Joyous Reopening for Burnt Out Georgetown (Washington DC) Library

The fire that destroyed the Georgetown library three years ago burned through most of the books in its circulating collection. They could be replaced. The unique Georgetown artifacts in the library's Peabody Collection could not.

Thankfully, all those items survived, though some will require repairs. And so, with the ribbon-cutting at a new $18 million structure at 9:30 a.m. Monday at 3260 R St. NW, the Georgetown library once again becomes whole.

"I have to keep reminding myself that everything could have gone up in flames, and we could have absolutely nothing," said Jerry McCoy, the special-collections librarian who oversees the Peabody Collection. Among his rescued treasures: A July 1776 edition of the Maryland Gazette, with the full text of the Declaration of Independence printed on the second page.

What caused the library fire remains "a matter for litigation," said Ginnie Cooper, chief D.C. librarian. She notes, however, that at the time, workers were using heat-generating tools to remove tar in the building's attic and in the vicinity where the fire began.

Story from the Washington Post.

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