Northeast Neighborhodd Library (Photo via Facebook/ Friends of the Northeast Library)Locals on Capitol Hill and in other parts of the District can give their opinions on D.C. libraries in a new survey from the city’s library system.

The D.C. Public Library system is urging residents to complete a survey intended to help it plan for the future.

The questionnaire asks respondents to say what they “wish the library offered more of” and how they use the library, among other queries.

“Input from all D.C. residents, students, employers and employees is needed to map out the vision for the library in the next five years and help us move from good to great,” the survey says. “By taking our 5-minute survey, you’re helping us define our future.”

Photo via Facebook/Friends of the Northeast Library

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Northeast Neighborhodd Library (Photo via Facebook/ Friends of the Northeast Library)About a thousand used books are set to go on sale at the Northeast Neighborhood Library this weekend.

The fundraiser at the 330 7th St. NE library is scheduled to start Saturday at 10:30 a.m. On Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., any remaining books are slated be sold at a discounted price.

Riverby Books, a used bookstore that closed on Capitol Hill in March, donated the books to the Friends of the Northeast Library, which typically holds two book sales every year to raise money for the library.

Vince Morris, president of the Friends of the Northeast Library, said the gift from Riverby will make this sale much larger than previous times. He also said the quality of the books will be higher because Riverby Books was more selective with the items they accepted.

“They donated a huge part of their inventory,” Morris said. “It’s probably going to be double the size of our typical sales.”

The library on Sunday also will host a block party from 2 to 5 p.m. The party, which will take place in front of the library, will include face painting, crafts, a balloon artist and a professional storyteller.

Photo via Facebook/Friends of the Northeast Library

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Advocates supporting a Capitol Hill library are looking to drum up excitement for its annual spring book sale on May 16 with a unique draw — kids will be able to name Northeast Library‘s two pet rats.

This will be the first time the library has had official pets, according to Vince Morris, president of Friends of the Northeast Library.

“They’re going to be the mascots for the library,” he said.

The rodents, one with a solid gray coat and the other with a white body and a gray head, are Dumbo rats, a breed of domesticated rats distinguished by their large ears.

Morris said the creatures — who live in a “very nice, very clean” terrarium on the second floor, in the children’s section of the library — are a big help with young people.

“Some kids are very shy about talking with the librarian, and the animals bring them out of their shells,” he said.

Kids have already started offering their name recommendations for the rats, with suggestions including a fair number of common women’s names (both rats are female). If Morris, a Congressional staffer who lives nearby —  had the opportunity to name the rats himself, he said he would go with Licorice and Muffin.

The book sale and rodent name selection will occur at the library, located at 330 7th St. NE, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, with a smaller sale Sunday between 1 and 3 p.m.

Potential buyers will have an opportunity to choose from fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and DVDs. All the money raised will go toward supporting the staff and programs, including a recent investment in early childhood learning tools. “A few thousand” dollars are usually raised.

Photos courtesy of Vince Morris

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Charles Allen reading, Jan. 16, 2015A funding plan is in the works for Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen’s initiative to send every child in the District a book every month from birth through age five.

Allen said at a D.C. Council hearing on his “Books From Birth” bill today that the program will have a dedicated funding stream that won’t pull from the D.C. Public Library budget.

“This is something we need to do and that we need to fund,” Allen said. “I’ll be fighting to make sure we have additional resources to make this successful.”

“We know that this is a program we can raise private funds for,” DCPL Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan said.

“If you can’t raise money for a program like Books from Birth, you should probably hang it up,” he added, to laughter.

For hours this afternoon, education experts spoke before the Council committee on education about the “word gap” between children in high-income and low-income families, and the value of every child having access to books.

Susan Haight, president of the Federation of Friends of the D.C. Public Library, spoke in favor of Books From Birth as long as it is correctly funded.

“We want to make sure the funds needed for this project are sourced from outside DCPL,” she said. “We support this legislation if properly and not competitively funded.”

More than 40,700 children under age 5 live in the District, according to a 2013 Census Bureau estimate. With the program estimated by Allen’s office to cost $30 per child per year, that brings the initiative’s price tag to roughly $1.2 million a year.

Allen introduced the bill in January, as Hill Now reported. Supporters can sign an online petition for the bill.

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Book sale (Photo via Facebook/Friends of the Northeast Library)You can score new books this weekend and help a local library at the same time.

A used book sale will be held tomorrow at the library one block east of Stanton Park. Friends of Northeast Library will hold the sale Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shoppers in three basement rooms of the 330 7th St. NE library can expect to find fiction, nonfiction, DVDs and children’s books at low prices.

The library booster group fundraises for improvements to the building and hosts book readings and signings.

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