I’m thrilled to announce we have signed Education Tech Startup Librii to 1113 Good Hope Road SE in Anacostia, Washington DC. Ward 8, and particularly, the Anacostia neighborhood around Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, has been a hot spot for investment and development, bringing much needed services and amenities to a fantastic neighborhood. Please read below for more information about this great group and their work.

This past week, I had the unique honor to be invited by a client to a marathon interview session at their new space in Anacostia. I’d never done a marathon interview session before and, in all truth, still haven’t. What was supposed to be a 30 minute individual sit-down turned into a powerful roundtable with some hugely talented and passionate people about space, education, real estate, Frederick Douglas, and the history and trajectory of Anacostia and Washington D.C.

My fellow co-paneists included Earnest Williams, an Anacostia resident, Anthony Guiltier, a Ph.D candidate researching economic development in Anacostia, Shahara Anderson-Davis of the 11th Street Bridge Park Project, Ed Grandis of the Anacostia BID, Lindsay Thompson of CityLab at Johns Hopkins, Joyce Milford from THEARC, Kymone Freeman of WE ACT Radio, Shawn Lightfoot and Amanda Stephenson of Fresh Food Factory, Dr. Jocelyn Imani, a cultural historian, Brian Ferguson, the driving force behind Ban the Box, and Barron Benjamin, a Librii Fellow.

As a real estate professional, there are these rare occurrences where you get to be in the middle of the whirlwind of something big happening. Sitting in the middle of a group of very different people telling powerful stories about their community, their work, and their visions was one of those times. We’re proud to have participated in some small way by brokering the deal and excited to see where these paths lead.

In librii’s own words”

LIBRII PILOT OPENS!

Librii marked a significant step forward in March 2016 by opening its first location. We are getting to know our users, generating our first impact report, and testing our revenue streams. In this post we’ll share some images of the space and discuss the three biggest takeaways from our very first week.

The pilot project objective is to stay lean, learn, measure, react and repeat. We at Librii are insuring our donations and resources create the greatest impact before we rollout a larger project.

Lesson 1: Get the Mission Right
Our mission has gone through several iterations and has recently settled on: Librii is a franchise of libraries + educational centers designed for the Internet age and serving communities with limited access to technology. However, when preparing to sit down with the first user, we realized that reading that to them would sound ridiculous. So, on the first day of operations, we literally rewrote the mission statement to: Librii’s mission is to offer world-class educational experiences so that people can achieve transformational growth for themselves and their communities.

Librii User #5 Barron – currently learning software skills and building resume to gain an internship

Lesson 2. The Power of Clarity
In Librii’s first days, it’s critical to begin building a culture of hard-core learning. To help steer us, we’ve adopted Alliance Framework, which lays out clear expectations so that both Librii and its users can invest in one another with confidence. This framework establishes an environment based on mutual trust, mutual investment, and mutual benefit, that directs each user towards self-directed learning goals. This process has provided a clear picture of what skills Librii users developing and how those efforts further each individual’s larger life goals.

Librii user #2 Telmen was referred to Librii by our first user!

3. Network Intelligence
Librii has a great network of professionals who have supported our early stage development and we are eager to leverage that network to help our users. However, we did not expect the user networks to benefit Librii immediately. We were pleasantly surprised when our first user recruited a friend from her network to who signed on as Librii’s second user!

User generated. It’s like our first dollar bill!

Librii is founded on the notion that libraries are places where people come to create things and in the process build a 21st century skill set. Telmen came to Librii to learn 3D modeling and graphic design software and after one day made significant progress. We celebrated his growth by posting his work – technically the FIRST THING created by a Librii user – in the gallery.

We are delighted to be up and running and look forward to sharing further stories with you as the spring and summer unfold!

THANKS again to all those who have supported Librii’s development. We look forward to testing, learning, and adjusting to ensuring we are creating the greatest possible impact.

For more information about Librii, and their amazing programming, please visit them at http://librii.org.