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Opening Statement of Councilmember David Grosso, Chairperson

Committee on Education Budget Oversight Hearing on

D.C. Public Library
April 1, 2019

The District of Columbia Public Library is a vibrant center of activity for residents and visitors in
the nation’s capital. The library provides environments that invite reading, learning, and
community discussion and equips people to learn all their lives, to embrace diversity and to
build a thriving city. DCPL is recognized as a force in the community for engaging the mind,
expanding opportunities and elevating the quality of life.

DCPL is one of the most utilized public services in the District of Columbia and provides
meaningful programming from birth through retirement, and everything in between. It is often
an agent of equity in many neighborhoods.

DCPL manages many exciting programs and projects, including:

● The modernization of the Martin Luther King Jr. Central Library, which will be an
amazing facility offering 100,000 square feet of additional public space and
programming in the heart of downtown;
● The library at the D.C. Jail, which last year lent over 50,000 items to over 4,000
individuals incarcerated at the jail;
● Encouraging over 19,000 summer reading participants to read more than 5.4 million
minutes to help reduce the summer slide;
● Assisting returning citizens with legal services;
● Providing books to nearly 42,000 children in the Books from Birth program enrolling
93% of eligible participants;
● Hosting a monthly average of 30,000 wireless devices on its network;
● Hosting a monthly average of 70,000 hours logged on public access computers;
● And providing over 80,000 pages of photocopy and print jobs, for free.

In FY20 the Mayor proposed a budget of just over $67 million which is nearly $2.7 million or
4.2% increase to its budget compared to FY19.

I’ll note that the Mayor did include funding for 39.5 additional FTEs to support the Library when
both MLK and Southwest Libraries reopen in 2020 for a total of 604.2 FTEs. Four of these FTEs

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will support the public safety team, which I think is something we can all support and be
appreciative of.

I look forward to hearing from our many library advocates, and the Executive Director, Richard
Reyes-Gavilan about how the FY20 budget meets the library’s needs, and if there are any gaps
to fill.


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