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Apple Converts DC’s Carnegie Library into Exclusive Store, Draws Criticism


Apple opened on Saturday the former Carnegie Library building on Mount Vernon Square, after renovating the historic structure, as its most extensive project to date. While the news has been widely praised by Apple fans, it also faced some negative responses from D.C. residents.

Crowds were greeted at the grand opening by the company’s CEO Tim Cook and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Apple cooperated with the architecture firm Foster + Partners, which previously redesigned its store on London’s Regent Street.

Having first opened in 1903 as the District’s central public library, the Carnegie Library building is also currently hosting the new D.C. History Center featuring the Kiplinger Research Library, three galleries and a museum store, which are run by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Even though Apple preserved the old library’s early 20th century details and presented the opening as “returning the library to the Washington, D.C. community as a center for learning, discovery and creativity,” while promising a “community-oriented store” concept, it couldn’t avoid receiving certain reactions.

City Lab columnist Kriston Capps lashed out at the move, calling the Apple Carnegie Library “a failure of imagination.” According to Capps, “the city has turned over a prominent cultural asset to an exclusive use: a tech enclave whose products are out of reach for many residents.”

Some Twitter users also criticized the leasing of historic library to Apple.

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