Sadness resonated throughout the neighborhood as residents learned the news that Cleveland Park Library Branch Manager Barbara Gauntt (seated in this photo, surrounded by her staff) had died the day before. Jill Bogard, president of the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library, shared this letter:
It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that Barbara Gauntt, Branch Manager of the Cleveland Park Library, passed away peacefully at home in the early hours of Sunday, November 4, 2018.
A native Washingtonian, Barbara was born on July 24, 1943. She graduated from Georgetown University at the age of 17, and had completed two master’s degrees by the time she was 21 — one in French, the other in Spanish.
She began her career at the Library of Congress, where she was hired as a Latin American bibliographer. Over a 30 year career there, she rose through the ranks and held several administrative positions.
In the late ’90s, Barbara began volunteering at the Cleveland Park Library, and was hired as a page in 1998, working her way up to library technician and then library associate. In 2008 she earned a master’s degree in library science from Catholic University.
In November 2012 Barbara became Branch Manager of the Cleveland Park Library. She was instrumental in the closing of the original building, providing interim service at the Van Ness location, and launching the new building in June of this year. She loved the library, but more importantly, she loved her staff and the many library patrons who became her cherished friends.
In keeping with her wishes, there will be no service, nor will there be a published obituary.
Jill Bogard, President, Friends of the Cleveland Park Library
Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director, DC Public Library also wrote this letter to all patrons:
It is with deep sadness that I write to announce the passing of Barbara Gauntt, manager of the Cleveland Park Library. She passed away peacefully in the Kalorama house in which she was born. Barbara graduated from the Emerson School near Dupont Circle before later attending Georgetown University where she earned a Masters in Latin American Studies and became fluent in Spanish. A master of languages, she also studied in France and passed a rigorous exam that qualified her to teach in the French lycée system. She then studied economics at Harvard University, where she completed all her coursework toward a Doctorate.
She was hired by the Library of Congress to work in its Latin America Division and worked there for thirty years. After retiring from LOC, she moved to Mexico for several years where she worked as a library consultant. She then moved back to Washington DC to care for her aging parents. She began working in bookstores, eventually opening a bookstore at National Airport, then managing the legendary Mystery Bookstore three blocks from her home.
In the late 1990s, Barbara began volunteering at the Cleveland Park Library, and was hired as a page there in 1998. She then became a library technician and then a library associate, eventually going to Catholic and earning her MLS and becoming a librarian in 2008. In November 2012 she became the branch manager and was instrumental in the closing of the original building, providing interim services, and opening the new building in June of this year. Her long career in libraries speaks a tremendous amount to her commitment to public service and love of libraries. She will be greatly missed.