Friday, December 16, 2016


picture of orange, green and magenta carpeting
Bright new carpet!
Over the last several weeks we have been excited to see some pops of color added to the white canvas of the Davis interior space. Our carpet has been laid in the main library and children's area, and it adds some real eye appeal to the space! There are a few different patterns in the same line, and the designer has used them to draw customers through the library and to delineate spaces. The picture here shows a pattern used in the children's room. We used carpet tiles instead of broadloom carpet so that if there is damage or severe staining in the future, sections can be easily replaced.

picture of sink and faucet.
Sink with touchless faucet.

The first floor restrooms are completely tiled, and the flooring and fixtures are in. We are just waiting for the partitions and a few accessories like the hand dryers (oh, and the doors) and those spaces will be finished up. Work will then begin in the lower level restrooms. The restrooms were staged so that our partner organization, the KID Museum, has access to restrooms for their  young customers throughout the Davis refresh project.

workers on Davis roof
Roofing work.
The complex roof replacement project is in its final demolition phase.  Because the roof at Davis is a flat one, demolition is more complicated than it might be on a regular pitched roof.   The workers are moving across the surface removing all of the old materials.  As one worker inside the building says, they sound like reindeer up on the roof!

We wish all of our customers a happy holiday season.  If you are thinking of a new tablet or Kindle as a gift for someone on your list, be sure to let them know that with a Montgomery County library card, they can download books, music, magazines and so much more for free from MCPL.  That's just like an extra gift that lasts the year round.

Anita Vassallo
Davis Branch Manager

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Raise High the Roof Beam

piles of roofing materials
Staging the new roof
One of the major pieces of structural work here at Davis is getting underway.   We are getting a new roof as part of our refresh, and the staging began yesterday.  As you can see from the picture, this is a job requiring a LOT of materials, heavy equipment and a good-sized crew of workers.

Although a new roof is not something that will be immediately evident to most of our customers (since we have a flat roof you can't see from the ground), it's certainly going to enhance the building overall, and we are very happy to have this as part of the work.

Boxes of tiles for restrooms
Nice tile inside the boxes.
Tile has come in for our first floor men's and women's rooms, and the work should begin this week.  I think everyone will be so pleased with the new look of our public restrooms, since they were not in great shape prior to the refresh.

Painting is just about completed, our new fire alarm system is in and passed inspection by the county, and electrical work is finishing up.   We are putting accessible power everywhere possible, so our customers will be able to work with their own laptops, tablets, and devices without worrying about battery life.

Although we do not have a firm date for reopening yet, we are looking forward to spring and reopening the doors to our community.  We have heard that many of our Davis customers are missing us, and we miss them too!

If you have ever wondered how the libraries get input from the community on a regular basis, the answer is that each branch library has a Library Advisory Committee of three to sixteen members, designated by the County Library Board to represent that library's service area.

These committees advise the local library manager, the Library Board, and the County Executive concerning the library needs in the area that they represent and suggest overall improvements to the county library system.

The Davis Library Advisory Committee is looking for new members.  If you are interested in being involved with Davis and MCPL, and giving input on how MCPL can best serve our community, please fill out this application and put it in the mail to Anita Vassallo, Library Manager, Davis Library 6400 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda MD 20817

Anita Vassallo
Library Manager

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A New Coat of Paint

Here is the latest refresh update!

children's room wall
Children's Room Wall
Paint is on the walls at Davis now, and the space is much brighter, with the odd aqua and pink walls that were here and there covered by a nice light color.

 The wall that will form one side of the enlarged children's rooms has the drywall finished and painted, and is waiting for the glass panel which will be the upper half.  This will let light from the children's room windows spill into the general adult room.

The bathrooms are totally plumbed and framed, and tile will be going up on the walls next week. We are also looking forward to seeing our carpet tiles installed, which should happen in the next couple of weeks.

Our heating units, which were in desperate need of a cleaning and a coat of paint were given a good going over by HVAC specialists from the County's Department of Facilities Maintenance, and painted by our contractor. Here are a couple of before and after pictures.

picture of old heating unit
picture of newly painted heating unit

Some of our programs are still underway at other branches during our refresh.  The English Conversation Club has moved to the Potomac Community Center, still on Thursdays at 10:15.

The Davis Book Club will be discussing Richard Flanagan's "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" on Wednesday, November 16th at 7:00 PM at the Potomac Library, and the selection for the Jewish Book Club, which meets on Thursday,  November 17th at 1:15 PM at the Kensington Park Library is "Shylock is My Name" by Howard Jacobson.  All are welcome to attend any library program.

Here is another in our profiles of Davis staff members - Theresa Kolacek is a Library Associate, and a very familiar face to those of our customers who share her love of non-fiction and seek her out for great book recommendations.

Theresa has worked in Montgomery County Public Libraries as a Library Associate since 1998, after starting her County career in the Office of Management and Budget, and then working for the Division of Traffic and Parking. She traded in budget presentations before the County Executive for storytimes in front of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers (which she much preferred) at our Damascus and Gaithersburg branches.
Since 2010, she has worked as an Adult Library Associate at Davis and enjoys helping customers find titles that they might not have discovered otherwise, especially in the non-fiction areas of travel, current events, cooking, and dogs.  She also enjoys contributing articles to the Librarian’s Choice section of the Reader’s CafĂ© several times a year.
In her spare time, Theresa likes to get outdoors for long walks, visit area farmers’ markets, and experiment in the kitchen with the results of her shopping expeditions.  For her, a day without reading is like a day without sunshine.
She is eagerly looking forward to greeting Davis customers when the branch reopens next year.

Another update will be coming in a few weeks.

Anita Vassallo
Davis Library Manager

Friday, October 7, 2016

Plumbing, Power Seating, and More

The Davis refresh project continues to move along. One of the most critical parts of our refresh is a total renovation of both the upper and lower level restrooms.

open room with exposed studs, pipes
Bathroom space after demo
Our restrooms had been remodeled and added to over the years, and while these additions were functional, they were not particularly attractive.   Our new restrooms will have handsome grey tile, a poured floor for ease of cleaning, and updated ADA compliant fixtures.  The work started with our upstairs restrooms, and as often happens in older building, there was more work to be done than was anticipated.  But that has left us with a clean slate for the renovation, and plumbers are currently at work installing all new piping. Here's a look at the restroom space without the shared interior wall, which had to be demolished. This area will become our first floor men's and women's restrooms.
doorway drywalled over
Door No More

The quiet study room is being transformed into an area with powered seating along the walls where customers can plug in devices like laptops and tablets.  The room will house our magazines and newspapers, and will feature comfortable seating where folks can relax and enjoy the latest issue of their favorite periodical.  Part of refreshing this space required closing up the second door in the room, which led to the teen collection.
wall with open sections showing where the digital display unit will hang
Digital display and self-checkout area
 We are looking forward to the installation of our digital display, which will be mounted above the relocated self charge machines.  This 48 inch screen will allow us to advertise library programs, celebrations, reminders and updates.

And here's another in our ongoing series of staff profiles - Jane Dorfman.
picture of Jane Dorfman
Jane Dorfman

Jane has been a librarian in Montgomery County Libraries for twenty years and is now head of Children's Services at Davis Library. An avid reader of children's books as well as adult, she takes great pleasure in recommending titles to kids and grownups.

Jane works with Capitol Choices, a group that compiles an annual list of the 100 best books for children and teens. She also answers customer queries through "What Do I Check Out Next?" a MCPL service that brings book suggestions to customer's in-boxes. She does storytimes and leads programs for young people.

When not at the library she is very involved in storytelling for adults and children; she tells at festivals and events, runs the storytelling stage at the Washington Folk Festival and is president of Voices-in-the-Glen, a local guild for tellers. In 2016 she released two CDs.  She lives with her family nearby, gardens with some success, and travels when she can.

More to come!

Anita Vassallo
Davis Library Manager

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Taking Flight

framing for collaboration spacesThe new layout of Davis is beginning to take shape.

The framing is done for our new collaboration spaces. These will be two rooms that will able to be reserved online for two hours per day. One will hold 6 people, one 4. We hope that study groups, residents who are looking for a space for a small meeting, local business people conducting meetings, and even people looking for a space to play bridge or Scrabble will take advantage of them. Many other branches have these spaces, and they are very popular.

framing for children's room wall
Framing has also gone up for the new wall between the children's room and the main library area. This will form the back of the U shaped picture book area. The top half of the wall will be glass, which will allow for light to spill from the children's room windows into the rest of the library while acting as a noise barrier. The effect should be open and airy, and we are really looking forward to seeing how it all looks after completion.

Some other framing is completed, and electrical work is underway. Materials from other branches are still making their way back to Davis, and new materials arrive each week. We are hard at working boxing things up so they can be ready to go on the shelves when we reopen next year.

Bronze sculpture of small boy on tree branch reading a book
Taking Flight by Marcia Billig
Now that the building itself is cleared, some features that you might not notice come to prominence. In our Democracy Boulevard entrance lobby is a lovely piece of sculpture that you might walk right by without seeing if you're in a hurry.

The piece is entitled "Taking Off", and it's a bronze sculpture of a small boy, sitting in a tree engrossed in a book entitled "Airplanes." The tree branch seems to spring right out of the wall, and the boy has a dreamy look on his face, as if he's flying away in his imagination.

close up of face of boy in sculptureThe piece was created by a local sculptor, Marcia Billig, and was installed at Davis as part of the Art in Public Architecture Program, now the Public Art Trust. Ms. Billig, a Bethesda resident, has pieces installed in many public locations around Montgomery County. The piece was dedicated in May 1989, and has certainly brought a smile to many library users. Be sure to look for it when you visit us again.

Anita Vassallo

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Demolition Phase

two women in hardhats
Our lovely hardhats!
The refresh project at Davis moved into demolition last week. It was amazing to see how quickly the space was cleared and transformed.

Carpet was ripped up in a jiffy. Our information and circulation desks were disassembled. The well used fixtures in the restrooms were reduced to rubble along with the tile and partitions. Walls were removed. Before we knew it, we had a big clear space and could envision the fresh new paint, carpet and furniture that will be transforming the library.

Here is a picture slideshow of our transformation -

Davis Demolition

Meanwhile the work goes on in the backroom at Davis. New books still arrive and need to be processed, boxed and stored until they can go on the shelf.  Returns still come to us from other branches, and those need to be checked back in, boxed, and stored.  Some holds still come to us, and those materials need to be sent to another branch for pickup.  We are working hard to be sure that we're ready for our reopening next year.

Have a great Labor Day weekend.  I'll write more about the process in a couple of weeks!

Anita Vassallo
Davis Manager

Friday, August 12, 2016

Just A Few More Days.

Starting Soon.

Davis staff
Bye for now!

The staff at Davis has dispersed to their temporary assigned branches, and things are quiet here. Quiet like the calm before the storm.

The Davis supervisors attended a preconstruction meeting last week, and we met the staff from our contractors, Haris Design and Construction. They were enthusiastic about our project and gave us a feeling of confidence that things will go smoothly and on schedule.

Right now, there are just a couple of us here in the building, dealing with our materials that were returned to other branches and are now being delivered to us, shipments of new materials arriving, and a few lingering holds that customers will need to pick up at other locations.

cart of books
Books to shelve.
We are working as quickly as we can to get things shelved before construction starts, as, after that, the shelves will be wrapped and all items will need to be boxed and stored until after the construction phase is completed.
cart of books
Books to box.

The first job will be to renovate our restrooms. This is a part of the project that we know our customers will really appreciate, since the restrooms have been in need of serious attention for quite a few years. The new tile and flooring are attractive, and we will also be getting all new fixtures and paint. All restrooms will also be ADA compliant.

You might be wondering about any changes to the exterior of our lovely building. There will be some sprucing up completed, but no real work on the outside.

The volunteers from the Bethesda Community Garden Club are taking our temporary closing period as an opportunity to get some work done, which will help to improve the appearance and longevity of our lovely trees and plantings. These dedicated volunteers have been working outside in the full August heat, and we so appreciate all they do for us!

We have enjoyed watching the children attending the KIDMuseum summer camps using our grounds for their various projects, particularly the one that involved filling a suspended bucket with water, and then counting down for a dousing as the bucket tipped over and spilled it's cool contents over the group below. It was hard to tell if it was more popular to pull the rope that tipped the bucket, or to stand under the waterfall that resulted.

As construction begins and progresses, we will keep everyone in the loop about what's going on. In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying the resources and programs of MCPL either at your temporary library home, or remotely. A brand new offering that we are really excited about is Artistworks For Libraries!

Artistworks is an online music and art school - streaming video lessons from professionals (banjo lessons with Tony Trischka anyone?) that you can access free with your library card from the MCPL website. The music lessons range from piano to french horn to dobro to scratching lessons with DJ Qbert! Take a look, it's a very nicely done product with a lot of extras included.

More soon!

Anita Vassallo
Davis Library Manager

Monday, July 25, 2016

Here We Go!!

Banners outside library Here we go! Our refresh is underway.

The Davis staff said a temporary farewell to our community on Saturday, July 16, with a cake and lemonade celebration, courtesy of the Friends of the Library, Davis Chapter.

We had so many people stop by to say how much they will miss us during our closed period. This made all of the staff feel so appreciated!
Library farewell cake But we didn't have a lot of time to rest on our laurels, since the next week we had to get everything ready for the arrival of our movers.  Even though we are not moving a lot of the collection, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to get the building cleared and ready for construction.
Large pieces of furniture that we are keeping needed to be moved and stored in our lower level meeting room.  We will be reusing our chairs, which were recently reupholstered thanks to the Friends of the Library, Davis Chapter, so they also needed to be moved and stored. Boxes and boxes of books in the children's room were packed up and stored, since their shelving is being replaced. Our storage space is pretty full, but thankfully the great crew of movers staged everything just right, and it all fit!
more boxes The staff is also packing up their belongings, as they will be reporting to their temporary workplaces on Monday August 1st.  See if you can spot the Davis staff as you travel to nearby branches!

The main floor of the library is pretty well cleared out by now, and we are just finishing up the last of the work.  We are still having some holds come in for pick up at Davis. Please remember to change any holds you have designated for pick up at Davis to another location so you're not delayed in getting that book you've been waiting for!

Here's a quick video at the main library floor right now, still recognizable, but ready for all the wonderful changes to come.

More to come in our next post.


Anita Vassallo

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Counting Down

The Davis branch is in the last few days of service before we close for our six month refresh.
Lots of boxes needed

We are packing up our offices, staff has received their assignments for their temporary branches, and many customers have selected their temporary homes until early next year.

Here are some questions that we have had in the last few weeks:

"What are you doing with the Express bestseller books?  It seems a shame to have these brand new bestsellers just sitting here while you are closed." -

We agree!  The Express books will be dispersed to other branches, and delivery of new ones will be suspended for Davis.

"Davis has the only subscription to the German language magazine Der Spiegel in the library system.  How will I be able to access to it once you close?" -

We have arranged with Potomac Library to house our subscription to Der Spiegel while we are closed, so you will be able to continue to read it.

"Can I return my books after you are closed?" -

Yes, but only up until July 30th. The book and media depositories will be locked after that point.

"I like to sit outside and use your wireless.  Will that still be available while the building is closed?" -

As far as we know the wireless will still be working, and you are welcome to continue to use it.

"Can I come in and work in the lobby downstairs?" -

No, sorry, the library building will be closed to the public.

Here is a little  bio of staff member Lisa Navidi, who many customers know as a skilled Reader's Advisor but you may not know she is also a Farsi speaker!
Picture of librarian
Quintessential Reader's Advisor

Lisa  is the Head of Adult Services at the Davis branch. She has been with MCPL for 30 years in various branches including the former Bookmobile. Lisa is an avid reader and loves to recommend books to anyone who will listen. She is an enthusiastic, if not proficient, bowler and a lyricist along with her co-writer Heather Wright. They have written parody lyrics to music for many friends and co-workers

We will be having a little farewell celebration for our wonderful customers this coming Saturday, our last day, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.  Please stop by to join us for cake and lemonade.

Anita Vassallo
Davis Manager
Picture of Davis branch manager

Monday, June 13, 2016

One Month Out

It's beginning to sink in for both staff and customers. Davis really will be closed for six months for our refresh.
Davis Library closing sign on door
One Month Out

Customers are trying to figure out which library will be the most convenient for them, and many have expressed concern for staff members - Will we be laid off?  No!   Will we be able to take a six month vacation?  No, not that either.  The staff will be temporarily reassigned to other branches of MCPL.

Do we get to choose where we will go?   We can pick up to three possible places, although we need to consider that our neighboring branches will be busier with Davis customers, so they will need some extra help.

Will anyone be staying here to oversee the project?   Yes, the manager and the Library Assistant supervisor will both be on site to deal with any questions or issues that come up.

Most of our other questions are about the collection.

Will we pack up all of the books?  No, for the most part the books will stay on the shelves. The shelves will be wrapped up in what looks like giant cling wrap, to keep everything protected during the project.  Items that are being relocated to a new spot in the building will be boxed and stored until they can be put back on the shelf.

What will you do with new books that MCPL receives while you are closed?   These items will be boxed and stored until we are ready to reopen.

Why do your shelves look sort of empty right now?   We are making sure that we have a fresh, relevant collection for our community when we reopen.  We will need to have room for everything that's out in circulation now as it returns to us  Items that haven't been checked out for years are either being relocated to another library that can use them, or are going to the Friends of the Library Montgomery County bookstore.

Bulletin board showing summer programs at Davis Library
Summer Programs at Davis
However, we ARE open through July 16, and we have a lot going on. Summer Reading is in full swing - kids, teens and adults can sign up online and stop by for book recommendations and sticker books for children.  We have some great programs coming up, including LEGO building, crafts during #weekofmaking, and a visit from Reptiles Alive!  Check our calendar of events for more information.

Remember that our partner the KIDMuseum will be open and fully operational while the library is being refreshed.  They have a host of wonderful offerings for the summer months - check their website.

Here's an introduction to another wonderful Davis staff member, Pat Meyer.  She is a New York transplant by way of Florida.  Pat is the Library Assistant Supervisor here at Davis - the second in command, and the manager's right hand woman!

Pat Meyer
"I joined MCPL 2 ½ years ago from sunny South Florida where I was a Circulation Supervisor and Computer Center Supervisor at Broward County Libraries. My husband and I moved up to Maryland to be with family and we love it here. Originally from NYC,  we did miss the change in seasons and the metropolitan lifestyle. Being a registered Architect in the State of Florida I am very excited about our Refresh and being involved in the project.  I love the community spirit at Davis Library and cannot wait for us to reopen and share the results with all of you."

More coming up in a week or so!

Anita Vassallo

Friday, May 27, 2016

It's A Date!

The date everyone wants to know!   Davis Library will begin the refresh process at 6:00 PM on Saturday, July 16th, our last day of service until we reopen again - refreshed, renewed and revived!

The staff here is preparing for our closure by cleaning up and clearing out our offices. Some of us have files dating back to the '90s.
file cabinet

People have been asking us about their holds.  Here's the scoop. You will be able to place holds for pickup at Davis Library through June 26.  Starting on June 27th, you will need to select another library for your hold pickups.  If your hold arrives before July 16th, you will be able to pick it up at Davis.  Starting on July 18th, customers will be called and asked to select another pickup library for any holds that arrive at Davis Library.  You can change your pickup location online in Your Account, or Davis staff can change it for you.

As for returning your Davis items, our outside book drop will be open for about two weeks after we close.  After that time you will need to return your materials to one of the other MCPL branches.   Please do not try to return our materials to our partner the KIDMuseum!  Although they will be open, they are not a part of the library system and can't accept returns.

We will continue to receive new materials during the time we are closed, and they will be waiting on the shelves when we reopen.

Book Sale areaAnother popular spot at Davis is our excellent FOL Davis Chapter Booksale area.   The Booksale will be returning when we reopen, also refreshed!   In the meantime, the last day to donate materials to the FOL Davis Chapter is Tuesday May 31.  After that date, we will not be accepting any donations, but do suggest that you take your materials to the recently expanded Friends of the Library Montgomery County Bookstore in Rockville. They will be happy to accept your items.  The Booksale will be having a half price to clear things out of the space beginning June 27th.

I promised a little snapshot of some of our staff, and I'm going to start with myself.   I've worked for MCPL most of my life, in various jobs and locations, winding up in my current position as manager of the Davis branch.   I love my coworkers and our customers, and am very happy to be seeing Davis through the refresh process.  I grew up in Montgomery County in Woodmoor, but now live outside Boonsboro, MD with four ponies, three cats, two dogs and one long-suffering husband.

Please stop by to visit with us before our closing date - we will have a special celebration on July 16th to launch our project.
Anita Vassallo

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Refreshing after 51 years of service

reproduction of invitation to the opening of the Davis library in 1964
Davis Library opening invitation 1964

Welcome to the first posting of the Davis Branch blog. This blog will allow readers to follow Davis through the refresh process, and it will help to keep the community in the know about all of the exciting developments inside the library while it's closed.

What's a refresh?  As you can see from the image above, the Davis branch originally opened in 1964, with the land for construction being a gift of the Davis family. Over the years, the 2 stories of the library building have accommodated different uses.  Many people remember the lower level as the home of the Special Needs Library. The lower level also has housed administrative offices, a training lab, and Mobile Services. That level is now the home of the KIDMuseum, a non-profit library partner offering fantastic STEM and cultural activities for children.

The upper level of the library has always provided library services to the local community, and it was last renovated in 1984, over 30 years ago.  So, the time has come for some serious sprucing up of the interior of this beautiful mid-century modern building in order to move library services into the 21st century.

Funds for the project come from a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Level of Effort Fund for Library Refurbishments, and State Capital Grant.

In addition to new paint and carpet, the Davis refresh project will include:
  • an enhanced area for children
  • a substantial increase in seating space with power for electronic devices
  • two reservable collaborative workspaces
  • comfortable lounge seating in several areas
  • a total renovation of our restrooms
  • digital signage
  • and more
The library will close for this process sometime this summer, and be closed for about 4 to 5 months.
During that time, Davis customers can access services at any of the other 20 Montgomery County Libraries. Nearby libraries are  Kensington Park, Bethesda, and Potomac.

While the library will be closed to the public, the KIDMuseum will be fully functional and is offering a wide selection of camps and other activities during the summer and into the fall.

The next blog will talk about bit more about the refresh, and also introduce some of the Davis staff members.  In the meantime, enjoy this short film produced by the American Library Association in 1965, and see if you can recognize the location of the exterior and interior shots.

Anita Vassallo
Davis Branch Manager