Bigger, greener, more tech and a coffee shop


The new Silver Spring Library is hard to miss on the corner of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue. The new library is substantially bigger than the old one. It takes up three floors of the 63,000-square-foot building.

The new library opened on June 20 and so far visitors have been impressed with the new scheme.

Endal Yiden, 29, a database student, said the modern design encourages him to work. “It actually makes me want to study, because it’s so nice and beautiful,” Yiden said.


Photo by Felicia Houston.

“There’s so much service here and the space is comfortable, so I get a lot done here.”

The space includes 90,000 print volumes, which is almost 50 percent more than the old library housed.

Although the library’s print volume is large, it also contains many technical aspects. Some of the technical elements are PC and Mac computers, laptops, iPads, e-readers, 3D printers, a tech bar, and charging stations.

The building is LEED Silver certified, which means it is eco-friendly. The green features include a green roof, and energy efficient heating and cooling systems. The building is also surrounded with full-length windows.

Silver Spring Library

Photo by Felicia Houston.

A small coffee shop is located on the first floor, as well as satellite services.

The entire fifth floor is designed for children. The children’s floor has an early literacy center, which has interactive sites designed to develop reading skills. The children’s section showcases a theme called “Around Town.” The end of each bookcase has an installation of buildings, homes, and other elements that reflect Silver Spring.

The library also offers “Go Kits.” Go Kits are backpacks that are filled with books, an iPad, and accessories that revolve around a theme. The solar system, bridges, weather, and robots are some of the themed kits available.


Children’s floor. Photo by Felicia Houston.

Sarah Bradley, 34, a Silver Spring resident, said the new library is ideal for children.

“The children’s section is great,” Bradley said. “They’ve created an environment that makes kids want to read.”

Every week the library has events for children and adults. Some of the events are morning yoga classes, book discussions, teen writing clubs, creative writing workshops, graphic design workshops, chess club, and more.


A device-charging station at the library. Photo by Felicia Houston.

3 Comments on "Bigger, greener, more tech and a coffee shop"

  1. Seems to me more money should have been spent on books and computers rather than a structure that looks like a cross between a cruise ship and the Donald Trump Taj Mahal. And just try to find where the outside book drop is. And even if you do, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to maneuver your car close enough to it to hop out and return the books.

  2. My impression of the new Silver Spring library is not nearly as positive as the article-writer’s.

    I do agree that the building looks impressive from the outside. But when you get inside, I observe that there is a very poor use of space. The building is full of vast open spaces. I guess you could call them atriums or lobbies, but they have no useful purpose. They simply enclose enormous volumes of air.

    I realize that this is the modern style of library architecture, but I think it’s foolish and wasteful. A primo example of this style (an early example, I believe) is the Martin Luther King library in downtown DC. It has cavernous high-ceilinged interior spaces that no human can ever use, tho it is a respected example of modern architecture by Le Corbusier.

    It’s nice, I suppose, that the new SS library houses 50 percent more books than the old library. But I’d guess it stores those books in a space that’s 500 PERCENT bigger than the old, cozy library. Has anyone heard of the concept of cost/benefit ratio?

    I’d be interested in seeing the cost of the new library; I’ll bet it was very high. And doesn’t all that empty space need to be heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer? I wonder how much energy that takes … LEED certification or not.

    In addition, I don’t find the new library that easy to use. There are no reference or information stations. Instead, the staff wanders around the building, looking for people who appear to need help. I tried to borrow a copy of a classic book by James Baldwin (not an obscure choice) and there were no copies available. But the tiny Takoma Park library had it.

    Oh brave new world. Oh grand new bookless libraries.

  3. 1) The DC Library was designed by Mies van der Rohe, as was pointed out on the article about the boutique toy store where you previously submitted this comment.

    2) The Montgomery County Public Library system has hundreds of copies of books by Baldwin including 22 copies of “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” If you want a book that’s not housed in the Silver Spring Library, then you can request online that it be delivered there and you can pick it up literally any time of the day or night.

    3) The continuing funding of the Little Free Library in the Takoma Park municipal center is an embarrassment, given that the state reasonably does not consider it to be a public library and therefore does not provide funding. As a result, the city spends over a million dollars a year in general operating funds on this redundant anachronism.

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