A branch of Arlington Public Library housed in the lobby of Arlington County government headquarters in Courthouse will reopen next week.
On Monday, March 13, the library will debut a new name and new amenities added as part of $4.8 million in renovations to the government office building. Interior renovations to some floors of the building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse began in September 2021.
“The new Courthouse Library, formerly known as Plaza Library, will feature contemporary furnishings, a new children’s book and media collection, and space for library programming such as storytimes and author talks,” Arlington Public Library Communications Manager Anneliesa Alprin tells ARLnow.
“Courthouse Library, a full-service branch, will feature the ‘Grab & Go’ express book collection and a ‘Library of Things,’ including do-it-yourself tool kits and handy gadgets,” she continued.
The renovations were funded through a $23.7 million tenant improvement allowance that was provided by landlord JBG Smith when the county renewed its lease in 2018.
Starting Monday, patrons can place holds and use the book drop then, Alprin said.
Courthouse Library will have the following hours:
- Monday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Tuesday: 12-8 p.m.
- Wednesday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Sunday: Closed
Very excited for the reopening Courthouse Library! @ArlingtonVALib pic.twitter.com/C0zaYkrpAE
— Jane Fiegen Green (@janefgreen) March 6, 2023
There will be a grand opening for the county government building on April 12 from 3-6 p.m.
“We’re opening the new full-service Courthouse Library, debuting a new Arlington Welcome Center and new Permit Arlington Center,” the county said in a release. “We will also be joined by the USS Arlington Community Alliance and the Arlington Historical Society to unveil a full model of the USS Arlington. Join us for a festive afternoon with an open house featuring government services, music, children’s story times, crafts, and many more surprises. All ages are welcome.”
The county also added conference rooms and renovated the lobby, second and third floors, the ninth-floor break-room and parking garage-level common areas.
The opening comes ahead of planned community engagement effort to discuss how the library system can best to meet the needs of residents.
“In the second half of 2023, the County Manager’s Office and Arlington Public Library leadership will engage with the community in longer-term strategic discussions about these issues and how to best provide library services in a changed and changing environment,” County Manager Mark Schwartz wrote in his proposed 2023-2024 budget.
These conversations will likely cover how to prioritize the competing needs of new locations and established locations, how to build a sustainable budget for library collections and how to staff libraries reliably. Arlington libraries have stayed afloat via “an over-reliance on temporary employees,” Schwartz says in the budget.
The Arlington man arrested Friday and accused of drunkenly breaking into Washington-Liberty High School is being charged with two additional incidents.
Police say the 30-year-old suspect also smashed a window at Arlington Central Library on N. Quincy Street and shattered a glass door at Arlington Science Focus Elementary School on N. Lincoln Street.
All three incidents occurred early Friday morning.
More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series) (Late), 2022-02100079/02100081, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street/1500 block of N. Lincoln Street. At approximately 7:44 a.m. on February 10, police were dispatched to the late report of a destruction of property in the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. Upon arrival, it was determined at approximately 3:04 a.m., the male suspect allegedly smashed a window to the library before fleeing the scene on foot. At approximately 7:56 a.m., police responded to the 1500 block of N. Lincoln Street for the late report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that during the early morning hours, the male suspect shattered a glass door to a school before fleeing the scene on foot. [The suspect], 30, of Arlington, Va., was charged with Damaging Public Buildings (x2).
Arlington Public Library is putting on a number of events over the next several weeks to commemorate and celebrate Black History Month.
Highlights include a talk with a James Beard award winner, a documentary screening about one of Arlington’s most famous musicians, and a presentation about the historic Green Valley Pharmacy.
February marks Black History Month which, as the library’s website notes, has origins that date back more than a century ago. In honor of the month, the Arlington Public Library is hosting several programs “to celebrate Black culture and stories.”
Unlike the previous few years, the majority of the events will be in-person this year.
This week at Central Library, James Beard award-winning author Michael W. Twitty will discuss his book “KosherSoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew.”
Based in D.C., Twitty has earned recognition for his cooking, writing, and fusing of two culinary histories. There will be an audience question and answer session and a book signing after the discussion.
The talk on Thursday, Feb. 16 is being held in person inside the auditorium at Central Library and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. It will also be live-streamed and a recording will be available on the county’s YouTube page for 30 days after the event.
On Sunday, Feb. 19, the library is partnering with local PBS station WETA and the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington for a screening of the new documentary about musician Roberta Flack. It will take place at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse on Columbia Pike starting at 7 p.m.
Flack grew up in Green Valley and went to Hoffman-Boston High School. She’s famed for singing a number of number-one hits, including “Killing Me Softly.”
American Masters: Roberta Flack features “exclusive access to Flack’s archives of film, performances, interviews, home movies, photos, hit songs and unreleased music,” the library’s website reads. “The film documents how Flack’s musical virtuosity was inseparable from her lifelong commitment to civil rights.”
The screening is free but registration is required. There will be free popcorn courtesy of WETA.
Later in the month, Green Valley Civic Association Portia Clark will give a “special presentation” about the Green Valley Pharmacy at the Shirlington Branch Library. The local landmark was owned by Doc Muse for decades, where he dispensed medicine to the Black community.
“The longest-operating African American pharmacy in Arlington County and likely the first African-American-owned pharmacy in the county, the Green Valley Pharmacy has helped shape and define the local community for over 60 years,” reads the event listing.
The property was designed as a local landmark in 2013 and a historic marker was placed in front in 2014.
Doc Muse died in 2017 and the property was transferred to his daughter. The building has remained vacant ever since, though a kabob restaurant is still expected to move in at some point.
Clark’s presentation will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23 and registration is required.
Several other Black History Month events both online and in person at Central Library, including a kid-aimed production highlighting Black American heroes this Wednesday, a discussion of the 1930s project of interviewing formerly enslaved Virginians, and a family-friendly “musical experience.”
JBG Smith is asking the Arlington County Board for more time to negotiate a lease with the county for a library inside one of its new buildings.
In May 2021, the Arlington County Board approved JBG Smith’s plans to replace Crystal Plaza One (2050 and 2051 S. Bell Street) with two multifamily towers, an “East” and “West” tower, and shift S. Clark Street to the east to create a new S. Clark-Bell Street.
As part of a residential redevelopment project, JBG Smith agreed to financially support a new 7,200-square-foot library branch located in an existing building at 1901 S. Bell Street.
As of now, the developer is predicting it will not make a deadline set as part of conditions for its redevelopment, according to a county report. The conditions require the lease for the library space to be executed when a specific building permit, known as a footing-to-grade permit, is issued as construction progresses at the Crystal Plaza One site.
According to the report, JBG Smith and the county “have been diligently working to complete the lease agreement,” but they won’t be ready before construction reaches the footing-to-grade milestone.
“The result would potentially cause a work stoppage and prolong the construction timeline,” the report says. “To prevent construction delays and allow more time to complete the lease agreement, the applicant proposes to move the deadline for lease execution back to the final building permit for the second building (West Tower). This would provide approximately five months of additional time to complete the lease execution.”
County staff recommend requiring the lease to be executed when the final building permit for the second building is issued, or by April 1, 2023, whichever occurs first.
Additionally, JBG Smith has agreed to revised conditions ensuring it will begin contributing payments for the library’s operations before the footing-to-grade permit is issued.
JBG Smith previously agreed to contribute $250,000 per year, for five years, for a total of $1.25 million, beginning concurrent with the lease execution, per the report. These revisions will allow the payments to begin while the lease is being finalized.
Currently, people who live and work in the area have to cross busy Route 1 to reach the nearest library, the Aurora Hills branch located a few blocks from the Pentagon City mall. Previously, Crystal City residents also had access to a temporary, “pop-up” library.
(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) Arlington Public Library is hosting Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” author Nikole Hannah-Jones as part of “Banned Books Week” next month.
The journalist and Howard University faculty member who led the 2019 New York Times project will talk about her book and “the freedom to read.” The event is set to take place on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Washington-Liberty High School auditorium.
“While this event is taking place at Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington Public Schools is not involved in the planning or hosting of this event,” notes the event page on the library website.
The event is “first-come, first-served until capacity is reached,” the page also notes. For those who can’t attend in person, the event will be live-streamed.
The “1619 Project” is an effort to better explain and contextualize slavery’s legacy, as well as Black Americans’ contributions, within the center of America’s history. It’s named as such after the date that the first enslaved African peoples arrived in Virginia.
The event at W-L is part of the nationwide “Banned Books Week,” an annual celebration by libraries and bookstores that highlights the value of “free and open access to information.”
The county’s library director Diane Kresh explained in a 2017 blog post that the reason Arlington Public Libraries celebrates Banned Books Week is that books are expressions of freedom.
“Books are change agents. They challenge our beliefs and biases. They expose us to different experiences and cultures. They help us learn to think for ourselves and not follow the crowd or cult of public opinion,” Kresh wrote.
The lecture is also part of the larger “Arlington Reads” event series.
The “1619 Project” has been both celebrated for its groundbreaking exploration of the topic and criticized for what some say are a series of historical inaccuracies and an emphasis on the significance of enslaved peoples in America’s history over other well-known dates, people, and events. It also sparked political controversy, with conservative members of Congress calling for measures to prevent it from being taught in K-12 schools.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) A dispute among acquaintances led to an attack outside of and then inside Arlington Central Library, police say.
Police were dispatched to the library around 1:45 p.m. Thursday after receiving multiple calls about two people arguing or fighting. They arrived and found at least one person “covered in blood,” according to scanner traffic.
“At approximately 1:47 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street for the report of trouble unknown,” said Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined two known male acquaintances became involved in a verbal dispute outside the library. The dispute escalated when the suspect struck the victim with an object and physically assaulted him.”
One tipster described the incident as a “really savage beating.”
“I was in the library at the time, he was thrown to the ground and punched multiple times for several minutes, bloodied face,” another tipster told ARLnow. “I am not aware of the reason for the attack… the victim kept asking ‘Why did he attack me? What did I do?'”
The second tipster noted that “there were several… eyewitnesses” and said that the attack “continued inside the library” after starting outside.
The man who was attacked was taken via ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.
“The victim was transported to an area hospital and is in stable condition,” said Savage. “The suspect was taken into custody by responding officers and charges are pending.”
The suspect was questioned by police and ultimately arrested near the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Pollard Street. A dog he had been walking was picked up by animal control officers.
In a crime report released Friday, police said the victim was struck with a stick outside and further assaulted by the suspect when he went inside the library to seek help.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-08250137, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 1:47 p.m. on August 25, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined two known male acquaintances became involved in a verbal dispute outside the library, during which the suspect allegedly struck the victim with a stick. The victim ran into the library for assistance and the suspect followed and physically assaulted him. Responding officers located the suspect at the intersection of N. Pollard Street and Fairfax Drive and took him into custody without incident. The victim was transported to an area hospital it stable condition. [The suspect], 35, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding. He was held without bond.
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
Children can meet a Washington Nationals player as part of an Arlington Public Library storytime this weekend.
Sean Doolittle, pitcher and player ambassador for the Nats, is scheduled to host a storytime event at Arlington Central Library on Saturday (June 18).
The storytime is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the main auditorium inside the library at 1015 N. Quincy Street. This event is set to kick off the library’s annual Summer Reading Program.
Doolittle is set to read stories to the participants and sign autographs afterward. The autograph signing is limited to one item per child only, according to a news release from the library.
The event is being held on a first-come, first-serve basis until the auditorium — which has a capacity of up to 180 people — is filled, Arlington Public Library spokesperson Henrik Sundqvist said. He added that this storytime is the “event of the year” for the library.
The Summer Reading Program rewards children, teenagers and adults for reading over 30 days between June 1 and Sept. 1. During the program, Arlington Public Library has scheduled various events at different libraries, including storytimes, talks and handicraft lessons.
Those who complete the challenge will get a free book or a book coupon to be used at any Friends of the Library bookstore, according to the program’s website.
Additionally, the Nationals will offer a limited number of vouchers for two tickets each to anyone who has completed the challenge, according to a news release. The vouchers can be redeemed at any regular or value Nats game in August and September, according to the program’s website.
The Friends of the Arlington Public Library, another program sponsor, has also pledged to donate $1 for each person completing the challenge to Potomac Conservancy, a nonprofit advocating for clean water in the Potomac River.
Expanding Board Would Require State Action — “The Civic Federation’s TiGER (Task Force in Governance and Election Reform] body has recommended a number of changes to Arlington’s governance structure, including changing the election cycle. But the most basic tenet – increasing from five to seven the number of County Board members – could determine whether the Republican governor and House of Delegates want to play nice.” [Sun Gazette]
Serious Crash on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “Serious crash with one ejected on I-395S at Arlington Ridge Road. Fire, EMS & police appeared to be looking to make sure no else was thrown from the vehicle.” [Twitter]
Narcan Now Available at Arlington Libraries — “Starting this month, NARCAN nasal spray has been added to opioid overdose emergency boxes in all seven Arlington Public Library branches as part of the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative. The boxes are in public access points near the Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at most branches; at Aurora Hills and Glencarlyn, the boxes are in prominent places where employees can easily access them.” [Arlington County]
Cobbler Hoofing It Out of Town — “Sad to report that Best Foot Forward will move out of @PentagonRow at the end of June. Lease expires. They are relocating to Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria, about 5 miles from PRow. Good quality work + family-owned/operated.” [Twitter]
Doorways Partners with Doorbell Company — “A new initiative to provide enhanced safety tools to survivors of violence has been announced by Doorways. In partnership with Ring, Doorways – a social-safety-net agency in Arlington and Falls Church – will be distributing up to 1,000 video doorbells and security cameras to clients, along with a free subscription plan for the life of each device. In addition, Ring will also provide a monetary contribution to help amplify Doorways’ impact for survivors across the local areas.” [Sun Gazette]
Spotted in Venice — “The Gondola Now shirt has gone international.” [Twitter]
It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]
One of the first of several Pride Month events in Arlington is happening this coming Thursday (June 9) in Crystal City.
Rock the Lot with Pride is a “Pride Month kick-off celebration” organized by The National Landing Business Improvement District, at 2611 S. Clark Street, a parking lot behind the Hyatt Regency hotel, between 4-8 p.m., according to the event’s webpage.
There will be food, drinks and merchandise giveaways at Rock the Lot with Pride, according to the website. The Kona Ice and Curbside Kitchen trucks are set to provide food for the event, while mobile cocktail bar Toastworthy is expected to bring its Tequila Truck to the event.
Rock the Lot with Pride is free and open to the public. Registration is now available online. Toastworthy plans to give the first 100 participants a free cocktail, according to the event’s webpage. DJ Chan Don, a disc jockey based in D.C., is set to play live music for the event.
Arlington is also getting its first Pride festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd) between noon and 7 p.m.
The event, hosted by the Polished Kreative, is free and open to all ages, with the theme “Moving Forward Together.” Attendees will be able to enjoy games, food and drinks, live music and entertainment at the festival, according to its website. There will also be a designated area for pets and kids with games, face painting and other activities, according to an Instagram post.
Deejay JL and DJ Swoosh are set to perform at the festival, according to another Instagram post. Sponsors for the event include the Kitchen Shaman 9, a private chef, a local bar Quinn’s On The Corner, D.C.-based pet care firm Puppy Luv Pet Services and others.
Other events around Arlington include:
Documentary and talk on the Lavender Scare
The Arlington Arts Center is set to hold a virtual talk between artist Alexander D’Agostino and historian David K. Johnson about the history of the Lavender Scare, a purge of government employees due to their sexuality during the Cold War, on Wednesday (June 8) at 6 p.m.
The center also plans to make the documentary “The Lavender Scare” available for virtual screening between Wednesday and Tuesday, June 14.
Family Pride Day
The Arlington Art Center organized Family Pride Day on Saturday (June 11) beginning at 10:30 a.m. It is free to the public, according to the event’s webpage. Art-making activities and readings from the Drag Queen Story Hour, where drag queens read stories to children, are set to take place.
Virtual talk with Alex Myers
The Arlington Public Library is set to host a virtual talk with transgender advocate and writer Alex Myers on Monday, June 13, between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is open to people over 12. Those interested need to register for the event.
Pride Month for county employees
On Wednesday, June 15, OUTstanding, a LGBTQ+ employee resource group aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the Arlington County government, is set to host a Pride Month Proclamation and Celebration event for county employees to “celebrate living, working and thriving,” according to the event’s poster. The event is scheduled between noon and 1:30 p.m. in Courthouse Plaza at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. It is open to the public and no registration is needed.
Book club discussion
The library’s book club is also set to host a discussion session on books with LGBTQ+ themes and its June selection, “Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing” by Lauren Hough. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 27, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is set to be held at the Campbell Room in the Shirlington branch library, at 4200 Campbell Avenue. It is only open to adults and registration is required.
Photo by Sophie Emeny on Unsplash
DCA Sign Changes Start Tomorrow — “We’re making it easier to find your gate! Beginning June 4, we will be updating our signage to include a letter in front of each gate number. Don’t worry, no airlines or gates are actually moving!” [Twitter, DCist]
Summer Reading Program Underway — “The Arlington County library system’s summer-reading program kicked off June 1 and will run through Sept. 1. ‘Readers of all ages are invited to immerse themselves in reading, participating in 500 free programs and explore the 2022 theme, ‘Oceans of Possibilities,” library officials said.” [Sun Gazette]
Weekend Road Closures — “There are planned road closures to accommodate the 2022 Armed Forces Cycling Classic bicycle races, which will take place during the weekend of Saturday, June 4 – Sunday, June 5, 2022.” [ACPD]
New Name for Park Near HQ2 — “Before the HALRB’s meeting of May 18, it looked like “Teardrop Park” would be a runaway choice for the new space, which will be bounded (in a teardrop shape) by South Eads Street and Army Navy Drive and bisected by 11th Street South… But at the HALRB meeting, Berne stopped that train in its tracks by countering with “Arlington Junction Park,” which would pay homage to an important trolley-line nexus of the last decade of the 19th century and the first four decades of the 20th.” [Sun Gazette]
Free Donuts Today — “It’s National Donut Day on Friday, and several eateries in Virginia and Washington, D.C., are offering a sweet deal or two to lure in donut lovers across the state.” [Patch]
Paper Calls for Return of SROs — “One wonders if Arlington’s School Board members will have a change of heart, now that there is a national drumbeat for more, not less, public-safety presence in schools. Sadly, one presumes not.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 78 and low of 65. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
Gun Violence Rally Planned — “A National Gun Violence Awareness Day rally will be held Saturday in Arlington. The rally will be held by the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that supports stricter gun laws, at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Hope Garden near Courthouse Plaza in Arlington.” [Patch]
Animal Control Rescues Bald Eagle — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “Our animal control officers were all very surprised this weekend when a call about a large bird behaving oddly turned out to be a fledgeling bald eagle! He is now with a licensed wildlife rehabber and when he’s feeling better we hope to release him back into the wild!” [Twitter]
Blood Drive this Weekend — “Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar is partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to host an Arlington Community Blood Drive on Monday, June 6.” [Patch]
Pride Month Events at Library — Pride Month starts today and Arlington Public Library has a page with LGBTQIA+ book lists, stories and history discussions. The library is also hosting a series of Pride Month events. [Arlington Public Library]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:29 pm. [Weather.gov]