Benning Neighborhood Library FAQs

Benning Neighborhood Library FAQs

The new Benning Neighborhood Library opened Monday, April 5, 2010.  Here is a list of frequently asked questions about the library.


Why does the copper on the building change color? 
The building was designed with the understanding that the copper color will change over time.   Over the next several months, you will notice a gradual change in the color.  Ultimately, the color will stabilize and settle into a more permanent color that will last the lifespan of the building.

How will the building be maintained?
The DC Public Library will provide regular maintenance, ensuring that the heating and cooling system, plumbing, elevators, electrical and cleaning are well maintained using environmentally-friendly products.

What will happen to the temporary building down the street?
The interim library was a leased facility that was returned to the owner in March 2010.

Can I park at the shopping plaza?
The shopping plaza parking lot is not owned by the library. The library doesn’t have permission for library users to park at the shopping plaza. The library has 12 parking spaces, including one for an energy-efficient vehicle and one accessible space.

Does the building have security?
Yes. There are security cameras throughout the building that are monitored by the central library and Benning Library staff.  A Library Police Officer also is assigned to the building.  Additionally, the open space of the building allows staff to better monitor activity throughout the building.

How was the art in the building selected?
The library partnered with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative to solicit artists for two murals. The two artists selected are based in ward 7, and their murals reflect the history of the Benning neighborhood.  The Life Pieces to Masterpieces’ mural is in the children’s area, and Rik Freeman’s mural, which will be installed in late summer 2010, will be in the adult area.

Environmentally-Friendly Building

What makes the building environmentally friendly?
There are a number of features in the Benning Library that are environmentally friendly:
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Low-flow faucets and toilets that help conserve water
  • Recycled materials in flooring, countertops and wood finishes
  • Lots of natural light that helps conserve energy and decreases utility costs
  • Vegetative “green” roof
  • Bike rack
The DC Public Library anticipates receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design) Silver certification issued by the U.S. Green Building Council for the Benning Library.

What is a “green” roof?
A “green” roof is an energy efficient roof with or without vegetation. The Benning Library has a vegetative “green” roof.  A vegetative “green” roof absorbs rainwater better than traditional roofs, allowing the roof to release water slowly into the sewage system, decreasing the amount of raw sewage that can flow into rivers and decreasing the likelihood of flooding during heavy rainfall. Additionally, the “green” roof is protected from ultraviolet radiation, allowing for more comfortable temperatures in the building and helping to control utility costs.

Programs and Services

Is there a computer lab?  Can I take a computer class?
The conference and community meeting rooms are used to conduct classes, including computer classes. The Benning Library is equipped with laptop computers that can be used anywhere in the library except the children’s area and for any purpose including computer classes.  There also are desktop computers available for public use.

How many computers are available to the public?
There are 32 public access computers – 24 for adults and 8 for children.

Are the Mac computers in the teen area exclusively for teens to use?
The Mac computers are for use by teens and for special library programs. There are desktop and laptop PCs available for adult use.

Are there separate areas for children, teens and adults?

How many books are in the new library?
Benning Library has 40,000 books, DVDs, CDs and other library materials, more than double the number of books at the interim location. It has the capacity to hold up to 80,000.

Does the new library have books from the interim and from the old library, namely the African-American books?
The Benning Library has books and other library materials from the previous Benning Library, and the interim library, as well as new materials.  There is a large Black Studies reference and nonfiction section along with African-American fiction authors.

How do I schedule a meeting room?  Can I use the meeting room after hours?
Meeting rooms can be scheduled online or at the Benning Library.  At this time, meetings can be held only during library hours.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Benning Library is open in the evening (1 to 9 p.m.).

How do I schedule a study room?  Is there a limit on how long I can use it?
You can reserve a study room with library staff. The study room can be used for a maximum of two hours per day.

What are the library hours?  Will they change?
The library hours are the same as they were at the interim location:  M, W, F, Sa – 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; T, Th – 1 to 9 p.m.  The Benning Library is closed on Sundays.  No change in library hours is scheduled at this time.
Can I display my art, music or books at the library?
Yes. Please contact the Benning Library manager for details.


When will the other libraries open?
Anacostia Library --  Opened April 26, 2010
Deanwood Library – Opened June 21, 2010
Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library -- Opened August 2, 2010
Georgetown Library -- Opened October 18, 2010
Tenley-Friendship Library-- Opening January 24, 2011
Petworth Library -- Opening February 28, 2011
Washington Highlands & Francis Gregory libraries -- Opening Late Fall 2011
Mt. Pleasant - Opening Winter 2010/2011

How can I have programs with or at the Benning Library?
If you are interested in working on a program directly with the Benning Library, please contact the Benning Library manager.  If you are seeking a broader partnership with the library system, please contact the Director of Library Services at 202-727-1101.

How can I join the Benning Friends?
The Benning Library has a Friends Group.  Membership applications are available at the circulation desk or on the library’s Friends' page.

How can I volunteer at the Benning Library?
Volunteers are always welcome at the Benning Neighborhood Library and any DC Public Library.  For a listing of volunteer opportunities and to apply, visit the library’s volunteer page.

Are there job opportunities at Benning?
All job opportunities at any of the D.C. public libraries are advertised on the library’s career page.  An application is also available. 

Can I bring food or drinks into the library?
Yes.  You are welcome to bring covered, nonalcoholic beverages to the library. Food is allowed for scheduled events or programs in the meeting rooms only. You can make special arrangements in advance with the Benning Library manager.