MLK Library Renovation Blog

Re-Imagine a New Central Library

Published on Monday, August 25, 2014

Take a virtual tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Hear why this historic building needs a complete renovation and how we hope to transform it into a state-of-the-art central library for D.C. residents.

Watch the video.

Learn more about the MLK Library renovation at

On the importance of engaging a diverse community

Published on Monday, August 11, 2014

We recently spoke with John Tinpe, a member of the MLK Library Renovation Advisory Panel and an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the neighborhood surrounding MLK Library. Specifically, Tinpe represents ANC 2C, which is the section of Ward 2 that extends roughly from 15 St. NW east to I-395, and from Massachusetts Ave. NW south to Independence Ave. SW.

Mr. Tinpe shared his thoughts on the renovation and the importance of keeping members of D.C.’s diverse community engaged in the process.

Services for People With Disabilities

Published on Monday, August 4, 2014

Accessible EntrancePatrons of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library who use Adaptive Services have said they hope to feel welcome, comfortable and at ease in the newly renovated central library. Whether a disability impairs a person’s sight, vision or mobility, the library should accommodate everyone.

Published on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A major goal for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation is to open up the building and make it more inviting for the public, said the project’s lead architect, Francine Houben, of the Dutch architectural firm Mecanoo.
“People must realize that libraries are not just about books,” said Houben from her office in the Netherlands during a July 10 webcast about the renovation. “They are about people: People meeting each other, exchanging knowledge, furthering their education. Libraries are about lifelong learning.”

Published on Friday, July 18, 2014

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will undergo a major renovation. The design and planning process for that renovation began last fall with the process to select and architect. We now have a concept design for the renovated building from the selected team of Martinez + Johnson/Mecanoo. The various required regulatory processes will begin this fall.

Published on Thursday, July 3, 2014

We recently spoke with Meg Maguire, a member of the MLK Library Renovation Advisory Panel and a retired community conservation consultant. She shared her thoughts on the renovation and the potential opportunities and challenges the project presents.

How a Public Library Set Me Free

Published on Friday, June 27, 2014

Last month, the Library's new executive director, Richard Reyes-Gavilan, published an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.  In it, he ties the sense of wonderment he experienced growing up with the central library in Queens, New York, with the need for a renovated MLK Library.  You can read the short piece here.

Watch the Entire Discussion

Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On Thursday, July 10 the DC Public Library held an online panel discussion exploring the design of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Renovation.

Washingtoniana and Black Studies Should Be a Showpiece

Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Library customers have expressed ideas for expanding and displaying more of special collections focusing on Washington’s history and the African-American experience in the United States – now housed as the Washintoniana Collection and the Black Studies Center respectively. Once the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation is complete, people want to see, touch and learn more about the city’s past and the experience of blacks in this country over the past two-plus centuries.
Below are some specific ideas and suggestions expressed at the Library Design Roundtable in April and in a recent focus group of special collections patrons from all over the city.

President of the Friends of the MLK Library

Published on Friday, June 20, 2014

Recently we spoke with Robin Diener, president of the Friends of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, and a member of the MLK Library Renovation Advisory Panel. She shared her thoughts about the opportunities this project presents to the city.

Board Adopts Principles to Guide MLK Library Renovation

Published on Monday, June 16, 2014

On May 28, the DC Public Library Board of Trustees updated the Library's Mixed Use Real Estate Projects Policy. The board also adopted new principles to help guide the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Share your thoughts about the types of mixed use you think might be appropriate for the MLK Library site.