Library Naming Policy

Library Naming Policy

The following policy statement is proposed to guide the recommendations of the Chief Librarian and to apprise residents of new ways of honoring individuals. The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations on this matter permit a library to be named for an individual, and this has been done in the past. In public meetings but not yet through official action, the Library Board has supported naming a neighborhood library only for the communities served in recognition of the fact that a neighborhood library is central to the life of a neighborhood.   

It is the policy of the Board of Library Trustees to name library buildings after the communities they serve, their geographic location, or a similar geographic nexus. Individuals may be recognized by naming locations inside or outside of the library.  

Naming Library Rooms, Areas and Spaces
  • Areas within and about the libraries offer many naming opportunities. These areas include meeting rooms, special use areas, collections, gardens and walkways.
  • Named spaces should include the functional name of the space as well.  [Ex: The Smith – Jones Meeting Room]
  • Proposals for the naming of such spaces are to be submitted to the Chief Librarian for his or her consideration. Such requests will be acted on by the Library Board at the recommendation of the Chief Librarian.  
  • The DC Public Library Foundation shall develop guidelines to name an area within a library to honor or recognize a donor. These guidelines shall be submitted to the Board of Library Trustees for their approval.    
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations

Key provisions as set forth in The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR 19 sec. 808):

808.1    Library buildings shall be named by action of the Board of Library
Trustees upon the written recommendation of the Director of the
Public Library.
808.2    No library building shall be named in honor of any living persons.
808.3    No library building shall be named in honor of any deceased person until at least two (2) years after that person’s death.
808.4    The official name of a library building that is named in honor
of any person shall include the given name of that person as well as the surname of that person.
808.5    Upon the receipt of a recommendation from the Director of the
Public Library for the naming of a library building, the Board of Library Trustees shall refer the recommendation to the proper committee for consideration in public session and recommend to the full Board.
808.6    Upon receipt of the recommendation from the committee, the
Board shall take proposed action to name or rename the library building.
808.7    Notice of proposed action shall be published in the D.C.
Register for a period of not less than thirty (30) days prior to final action to name or rename the library building.
808.8       Additional notice shall be given to the organized community in
the area of the library buildings and shall be delivered to the press and media.
808.9       The existing name of any library building may be changed
upon the written recommendation of the Director of the Public Library and the action of the Board of Library Trustees pursuant to the procedures set forth in this section.
808.10    Any person or organization may submit a proposed name or
change of name of any library building to the Director of the Public Library for consideration; however, the Director shall not be required to submit any particular name or recommendation for change of name to the Board of Library Trustees.

(Source: Final Rulemaking published at 41 DCR 1978-79, April 15, 1994.)


Library Naming Policy - Approved
Board of Library Trustees
May 27, 2009