The Friends of Crummell School Want a Library

The Friends of Alexander Crummell School in Ivy City met with Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie on Monday to review a proposed redevelopment project, which includes the historic 1911 school structure and grounds. Crummell was closed in the 1970’s, but over the decades since, residents have continuously fought to resurrect the site for community uses.

Friends of Crummell School

“Disposition” of the land from public ownership to private is in legislation pending before the DC Council. Hearings, such as Monday night’s, are required to be held in the affected community whenever any public property is to be disposed. Although the actual Crummell School building and a portion of the adjacent land will remain publicly owned, with the chosen developer paying to restore the historic building at a cost of $14M, most of the surrounding land is being “surplussed” to the developer.

In plans, the school building is referred to as a community center but the exact nature of activities will be defined by residents and relevant city agencies. Residents have long asked for a library to be part of any redevelopment.

This can happen.

Almost all library services and programming, with the one major exception of extensive open stacks, could be coordinated to take place in a recreation or community center the size of the Crummell School. It only needs to be budgeted into DCPL’s operating expenses.

Library offerings at Crummell could consist of new book display, special order reserve and pick up, book return, baby and parent lap-time activities, children’s story hour, after-school tutoring, adult literacy classes, computer access, annual health insurance enrollment, tax preparation, and of course book groups. Instructional classes available at DCPL range from yoga, dance, knitting, maker workshops, to job training, technology, health, and continuing education offerings.

Another important feature of our DC libraries is free space for civic meetings of all kinds: ANC’s, citizens associations, Boy and Girl Scouts, the League of Women Voters, and voting. Many libraries serve as polling locations on election day.

DCPL is in the planning stages now of partnering with the Department of Parks and Rec for programming at the expanded Stead Recreation Center in Dupont-Logan Circles neighborhood when it opens in a couple years.

This can happen at Crummell. Residents have opportunities to ask for it now.

Right now, the DC Library Board of Trustees is asking residents to participate in a survey to be used to develop a 10-year Master Facilities Plan. Friends of Crummell and others who want a library as part of a community center should weigh in.

Take the online survey
Go to Question 16 to type in your request for a library at Crummell School in Ivy City. You have to do this specially, in the space provided for “What other comments would you like to share…”  (Yes, I agree it’s a little odd not to have a more direct question about potential additional facilities locations.)

DCPL is also hosting four community meetings in February and March to gather input about future library needs. Woodridge  in Ward 5 is the closest to Ivy City. If you haven’t seen the wonderful new Woodridge branch library, go there! All meetings are open to everyone.

Tues, Feb. 26, 7 pm., Tenley Library
Sat, March 2, 11 am, Woodridge Library
Weds, March 6, 7 pm, Anacostia Library
Thurs, March 7, 7 pm, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 Eye Street SW

Residents can speak in person to the Board of Library Trustees at their bi-monthly meetings. The next one is March 27, 2019, 6 pm, at DCPL Administrative Offices, 1990 K St. NW, Suite 500. Public comment is always near the top of the agenda. Attendees are free to leave after speaking if they have no further interest. Read the procedures for public comment.  Also contact the Trustees here

Finally, it’s oversight season. Residents can sign up to testify about the DC Public Library at the Committee on Education hearing, to be held on Monday February 25 at noon. Register online at   or call Chairman Grosso’s office 202 724-8081.

The Friends of Crummell School have asked for  library services and programming at their new community center, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t have them.   The Library Renaissance Project supports their request.

Flyers by the Friends of Crummell School encourage staying in touch directly. Contact:




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