That Awkward Canopy


People weren’t big fans of the flying saucer at the Hyattsville library at first.

Here’s a description of the building from the Washington Post’s Thomas Grubisich in a March 4, 1971 article (titled “The Library that Tries Harder”):

Its design, which features an awkward canopy called the “flying saucer,” inspires service-station attendants to some of their more colorful direction giving. Said one attendant recently, “Go six lights, turn left, then make a 45-degree right turn at the first light, and when you see a building that looks like it should be in Pakistan, thats the library. You can’t miss it.”

Since 1964 architecture of new branches has improved, if only because it couldn’t get worse.

The entire article is actually quite hilarious, noting that one librarian, fighting to get a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine, “wears pants suits on the job … and her office walls are plastered with posters of rock eminence James Taylor and film actor Elliott Gould.”

Incidentally, a separate article about the Jan. 19, 1964, opening of the library notes that it was “dedicated to the memory of the late President John F. Kennedy.”

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