Library books shelf pixabay

If the Columbia Pike branch library is the little engine that could, it’ll be headed for an oil change and some detailing work next summer.

Arlington government officials plan to close the library – for a period as yet undetermined – in mid-2020 to renovate the facility and turn some of its upstairs space into classrooms for the growing Arlington Tech program, located next door at the Arlington Career Center.

The closure will last “weeks” or perhaps slightly longer, County Board member Katie Cristol said on Nov. 19.

Cristol acknowledged “enthusiasm and sometimes concerns” from neighbors of the facility, which has survived efforts to relocate it and still faces an uncertain future as Arlington county and school officials debate how to proceed with redevelopment of the Arlington Career Center parcel.

The mid-2020 work will also include a facelift of first-floor library facilities. Cristol promised that the amount of materials available at the branch will not be cut.

The Columbia Pike branch has occupied its current space since the early 1960s. In 2010, during his very brief tenure as county manager, Michael Brown recommended that library facilities be moved several miles west to the Arlington Mill Community Center, which then was being constructed.

After residents who lived closer to the existing facility revolted, Arlington leaders backed down amid a finger-pointing match between county staff and County Board members.

(Those board members several months later sacked Brown, easing his pain with a $110,000 severance payment, the equivalent of six months’ salary.)

The library was the recipient of a modest facelift in 2010 and the upper level received new carpeting in 2015.)

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