces, and Local History. Then, he touched upon the site and building considerations faced by his team. Although the current site looks spacious, it contains three setbacks (two at 15’ and one at 20’) that frame the building’s size to 11,800 square feet per floor. Based on these restrictions and a heritage tree on Jefferson Street NE, the current parking lot size and location was deemed optimal. The library entrance will be moved closer to Kennedy Street, shortening the walk to the parking lot. Also, the building contour was modified from a rectangle to a parallelogram, with children’s and adult/teen programming on the first and second floors, respectively. Lastly, the building will feature a ground-level front porch, second floor balcony facing Jefferson Street NE, and a stormwater garden at the rear. 

The interior features a 100-seat, dividable meeting room and a smaller room supporting 12 to 20 occupants. Several study rooms are planned that support between four and six occupants. To address community history, Mr. Cook suggested the concept of a Heritage Wall that the community will develop. Before taking questions, Mr. Cook welcomed community input on the project.

The following are responses to audience questions:

  • The number of parking spaces remains the same, which is estimated at 11.
  • A bus stop at South Dakota Avenue and Kennedy Street NE was requested. WMATA makes the ultimate decision.
  • A bump-out at the intersection of South Dakota Avenue and Jefferson Street NE was requested.  It will be looked into.
  • Food will be allowed in the library per current policy.
  • A room for the Lamond-Riggs Library Friends is allocated.
  • A request for more books in Chinese, Spanish and other languages was made.
  • The new library will meet the LEED Silver standard, but no green roof will be installed.
  • Additional artwork, including sculpture, is under consideration.
  • The interim library will be located at the Modern at Art Place, pending execution of a lease agreement.

View the full presentation at

The project website is

REMINDER-November 19: Lamond-Riggs Library Design Community Meeting

Lamond-Riggs Library Community Meeting: Design of the New Library
November 19, 2019
7:00 PM
Lamond-Riggs Library
5401 South Dakota Avenue NE

Join your friends and neighbors for the next meeting about the new Lamond-Riggs Library. The design team will share the latest designs and gather your feedback. Learn more about the project at

November 19: Lamond-Riggs Library Design Community Meeting


Lamond-Riggs Library Community Meeting: Design of the New Library
November 19, 2019
7:00 PM
Lamond-Riggs Library
5401 South Dakota Avenue NE

Join your friends and neighbors for the next meeting about the new Lamond-Riggs Library. The design team will share the latest designs and gather your feedback. Learn more about the project at

Next Stop Neighbors – Robert “The Library Guy” Oliver

By David Kosub (Contributor)

Robert Oliver has been a fixture in our community for decades. He is the type of person with a deep knowledge of the community, will rally folks to address a community concern, ask many questions during community meetings, and will  be seen out and about at community events. But, how well do you really know him?

Join us today for this Next Stop Neighbors episode where we have a porch conversation with Mr. Oliver, We’ll hear about some crazy July 4th parties, his activism to get a paved trail connecting North Michigan Park with Fort Totten metro, learn why he always has enough change to take a bus, some info on the status of the Lamond-Riggs Library redevelopment…and best of all, some magic too!

Click here to listen to the conversation (running time: 12 minutes)

Robert Oliver and David Kosub in front of the Lamond-Riggs Library

Background on Next Stop Neighbors:

Welcome to Next Stop Neighbors where we get an opportunity to hear the voices behind the faces and places in Lamond-Riggs and the surrounding communities. Through this podcast series, you will meet some friendly neighbors and hear their perspectives on the community through civil, casual conversations. From the small business owner who just opened up, to the non-profit organization trying to make a difference, to the community leader describing their vision for the neighborhood, and the resident around the corner who has lived here for 50 years, we all have a story to tell. We welcome recommendations and, better yet, your own 10-minute interviews too!

Can’t get enough Next Stop Neighbors? Check out these past conversations for more:

Soon-to-Be Moms and Soon-to-Be Dads (September 2019)
Explore! Children’s Museum (August 2019)
Troka Insurance (July 2019)
Ms. V and Culture Coffee Too (July 2019)
Bertie Backus Urban Food Hub (June 2019)
LRCA Forward Team (April 2019)
Ramdass Pharmacy (March 2019)

October 4: Congresswoman Norton Office Hours at Lamond-Riggs Library

Congresswoman Norton Office Hours
October 4, 2019
2:00 pm-4:00 pm
Lamond-Riggs Library
5401 South Dakota Avenue NE

Congresswoman Eleanore Holmes Norton’s staff will be on hand on Friday, October 4, 2019 for office hours from 2 pm to 4 pm just outside Meeting Room 1 (Children’s Area). This is for any member of the community that is experiencing a problem with a federal agency, such as Social Security for example, and wants to open a case to address the problem.

Events Week of August 12, 2019: Toy Drive, Concert, Yard Sale, All Hands on Tech

August 5-30, 2019
DPR Toy Drive
Lamond Recreation Center
20 Tuckerman Street NE
DPR is collecting toys for children at Children’s Hospital. Drop off toys at the rec during the month of August.

August 16, 2019

Fridays at Fort Totten Concert Series: Feel Free Band
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
South Dakota Avenue & Galloway Street NE
Bring a lawn chair for seating. Sponsored by On Tap Magazine and The Modern at Art Place.

August 17, 2019

Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Yard Sale
8:00 am-3:00 pm
Link to map of participating homes. If you are interested in participating, email
Rain date: August 18, 2019

All Hands on Tech
11:00 am-2:00 pm
Lamond-Riggs Library
5401 South Dakota Avenue NE
Free tech support for DC residents

SAVE THE DATE: Explore! August Community Festival August 24, 10:00 am-1:30 pm at The Modern (400 Galloway Street NE). Free RSVP on eventbrite

PAL storytime at Lamond-Riggs Library

Join dogs from People Animals Love (P.A.L.) for a special story hour on the first and fourth Tuesday of each month featuring an opportunity for children to meet and read with dogs. P.A.L. story hours provide a great way for your budding reader to get some reading practice in with an attentive and patient audience. 

Lamond-Riggs Library is located at 5401 South Dakota Avenue NE. Find a calendar of events with activities for all ages at

SAVE THE DATE September 24: Norton in Your Neighborhood

Norton in Your Neighborhood
September 24, 2019
7:00 pm
Lamond-Riggs Library
5401 South Dakota Avenue NE

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will hold a community event, Norton in Your Neighborhood, at 7:00 pm at the Lamond-Riggs Library.  Congresswoman Norton will discuss recent issues she has been engaged in on behalf of District residents and take questions from the audience. All are invited to join neighbors at the library for an evening of civic engagement.

SAVE THE DATE August 17: All Hands on Tech

This program will be especially useful to senior residents.

All Hands on Tech (Ward 5)

Who: Connect.DC and OCTOHelps
What: All Hands on Tech Initiative
When:  Saturday, August 17, 11:00 am-2:00 pm
Where: Lamond-Riggs Neigborhood Library (5401 South Dakota Ave NE)

Description:  Connect.DC created The All Hands on Tech initiative in partnership with OCTOHelps to provide FREE technical support to District residents. One of the most important things a person needs to fully access technology is a functioning computer. Unfortunately, the cost of computer repair is too high for many District residents. Whether you have a laptop with a virus or don’t understand how to use your smartphone, OCTO is here to help.

July 22: Gearin’ Up Bike Repair Pop Up at Lamond-Riggs Library

Gearin’ Up Bike Repair Pop Up
Lamond-Riggs Library
5401 South Dakota Avenue NE
July 22, 2019
5:00 pm

Need to dust off that bike sitting in the garage? Gotta fix that flat tire? Visit Gearin’ Up Bicycles at a neighborhood library near you to receive free basic bike repair and maintenance. Limit one adult bicycle or two children’s bicycles per customer. For a complete list of Gearin’ Up Bike Repair Pop Up dates and locations at DC Public Libraries click here

Initial Space Concepts for Lamond-Riggs Library Reconstruction

The Lamond-Riggs Library will be rebuilt at its current location on South Dakota Avenue NE. On June 12, DCPL presented initial concepts for the space and services for the new library. Click the link to view the presentation.

The new library is expected to be roughly 23,000 square feet occupying two floors. One overarching issue is that the current library occupies roughly 50 percent of the current lot, which is over the 40 percent occupany allowed in the current zone. DCPL officials want the new library to likewise occupy 50 percent of the lot, so they will have to go to the Board of Zoning Adjustment to get approval. The new building will be built closer to the South Dakota Avenue property line with setbacks on the sides and rear.

The design team contemplated where to put the entrance. Currently, the entrance sits in between Jefferson and Kennedy. The team orginially thought about placing the entrance closer to Jefferson because that street does not see much traffic. However, there is not a controlled traffic signal at Jefferson and though there is a crosswalk at South Dakota and Jefferson, that crosswalk will likely be removed in the future. Therefore, the design team is leaning towards putting the entrance closer to Kennedy Street.

Parking will likely remain where it currently sits, closer to Kennedy Street across the street from the service station. Current plans project room for 12 spaces. The team is contemplating building a parking lane in front of the library that could possibly accommodate another eight spaces. Those spaces would not be restricted to library parking only.

As for the interior, current plans show a marketplace/neighborhood living room concept upon entering the building, along with an information desk. A large meeting room suitable for 100 people that can be subdivided and a space for children’s services will also be on the first floor. The second floor will have the adult services, smaller study rooms, and what the design team is calling a productivity space that will provide enhanced business services. There could be a small teen space on the second floor. Residents generally seemed fine with this division of space, reiterating the need to have separated children’s space that will allow children to be as loud as they want to be and roam freely in their own space.

Several residents expressed the desire for outdoor space, whether that be on the roof or perhaps balconies. It was hard to tell how seriously the design team is taking this idea. Other newly constructed libraries have beautiful, functional outdoor space, such as Woodridge and Cleveland Park libraries. Several residents also requested a cafe but DCPL Exeuctive Direcotr Richard Reyes-Gavilan stated, DCPL is in the library business not the coffee shop business. He stated that his 25 years of experience in the library business has taught him that the cafe within a library model fails more than it succeeds, so it’s pretty certain there will not be a cafe in the new library.

In the fall, the team expects to present renderings. DCPL is still on track to close the existing library in the first quarter of 2020. Construction will take approximately 18 months, so the new library is expected to open in late 2021. They will announce a location for interim library services closer to the date of construction. Updates on the project are available on the project website at

June 12: Community Meeting on Reconstruction of Lamond-Riggs Library

Lamond-Riggs Library Community Meeting
June 12, 2019
7:00 pm
Lamond-Riggs Library (5401 South Dakota Ave. NE)

Join your friends and neighbors for the next community meeting about the new Lamond-Riggs Library. The design team will present initial concepts for spaces and services and will gather community feedback.

Learn more about the project at dclibrary.newlamondriggs.

Give your input on DC Library Facilities Master Plan

From DC Public Library:

Do you ever wish you could help shape your city’s future? Now is your chance to make your voice heard.

DC Public Library invites you to help us plan our next 10 years.

DC Public Library is developing a Library Facilities Master Plan to help guide planning for library services across the city. Together, we can fine tune and expand library services to remain responsive to the District’s changing and growing needs.

Take Our Survey. Share it with friends and neighbors.

Attend a Community Meeting

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Tenley Library
Saturday, March 2, 11 a.m. Woodridge Library
Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m., Anacostia Library
Thursday, March 7, 7 p.m., Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 Eye Street SW

Can’t make it to a meeting?

Share your thoughts at

Learn more about the project at

January 17: Lamond-Riggs Library Reconstruction Community Meeting

Lamond-Riggs Library Reconstruction Community Meeting
January 17, 2019
7:00 pm
Lamond-Riggs Library (5401 South Dakota Ave. NE)

Please join your neighbors for the 2nd community engagement meeting regarding reconstruction of the Lamond-Riggs Library with DCPL officials and the design team
(1) Hear about the results of community input to date
(2) Review the draft Library Building Program

Project website:

Complete the Lamond-Riggs Library Reconstruction Design Survey

The Lamond-Riggs Library, at 5401 South Dakota Avenue NE, is being rebuilt. DC Public Library is engaging the community to develop the “Building Program” for the new Lamond-Riggs Library’s design. The Library wants to hear from you about what you want in your new library. Please take a moment to complete DCPL’s Lamond-Riggs Library design survey.

Project website:

Word Association Time: When I say Library, You Think ???

Guest post by David Kosub

11/3/2018: Post updated with correct email address for Lamond-Riggs Library Friends

Ok, so you know the Lamond-Riggs Library is being completely redone, right? Don’t believe me? Well, read thisthis, and this first.

Ok, now back to this post. At a community meeting on October 23, we met the design-build team selected for the library reconstruction, heard about their vision for the library, and also, they got to hear our vision too. It was exciting to see how earlier community feedback, such as that gathered from a survey, is being considered at this stage of the design process—at least one year out from the beginning of construction.

Focus groups broke out during the meeting too. Within my group, you could hear words like “engaging,” “inviting,” “atmospheric,” “airy,” “communal,” “dynamic,” and “innovative” being bantered around the discussion about what we want to experience in the new library. We wanted a place where you could sit around with a cozy book. We wanted a place to learn. We wanted our kids to feel at home. We wanted a place to experience culture. And, importantly, we wanted a place to gather and make our voices heard.

But, there is more to come. Close your eyes. Think of the library in your mind. Now, think about what you want it to become. Perhaps, you see a light-filled atrium with a mom reading to her kiddo on her lap. Maybe there is a high schooler using a 3-D printer and creating something you could have never dreamt. A teleworker sits quietly pecking away on their laptop in a big comfy chair.  There is that senior citizen cataloging his family history photos onto digital media. And, well, say hello to the striking plant in the corner providing a much-needed splash of greenery to the mix.

Do you see something else? Well, let’s hear it at upcoming meetings (perhaps in the comments section below too). This is your opportunity to contribute your special touch to the design and build.  Over the next year, public meetings will be held to ensure as much community feedback as possible.  We all want this library to be a striking and bold addition to the neighborhood, while remaining true to its roots.

Want more information on the project? Check out this link going forward for the latest and greatest info. And be sure to also reach out to the Lamond-Riggs Library Friends group to share your thoughts as well.

TONIGHT: Lamond-Riggs Library Reconstruction Community Meeting

Please come out tonight at 7:00 pm to Lamond-Riggs Library to meet the design team selected for reconstruction of the library. DC Public Library officials and HGA design firm will be present to discuss the design schedule and hear ideas from residents.

One thing that has come up in discussion is parking. Some have made the point that Lamond-Riggs Library is one of two libraries in Ward 5, and that it serves some neighborhoods that do not have great metro access. I will go ahead and say that expectations should probably be reined in with respect to getting more parking on the site. There are fewer than 20 parking parking spaces at the current library. It is highly unlikely that library officials will look to build underground parking because that is really really expensive. Tariffs are affecting steel prices so there is already concern that the millions of dollars allocated for the design and construction of a new library will not go as far as officials had envisioned. The library is a comfortable walking distance from Fort Totten metro station, and there is a parking garage nearby at Art Place at Fort Totten. Perhaps there can be discussion down the line about having validated parking at the garage. Maybe DC officials can work to get a bus stop directly outside of the library.

Another issue has been how out-of-the-box the design should be. DCPL has earned a reputation for designing unique neighborhood libraries that tend to elicit strong opinions. I am all for it. Take Woodridge Library. To me, it looks like a cross between a spaceship and a chapel, and I love it. The outdoor space facing the park is beautiful. There are design issues with the space inside as sound carries from one floor to the next. One positive thing about being nearly last in line in library renovations is that DCPL has been able to learn from design challenges at other libraries. One big success for DCPL is the Cleveland Park Library, which was recently completed. It is a really beautiful space, and I think it hits a lot of right notes in terms of design and utility. There are small conference rooms as well as huge meeting rooms that can be subdivided to fit audiences of smaller sizes or opened to easily fit 150 people. There are individual work stations with electrical outlets and charging ports as well as larger tables. There is a nice children’s area on the entrance level where children can be as loud as they want to be. I think it is worth taking a trip up there to see how DCPL really got it right with that redesign.

Come out tonight to learn how residents can shape the reconstruction of the Lamond-Riggs Library. Updates on the library reconstruction are available on the project website at