When the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library closes for modernization in mid-2017, District residents will have more hours at their neighborhood libraries. DC Public Library Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan made the announcement on Nov. 9 at the first of eight community meetings on the plans for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and for library services during construction.

In his presentation, Reyes-Gavilan outlined the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library modernization project’s history, timeline, and most recent design images. When the $208 million transformation is complete, the library will become the center of activity for the already vibrant downtown area. The building will feature a new, inspiring, and transparent entryway; sculptured monumental stairs; large auditorium and conference center; creative spaces for fabrication, music production, and art creation; ground level café with patio; double-height reading room; large, interactive children’s space; expanded special collections space for researchers and local history enthusiasts; and a roof top event space with terrace.

After the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library closes in spring 2017, neighborhood libraries which are currently closed on Thursday mornings will open at 9:30 a.m. In addition to opening a Library Express location at 19th and K St. NW and expanding operating hours at all neighborhood libraries, many items that are unique to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and books that are in good condition will be available at the District’s 25 neighborhood libraries.

Because the $208 million renovation budget must cover the construction costs and temporary library service costs, some of the services offered in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will not be replicated. During the construction, special emphasis will be placed on providing services that are unique to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Specifically:

  • Some services, including public access computers, the Adult Literacy Resource Center, and the Center for Accessibility, will be provided at Library Express located at 19th and K St. NW.
  • Special collections, including parts of Washingtoniana, will be available at partner organizations.
  • The Labs, which include the Fabrication, Memory, and Studio labs, will be modified and relocated.

This meeting continues the community engagement that began in 2013. To date, nearly 60 community and stakeholder meetings and 13 focus groups have been held across the city, hundreds of surveys submitted, and more than 3,000 people have provided input into the design in person or online. Seven more meetings will be held to share the latest designs that were informed by the community feedback and answer questions.

  • Nov. 14, 7 p.m. – Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW (Ward 1);
  • Nov. 30, 7 p.m. – Southwest Library, 900 Wesley Place SW (Ward 6);
  • Dec. 1, 7 p.m. – Shepherd Park/Juanita E. Thornton Library, 7420 Georgia Ave. NW (Ward 4);
  • Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m. – Woodridge Library, 1801 Hamlin St. NE (Ward 5);
  • Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m. – Francis A. Gregory Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE (Ward 7);
  • Dec. 13, 7 p.m. – Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW (Ward 3);
  • Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. – Anacostia Library, 1800 Good Hope Road SE (Ward 8)

A full copy of the interim services plan and images of the latest designs can be found at http://www.dclibrary.org/mlkfuture

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