Lamond-Riggs Library Final Design Unveiled

On May 20, 2020, DC Public Library officials held the final design meeting for the Lamond-Riggs Library, which will be completely rebuilt at 5401 South Dakota Avenue NE. HGA and Consigli are the design/build team. View the presentation here.

The design seeks to highlight some of the things residents said they wanted in a new library, such as lots of natural light, quiet spaces, having a place to highlight local history, and having a “wow” factor inside and outside. As noted in this post, the final design incorporates feedback from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. They have added more trees and a canopy for more shade for the outdoor seating areas, simplified the material and color palette, and extended the building facade further along South Dakota Avenue by reconfiguring the parking lot. To be code compliant, they will remove the curb cut closest to the South Dakota Avenue/Kennedy Street NE intersection resulting in just one vehicular entrance and exit to the site. The one commission recomendation the design team pushed back on was retention of what the design team referred to as the heritage tree. The commission questioned the need for retaining the tree given its health and placement on the site close to the corner of Jefferson Street. The design team felt it was important to retain the tree because it informs much of the design concept. So the tree will remain.

The project remains fully funded. The next steps are for the library to move the furniture and collections out of the existing location, conduct hazardous material abatement, disconnect utilities, and apply for a raze permit. From there, construction should move full steam ahead with completion expected late 2021. As noted many times by many people, this will be one of a few large active construction projects in the immediate vicinity over the next one to two years. DCPL officials and the construction team stated they will follow DDOT construction guidelines and convey road and sidewalk closures in advance to the community.

An interim library has been established at one of the retail locations at the Modern at Art Place at 395 Ingraham Street NE, just off South Dakota Avenue. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, all DC library facilities remain closed to the public. When facilities are permitted to open, the interim library will open with appropriate public health guidelines in place.

The project website is Questions and comments may be sent to

So long to the old library.

Lamond-Riggs Library built in 1983

May 20: Lamond-Riggs Library Community Meeting (Virtual)

Lamond-Riggs Library Community Meeting
May 20, 2020
6:00 pm

Join your friends and neighbors for a virtual community meeting about the Lamond-Riggs Library project. The design team will:

  • Share final designs for the new library
  • Provide a project timeline
  • Talk about what to expect during construction
  • Gather community feedback and answer questions

This meeting will be held online. Please click on this link to join the meeting.

Meeting attendees will be muted and their cameras will be turned off. Attendees will be able to see and hear the presentation, but the presenters will not be able to see or hear the attendees. During the Q&A portion of the meeting, attendees can type questions into the chat window or ask to have their microphone unmuted to ask their question verbally.

Learn more about this project at

U.S. Commission of Fine Arts Approved the Lamond-Riggs Library Design

By David Kosub (Contributor)

As part of the redevelopment of the Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library, the proposed design plans were presented to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts on January 16, 2020, and again on April 16, 2020 (agenda and meeting presentation here with minutes expected in May/June). Below is an excerpt from the Commission’s letter to the DC Public Library (DCPL) on April 23, 2020, following the April meeting indicating they approved the final plans.

The Commission of Fine Arts approved, based on its prior review of the submission materials, the proposed final design for the replacement of the Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library, located at 5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE. The Commission members expressed appreciation for the project team’s responsiveness to their previous guidance, including clarification of the architectural details and materials and the refinement of the site plan in order to create a sequence of south-facing public spaces that extend the library’s uses through shady, semi-enclosed outdoor rooms.

A recap of the January 2020 Commission of Fine Arts meeting is available here where they reviewed the proposed concept and made some suggestions to DCPL. The “previous guidance” referenced above relates to the following:  

  • Prioritize retaining the proposed perforated aluminum facade screen as it is essential to the overall design concept
  • Requested additional documentation of the perforated screen and its connection to the curtainwall system, as well as the typical details for the various components of the facades
  • Plant additional trees on the site to extend the concept of the abstract trees depicted on the facade screen (intended to be reminiscent of the landscape across the street that will soon be lost to a new mixed-use development) into the actual landscape of the library
  • Reconceive the proposed parking lot to be a part of the landscape, rather than keeping it as standard pavement, be pervious, and reconfigured to allow for the possible extension of the building’s facade further along the South Dakota Avenue frontage, as well as for the inclusion of additional plantings, such as shade trees, near this corner
  • Include a canopy and planting more trees to provide shade for the proposed outdoor seating
  • Refine and simplify the proposed material palette to bring additional continuity to the ground plane and furnishings.

ETA: The project website is

January 2020 Development Roundup

Here is a new year roundup with the status of a few neighborhood development projects to the best of my knowledge.

1. Art Place at Fort Totten

I have received a lot of questions about Art Place at Fort Totten, particularly regarding the first phase, which was completed in late 2017 at South Dakota Avenue NE between Galloway and Ingraham. Ramdass Pharmacy and Shining Stars Pediatric Dentistry have been open for a while now. Here is what we know or have been told so far about the rest of the retail spaces. The gym (24 Hour Fitness) and daycare (Love & Care Child Development Center) are under construction with completion anticipated the end of June this year. No word on when the urgent care center might open. A number of other retail spaces are under negotiation, but the developer is not prepared to share information at this stage about what those retailers might be. If you have specific retailers that you either have a connection to or want the developer to reach out to, please let the developer know (seriously).

As for the second phase, which will be located on South Dakota Avenue between Ingraham and Kennedy, as we know, it will be anchored by Meow Wolf, and will have an Aldi grocery store, Explore! Children’s Museum, food hall, maker spaces, around 270 rental units, and ground floor retail. Meow Wolf held community meetings last year and will continue its community outreach this year. The DC Council held a first vote on the closure of 4th Street NE between Ingraham and Kennedy on January 7, 2020, for this phase of the project. Construction is anticipated to begin first quarter of this year, but considering the DC Zoning Commission has not yet entered an order for this phase, it is unclear when we will start to see construction on the site.

2. Fort Totten South

What we have known as the Fort Totten South project, or the second phase of Fort Totten Square planned for the southeast corner of South Dakota Avenue and Riggs Road NE, should finally be breaking ground this year. The “Coming Soon” sign and webpage for what they are now calling “Riggs Park Place” are up. This is the project that started out as mixed use rental apartments above retail that changed to a back-to-back townhome project with ground level retail that then changed to traditional townhome units with retail. As of June 2019, the project changed again to traditional townhomes with rental apartment units for seniors above ground floor retail. Look for activity likely around spring of this year.

3. Rocketship Charter School

Interior renovation of the warehouses at 5450 Kennedy Street NE is ongoing for Rocketship Charter School. In addition to elementary instruction provided by Rocketship, AppleTree Learning Center will provide pre-kindergarten instruction, and the Social Justice School will provide middle school instruction. The campus is scheduled to open in fall 2020

4. Chick-fil-A

Stay tuned for more details about the Chick-fil-A planned to replace the KFC/Taco Bell on the corner of 3rd Street and Riggs Road NE. We have it on good authority that Chick-fil-A now plans to have interior seating. They are working on revised plans and hopefully will have those ready along with their traffic study in time for ANC 4B’s February meeting.

5. Lamond-Riggs Library

The design team is finalizing the design for the new Lamond-Riggs Library. An interim library will be housed at the Modern at Art Place on Ingraham Street NE. Given the regulatory and permitting processes required, DC Public Library officials cannot say exactly when the existing library will close, but they anticipate closing the existing library mid-year 2020 with the interim library opening a few weeks afterwards. View the planned design on the project website at

6. Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT)

Projected completion of the MBT extension to Fort Totten has been pushed back to September 2020 due to project delays.

Residents will likely get updates on these projects from ANC 4B and ANC 5A as the year progresses, so be sure you are signed up for email notification for your ANC.

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