Saturday, June 16, 2018

Still Life with Robin: The CP Library Is Back, Baby (and Boy, Is It Better Than Ever!)

by Peggy Robin

Coyaba Dance Theater at The Grand Opening
of the Cleveland Park Library 6-16-18
What a triumph! That’s not hype but the most accurate word I could bestow on the revamped, revised, reopened CP Library. It does every single thing that everyone on the gazillion-person-input commentariat asked of it. Except for maybe the rooftop pool. I did not see that…but then I never did make it up to the roof. Too crowded at the opening -- I simply could not manage to get everywhere -- and I’m sure I missed a few things. I did see: the two outdoor second-floor terraces; the ground-level patio; the phenomenal children’s library with its inviting “reading tree” and play area; the well-laid out information and check-out spaces up front; the four private study rooms upstairs; the capacious but dividable meeting rooms; the art on the walls by local artists (Rock Creek Park silkscreens by Lou Stovall – marvelous! -- and the Catherine Cate Coblentz glass panels, saved from the original library building) -- all bathed in natural sunlight from the spectacular building-length windows that filter out both glare and heat. Outside, on the Macomb Street side, there are outdoor benches, a rain garden, and at the far end, the rather tatty old concrete panda bear who used to sit out in front of the old building. He does look kind of confused about how he ended up around the corner.

Inside, I listened to the speakers: Mayor Bowser, CM Cheh, Council Chair Mendelson, CM Grosso, Library Director Reyes-Gavilan, who, each in turn, talked about the design (LEED certified, very environment-friendly!) and the community’s involvement from conception to today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony – and wonder of wonders – this all was pulled off without scandal or major mess-up on anyone’s part -- and ON TIME! Your tax dollars proudly and efficiently at work!
Ribbon Cutting - Photo by Alan Weinstein

The one thing I did NOT expect: An unruly crowd! There was such an overflow of people that the large front room was full to overflowing, with attendees packing the staircase going up to the second floor, where the balcony was also crammed with people. But those in the overflow areas and on the main floor far from the speakers could not hear what was being said, well-amplified though the speakers were. And not being able to hear, they chatted among themselves. And the many little children with their parents did what bored and restless children are likely to do; talk, fidget, cry, shriek. So this library-loving crowd of normally polite Cleveland Parkers made too much noise. They had to be scolded multiple times and told to HUSH! This is a LIBRARY after all!

Despite the noise, a good time was had by all. And from the solid look of the construction and the building’s sound design 
and versatility, I would say that this building will continue to provide good service for generations to come!

Still Life with Robin is published on The Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

1 comment:

  1. I was there, in the back where not only was it hard to hear, but impossible to see because no one thought to get a riser for the speakers to stand on. Or a soapbox. Or anything. Had to leave since it was just backs of heads. Came back later to look over library. An awful lot of big meeting rooms (I guess there is a need for them, I guess). Great children's section, as before. Seemed rather skimpy on other books, though. and lot's of dvds and audio books. Beautiful building.