06 June 2006

DCPL Updates: Teach-In 6/7; Interim Director Francis Buckley Dismissed

not too shabby...
The DC Library Renaissance Project
is hosting a teach-in tomorrow evening, though it's curiously not at MLK, Jr. Memorial Library:
Teach-In: How to Revitalize MLK
Wednesday, June 7 @ 6:30 p.m.
Carnegie Science Building
1530 P St., NW
Free and Open To The Public

Come see the downtown library renovation design that the mayor doesn’t want you to know about. Learn the history of the first public building in the country dedicated to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the only library in the world designed by famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and the first District building constructed under Home Rule.

Undertaken by local architects at the library’s request in 2000, this design study for the renovation of MLK library was created in collaboration with library staff and users, resolving the problems they identified in an innovative and dramatic fashion. Overlooked at the time and ignored since, you can see the vision for MLK's future that the mayor's “Blue Ribbon” library task force was not shown.

Become fully informed about all options before the June 15 City Council hearing on the mayor’s plan to abandon the historic, stand-alone MLK library in favor of a new central library to be part of “mixed use” development at the site of the old convention center. Your questions and concerns will be addressed by Kent Cooper, AIA, original lead architect of the design study, in an open Q & A.

Sponsored by the DC Library Renaissance Project
For more information, contact Robin Diener at 202/387-7776
or rdiener@savedclibraries.org.

Unfortunately it's too late for me to go in depth on my opinions on the "options" the Mayor (some of my arguments are in the comments of the DCist post) and the Blue Ribbon Task Force have presented us thus far. In general, I believe we should hear both sides, and this teach-in is a good opportunity to do just that before next week's public hearing.

Also see Richard Layman's most recent MLK post, with relevant links, here.

- - -

Francis Buckley, interim director of DCPL, was given an eerily quiet dismissal last week; the only public mention I could find was in last week's DC Watch ("Puzzling Change in Public Library Leadership"). Richard Huffine, president of the Federation of Friends of the DC Public Library, forwarded me Mr. Buckley's parting e-mail to DCPL staff:
Friends -

Below is a copy of an e-mail sent by Fran Buckley, Interim Director of the DC Public Library System earlier this evening. The Board of Library Trustees has informed Mr. Buckley that his services are no longer needed, that they will be bringing in a "transition manager" and that the head of Personnel for DCPL, Ellen Flaherty, has been put in charge of daily operations. At this time, the Board has called no public meeting to enter these decisions into the public record.

I will let you draw your own conclusions on how the staff of the Library System are feeling right now. I can only say as a Friend of the Library that I am very concerned about these actions and how they will affect the ability of the public to receive service during this transition.

Richard Huffine, President
Federation of Friends of the DC Public Library

-----Original Message-----
From: Buckley, Francis (DCPL)
Sent: 5/30/2006 6:14 PM
Subject: Transition

May 30, 2007 [sic]

To all staff:

I want to thank everyone for their support, assistance, and friendliness for the past 13 months I have been here. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you. I have enjoyed, once again, being in the public library environment.

I think we have made significant progress on a number of fronts: supporting and assisting the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force with information and listening sessions, purging the patron and circulation files, revising the fine and circulation policies in preparation for issuing overdue notices, making the difficult recommendation to terminate inadequate plans for reconstruction of the four closed branches, developing plans for interim branches, issuing patron behavior guidelines, developing FY 07 operating and capital budgets to support the transformation of the library, increasing the quality and quantity of library programming, acquiring increased resources from the Washington Post clipping morgue to large print and literacy materials, finally getting wireless operational in Georgetown as a precursor for all branches, developing plans for a major upgrade and increase in our PC configuration, and building closer relationships with our patrons, Friends groups, the DCPL Foundation, the City Administration, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and other organizations.

The Board of Trustees has informed me that my services as Interim Director will no longer be needed effective June 1. They plan to bring in a Transition Manager and to appoint Ellen Flaherty to be in charge of day-to-day operations until Ginnie Cooper comes. I plan to return to retirement.

Francis J. Buckley, Jr.
Interim Director
District of Columbia Public Library
901 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

See you at the meetings?


  1. I hope you'll post a report ... that I can link to.

  2. Bad news - I was all but paralyzed by allergies today. I barely made it to work, and there was just no way I could attend. Hopefully I can go into work late on 6/15 and make the public hearing.


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