MLK Library Renovation Blog

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.

Teens Seek a Comfortable Setting for Fun and Learning

Published on Friday, June 6, 2014

As part of the community input for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation, Library staff has hosted focus groups with teens. We’ve gotten great ideas about how to make the library more welcoming for teens and what services would best help them succeed in school.
Here is some of what we heard from 10 students of Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School, located in Anacostia.

How the District Got Its Iconic Library Building

Published on Thursday, May 29, 2014
70s Era MLK

Ever wonder how the District ended up with its iconic Mies van der Rohe-designed central library? In this episode of the DC Public Library podcast, special collections librarian Jerry McCoy tells the story of how one of the most famous architects of the 20th century came to design the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.


Published on Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Community Forum

On Monday, May 19 we held a community forum to discuss the renovation plans for the MLK Library. More than 60 participants showed up to watch as the architect team of Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo made a presentation of preliminary designs for the building. After the presentation, the audience had a chance to respond with their options, feedback, and ideas. The slideshow of the preliminary designs is available online; please take a look and share your thoughts in the comments.


Community Forum Monday, May 19

Published on Monday, May 19, 2014

MLK Library Exterior RenderingThe architect team will present preliminary design concepts at a Community Forum. View the designs and offer your feedback.

View Preliminary Designs and Provide Feedback

Published on Monday, May 12, 2014

Join the architect team of Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo for a presentation of preliminary designs for the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The community is invited to provide feedback.

Monday, May 19, 6 p.m.
MLK Library, Great Hall
901 G St. NW

Learn more about the plans to renovate MLK Library at

Published on Thursday, May 1, 2014

On Thursday, April 24, dozens of people from the D.C. community gathered in the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for a roundtable discussion about the library’s future. The evening began with a short presentation by Francine Houben, the creative director of Mecanoo, one of the architecture teams selected to head the renovation project. After the presentation, the audience broke up into small groups to discuss their ideas for the future of MLK. Topics discussed ranged from how to structure children’s, teen, and adult services to how to best integrate community and cultural spaces.

Published on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Come share your ideas at a Library Roundtable Discussion, Thursday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. The evening will begin with a short presentation from the architect team, followed by roundtable discussions.

Topics will include:

  • Children's Services
  • Teen Services
  • Adult Services
  • Technology/Innovation
  • Local D.C. History/Special Collections
  • Services for People with Disabilities
  • Cultural & Community Spaces
  • Mixed Use/Shared Spaces

All topics will be discussed in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). Check back soon for a schedule of table topics.