Arlingtonians can get a glimpse into the past with a photo exhibit currently on display at Westover Branch Library.
The historic photo montage documents houses and buildings in Arlington before their demolition and the structures that replaced them, spanning 40 years. The photos are showcased in window frames preserved from the demolished houses depicted.
The “Windows to the Past: Arlington, Then and Now” exhibit by Tom Dickinson will be on display until Jan. 5 at 1644 N. McKinley Road, Suite 3.
Dickinson, a historian, photographer and historic preservation advocate, told ARLnow that his exhibit combines his passion for photography and historic preservation.
When he moved to Arlington in 1978, he said he was shocked by the constant demolition of older homes and commercial buildings, so he’s been snapping and collecting pictures of houses fated for demolition and then what replaced them.
Dickinson said he finds out about the houses from online archives of demolition permits that developers have to apply for, word-of-mouth and his own observations. One indicator he looks for is a dangling power line, which has to get cut from the telephone pole before a demolition.
The exhibit, which is funded by the Arlington Arts Grant Program, includes photos of Lustron prefabricated enameled steel houses which were developed after World War II, and Certigrade homes, which are made from cedar wood. The original houses in the “before” pictures were built between the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Dickinson got permission from the developers to salvage windows from the houses. His appreciation for the craftsmanship of windows began after he took a workshop on window construction about 15 years ago.
“These are the windows through which who knows how many thousands of eyes peered out through this glass to the world around them, and the light that illuminated their lives came in,” he said. “It’s the last sort of symbolic artifact from these houses.”
While Dickinson acknowledges that some people see new developments as a progress, Dickinson has a “two-prong lament for the loss of affordable housing and of historic structures.”
Some houses in Arlington are better off torn down, he said. “A lot of these places that were torn down were houses that were not distinguished in any way, just average and inexpensive [ones] that served their purpose and came to the end of their life,” he said. “But still that comes with a cost, environmentally, in terms of the energy for demolition, transporting debris and filling up landfill space. There’s an environmental penalty.”
Dickinson insists that the greenest houses are the ones that are already built.
On the heels of Amazon’s announcement that it will set up its second headquarters in Crystal City, Dickinson said he expects to see fewer “less expensive” houses as housing demand skyrockets, along with increasing congestion on the highways and Metro. “It’s the Manhattanization of Arlington.”
Dickinson isn’t holding his breath for Arlington County to put the brakes on developments. “They’re going to do everything they need to do to make Amazon happy and help them find housing for people,” he said.
“This change is inevitable — it’s going to happen for good or for bad,” Dickinson said, adding that in 40 years from now, he expects Arlington to look completely different from its appearance today.
Break out the dice; it’s board game convention time at the Arlington Public Library.
Demand for the library’s board game collection has led the library to host Tabletop Gaming Day on Nov. 4 at the Arlington Central Library. The board game extravaganza will run from 1-5 p.m.
All ages and experience levels are welcome to Board Game Day. For those who may be new to certain games, staff and volunteers will be ready to help teach the rules. Those with their own board games are welcome to bring them.
The event is free, without any registration required.
Photo via Arlington Public Library
One year after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the Friends of the Arlington Public Library is donating $5,369 to help rebuild a damaged library on the island.
The Águedo Mojica Marrero Library at the University of Puerto Rico is still in rough shape, located in one of the hardest hit areas on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast. The building and the collections inside were both damaged by the storm.
According to Henrik Sundqvist, communications officer the Arlington Public Library, the Friends of the Arlington Public Library donates $1 to a charitable organization for each person who completes the summer reading program. This year, a total of $5,354 Arlingtonians completed the program, 700 more than last year, with an additional $15.17 from unsolicited cash donations from Arlington kids.
Additionally, the library will be hosting a free panel discussion about Puerto Rico, moderated by Michelle Fernandez, a librarian and University of Puerto Rico graduate.
The event will be held next Thursday (Sept. 20) from 7-9 p.m. in the Central Library (1015 North Quincy Street).
Photos contributed by Friends of the Arlington Public Library
Arlington Public Library has unveiled a new lineup of fall activities, along with a new tagline and a controversial new logo.
A series of lectures throughout the fall include talks from a variety of authors. Events throughout September, which is National Hispanic Heritage Month, include classes, activities, and movies focusing on the history and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
Finally, during “Banned Book Week” at the end of September, the library will host activities spotlighting books that have been challenged in schools, bookstores and libraries.
“Books are change agents,” said Director of Arlington Public Library Diane Kresh on the library website. “They challenge our beliefs and biases, help us learn to think for ourselves, and expose us to different experiences and cultures. I encourage you to commit to reading at least one challenged book this fall.”
All of these events tie in with the library system’s new tagline: “Everyone Has a Story.” Kresh said the tagline highlights the commitment to inclusion and diverse points of view.
But it’s the logo that has people talking. The logo, seen above, is a neon green book with a white ‘X’ in the middle. The logo was designed in-house by the library’s communications team.
“The addition of a bold ‘X’ emphasizes the position of the library as the public commons, an educational and cultural destination for tens of thousands of Arlington residents and library patrons,” said Kresh.
Online, some praised the new look, but for many more the intent of the new logo didn’t land. Of the 13 comments on the library website, nearly all of them centered on the logo and few of them were praising it.
“I’m not sure that an sends the message you are promoting,” said one commenter on the library website. “It looks more like it is signaling the end of books. Yes, X marks the spot, but it also means deletion.”
Reception on Twitter was just as divided.
— Heather Hurley (@medevam) September 4, 2018
Why is it an X? That seems like a horrible idea for a public library… I don't think of a crossroads when I see an X, I think don't, no, bad, stop, beware, all negative things. pic.twitter.com/b2Jc0Egplk
— Mrs. Hip Librarian (@MrsHipLibrarian) September 5, 2018
The library will use the logo and tagline as they continue outreach efforts for its community oral history program.
Logo via Arlington Public Library
Arlington’s public library system is rolling back some of its digital offerings as it seeks to cope with deep budget cuts.
Library officials announced Monday (July 16) that patrons soon won’t be able to access both Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ Netadvantage, an investment research tool, and Hoopla, a system for streaming music or audiobooks. Both services were previously available free of charge for library users.
This move comes after the library system spent the last few weeks collecting feedback on what services patrons value, in order to prepare for the loss of $250,000 in funding that took effect with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. Library officials say they received more than 19,500 responses to that survey, which helped inform these cuts.
“Cutting these online services was not an easy decision,” Library Director Diane Kresh wrote in a blog post. “As the recent survey demonstrated, all of our collections are used and valued by members of our community.”
However, Kresh noted that the library does still give users access to Morningstar and Valueline, a pair of services similar to Netadvantage.
She called the loss of Hoopla “regrettable,” as the library doesn’t offer any similar streaming music service. But the county does offer several other downloadable audiobook subscriptions for patrons.
“I am so disappointed to hear you are cutting Hoopla,” Christine Lewicki wrote in a comment on the post. “My daughter and I use its audiobook collection several times a week. The beauty of Hoopla is there is no wait list… Because my daughter has a Milan dyslexia, she is a reluctant reader. Consequently, access to digital audiobooks through Hoopla has exposed her to far more books than she would have otherwise been.”
These cuts are likely not the last for the library system, considering the loss in funding was the equivalent of 17 percent of its total collection budget. Officials say they will “make further decisions throughout the coming year regarding what to reduce or eliminate entirely,” but they don’t expect to make any cuts to their physical book offerings.
Photo via Arlington County
Free Admission at New Observation Deck — The new observation deck in Rosslyn is holding “Arlington County residents day” this weekend. Arlington County residents with valid ID can present it at the Observation Deck at CEB Tower box office for free admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. [Observation Deck at CEB Tower]
Stanley Cup to Visit ACPD Today — The Arlington County Police Department is set for a visit from the Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the Stanley Cup today. [WUSA 9]
Pike May Get New ‘Showplace’ Library — “The current two-story community library in the corridor is tucked away on the Arlington Career Center campus, which is slated for a massive, if currently undefined, redevelopment effort in coming years. A library space is expected to be part of the redevelopment package, but county officials are looking at other options, including a full-frontal signature space facing Columbia Pike itself.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by GM and MB
A pop-up library in Crystal City could stay open through the end of 2019, should Arlington officials give the project the green light to continue this weekend.
The County Board is set to vote Saturday (June 16) on a lease extension for “The Connection,” a one-room library located at 2100 Crystal Drive. The county’s public library system opened the small space in the Crystal City Shops in 2016 as a way to expand access to books and select tech equipment, particularly for people who feel cut off by Route 1 from accessing the Aurora Hills library near Pentagon City.
But the library’s lease at the shopping center is currently set to expire at the end of the month, and the county’s budget squeeze means that Arlington Public Library will lose some of the funding it previously set aside to run the pop-up location.
Nevertheless, County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending that the Board approve an extended lease with the Crystal City Shops, through Dec. 31, 2019, and county staff note in a report that the public library system fully expects to continue funding the pop-up library through its own budget.
The matter is set for review as part of the Board’s consent agenda on Saturday, a slate of items typically approved without much debate.
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Arlington’s public libraries are bracing for impending budget cuts — including a 17 percent cut to its collections budget — and they’re asking for your input on what services staff should protect from those spending slashes.
The county’s public library system is currently running a survey on its website, looking for feedback on “what collections we will provide and maintain” moving forward. The survey will stay open through June 8, and staff wrote that the results will help guide their decision-making on how library services change going forward.
Arlington’s Department of Libraries has a roughly $14.5 million budget in fiscal year 2019, and county budget documents show that the department is set to lose out on $250,000 in one-time funding for library materials in the new budget year. The department is also set to lose one full-time library assistant, as the county grapples with an increasingly tight budget overall.
“We’re really just trying to get feedback from the community and hear what they value,” Peter Petruski, the department’s division chief for materials management, told ARLnow.
The survey’s questions say that some library collections — including bestselling books, DVDs and children’s books — will remain unchanged, even with the new budget pressure. However, the survey does ask respondents to rank how much they value some categories of materials that the department could roll back, like online encyclopedias or new CD audiobooks.
The questionnaire also asks participants to rank how much they value online resources county libraries currently offer, such as access to Ancestry.com or ConsumerReports.org, as well as how much they might be interested in services the department is considering offering, but has yet to provide to patrons.
Henrik Sundqvist, a spokesman for the library, added that no decisions have been made yet on what to cut. He added that the library system has already received more than 11,000 responses to the survey.
“It just really speaks to the library department being at the heart of this community,” Sundqvist said.
The department is also set to lose $19,000 in funding to run a “pop-up” library in Crystal City, which opened in 2016. Sundqvist said the County Board has yet to make that change official, or decide what it will mean for the location, and plans to review the matter at its June 16 meeting.
(Updated 2:35 p.m.) The Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History has unveiled a new digital profile collection of women who influenced Arlington’s development through their “quiet but not silent” persistence.
The collection seeks to bring up the names of those women who “were frequently hidden in the background” but “were nonetheless ground breakers and trailblazers” who fought for better education, libraries, conservation, and health care in a modernizing county.
Focusing on women from 1900-1975, the center is seeking community donations and oral histories of little known facets of Arlington history to add to the their collection.
The center “will follow their journey as it is revealed through [the] archival collections and oral histories” over the next year, according to the collection’s website.
One subject of the in-progress collection is Dr. Phoebe Hall Knipling, who was responsible for bringing an annual science fair to Arlington Public Schools and was the first APS science supervisor — and the first in Virginia. Dr. Knipling, finding that there were few pristine natural spaces in the fast developing county, took three years to track down an outdoor lab in Fauquier County for her students to experience and work in nature.
Margarite Syphax, a U.S.O. entertainer turned prominent African-American businesswoman and real estate developer, was also featured. The archive entry on her life stated that after World War II, she and her husband had a difficult time finding adequate housing in still segregated Northern Virginia.
The injustice led the couple to eventually form W.T. Syphax Real Estate Company, a property development and construction business focused on minority affordable housing.
Other notable Arlington women in the collection include the members of an interracial, interdenominational women’s group focused on community building and social justice, as well as several groups of women who either founded or contributed to the creation of several Arlington libraries.
Photos via Center for Local History
Arlington Public Library is struggling to keep up with demand for “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s exposé on President Donald Trump’s White House.
With a three-week checkout policy for books, it could take weeks — even months — for patrons to get their hands on a copy.
The #1 Amazon bestseller has 458 holds on 28 copies across the library system as of this afternoon. Nearly 150 people are on the waitlist for 15 audiobook copies and 252 are on the waitlist for 25 eBooks.
But some relief could be on the way. The library has ordered 61 new copies of the book, according to the library catalog website.
By comparison, demand for the #1 New York Times bestseller in fiction, “The Woman in the Window,” is lower. There are 215 holds on 35 copies. The book by A.J. Finn follows the story of heavy drinker who witnesses a crime near her Harlem townhouse.
Wolff’s book — which generated lines at local bookstores upon its Jan. 5 release — has drawn sharp rebuke from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other Trump administration officials.
“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said at a recent press conference.
RIP Bill Bozman — “He was ‘one of the community’s greats,’ in the words of former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, and while the death of William Bozman was not unexpected, it still created a ripple of emotional outpouring from several generations of Arlington civic leaders who had relied on him for counsel and good humor.” [InsideNova]
Library Director’s Annual Xmas Playlist — Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh has released the 2017 version of her annual holiday music playlist. [Arlington Public Library]
ARL Sticker Opportunity — If you missed out on the the first batch of free ARL stickers, there is another opportunity to get your hands on some. We’ll be bringing the stickers to Thursday’s Speakeasy Evening With Dr. Rixey, which is happening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the The Rixey apartments in Ballston (1008 N. Glebe Road). Register for the free event, which features local art, live jazz, gin cocktails and great rooftop views, here.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Beyer Blasts GOP Tax Bill — Says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) regarding the tax bill that passed the House yesterday: “I am adamantly opposed to the House Republican tax bill, H.R.1. The bill will raise taxes on millions of middle class Americans in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, and yet still manages to explode the deficit.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Crystal City Scores 320 Jobs — A Georgetown-based nonprofit is moving much of its staff to a new office in Crystal City, leasing 90,000 square feet and adding 320 jobs in Arlington County. The move was announced by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who approved a $500,000 state grant to assist Arlington with the project. [Virginia Business, Bisnow]
Dems Seek Ways to Defeat Vihstadt — “John Vihstadt, who in 2014 broke the Democratic stranglehold on the Arlington County Board, is ready to go back to the voters in 2018. And Arlington Democrats already are strategizing on how to oust him from office.” [InsideNova]
Charges Dropped Against ‘Laughing Librarian’ — Arlington librarian and Code Pink activist Desirée Fairooz, who was arrested after laughing during the confirmation hearing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has had the case against her dropped by the Justice Department. [American Libraries, NPR]
Incident at Kenmore Middle School — A tipster tells ARLnow.com that a Kenmore Middle School student was arrested yesterday afternoon for assaulting a PE teacher. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman, however, did not confirm that an arrest was made, saying: “There was an incident earlier today between a student and a teacher. Staff is following normal disciplinary procedures. But beyond that, we can’t disclose anymore because it is a student matter.”
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Two Arlington Men Finish in MCM Top 3 — Arlington residents Desta Morkama and Kieran O’Connor finished first and third, respectively, in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Al Richmond, the last remaining “Groundpounder” who has run every MCM since it started, kept his streak alive with a 6:48.35 finish. The race, which begins and ends in Arlington, had its start delayed by 10 minutes due to a suspicious package investigation. [RunWashington, Washington Post, NBC Washington]
No Major Incidents at MCM — Other than the short starting delay, no major incidents were reported at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Within the county, Arlington law enforcement and the fire department maintained a heavy presence along the course, along with Virginia State Police and other agencies. Arlington school buses were parked at key intersections to prevent anyone from driving onto the course. [Twitter, Facebook, Twitter]
Pedestrian Killed on Memorial Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was closed for more than three hours Saturday morning after a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on the bridge. The driver remained on scene. Police are seeking additional information about the crash from witnesses. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Library Renovation Project — Arlington Central Library will be getting $1.7 million in renovations, thanks in large part to a private donation. The Arlington County Board approved the project at its Saturday meeting. Per a press release, the plans include “new meeting rooms, an updated ‘tech-central’ area and a multi-purpose maker lab, a community-based space where people can share knowledge and tools to create together.” [Arlington County]
Roosevelt Memorial Anniversary Event — The National Park Service is holding a family-friendly event on Sunday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. The event will feature food including fried chicken and Indian pudding; an address from the former president’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt; a Teddy Roosevelt re-enactor; and a “Teddy Bear story time.” Shuttles will be available from the Pentagon parking lot. [InsideNova]
Library to Launch New Digital Collection — “Arlington Public Library will launch a new digital collection of Arlington women and their achievements in March 2018. The Center for Local History’s (CLH) Community Archives contains many collections pertaining to women’s history and consequently the history of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Central Library is in line for renovations on its first and second floors as well as some modernization of its technology.
The library at 1015 N. Quincy Street will receive what county staff described in a report as a “partial refurbishment,” with improvements to open seating areas, newer and larger public meeting rooms and the conversion of an existing computer lab into a multipurpose technology lab.
Existing mechanical, electrical and communication systems would also get a refresh.
The library, which opened in 1961 and was renovated in 1992, will remain open for its normal business hours (Sunday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) during the work, which will take place one floor at a time.
The project will be funded in part by former Arlington County resident Rosemarie Bowie, who died in 2013 and left the libraries her home on N. Danville Street and half of her estate. The Executor of her estate sold her home and remitted the proceeds to the Arlington County Board along with half her estate.
Bowie’s estate funds just over $1.1 million for this project. The County Board will vote on whether to award a construction contract worth just over $1.4 million at its meeting Saturday, with contingency funds of just over $220,000.
Anyone in the Penrose neighborhood can now pick up a book or fix their bike at a new tiny wooden library.
The “Little Free Library and Bike Repair Station” is at the corner of 8th Street S. and S. Courthouse Road, two blocks from Columbia Pike.
The handcrafted station is open for people to take and donate books at any time. When a reporter stopped by early Wednesday morning, a graphic novel and children’s book joined other paperbacks inside.
It also has a bike pump, metric Allen keys and a crescent wrench for bicyclists to carry out any running repairs on their bikes.
It is not the first Little Free Library to pop up in Arlington, but does appear to be the first to offer bike repairs at the same place.
Transportation Commission member and Penrose resident Chris Slatt was the brains behind the project.
“My friend’s two daughters wanted to build a Little Free Library, but that’s tough for them since they live in an apartment building so they came over and we built it together and installed it at the end of my lawn,” Slatt told ARLnow. “I wanted to add a bike spin to it — the various ‘bike fix stations’ that the County has installed inspired me to add the tools.”