Welcome to the MLK Library Modernization Idea Community

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, located at 901 G St. NW, will have a major modernization to meet the current and future needs of D.C. residents.

Your input is critical to an improved library.

Sign up to share your thoughts and comment on questions. You can view comments without signing up.

Here’s what we know about the library:
The modernized library will have books and other library materials and services for teens, children, adults including seniors, people with disabilities, D.C. history including D.C. African American history, meetings and the latest technology.

Where we need your help:
What should the services look like? Where in the building should they be located? What other services should be offered?

This idea community will help us answer these questions. You can provide feedback on all of the areas right now or over time.

The Library has selected the team of Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo to design the modernization of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.

Martinez + Johnson is a D.C.-based firm that has extensive experience with historic renovation projects including D.C.’s Takoma Park and Georgetown libraries. Mecanoo is a Dutch-based firm whose work includes Boston’s Dudley Municipal Center and the Library of Birmingham in England.

More information: MLK Background | Work done at MLK

If you're curious how you can interact in this space, watch our 5-minute tutorial. If you have any questions about sign-up or your account, email us.

Draft Plans

Loading dock?

I attended the April 2015 Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association breakfast and heard that you're doing away with the loading dock in order to bump out from the back of the lobby. I also understand that you're planning to have multiple exhibition spaces throughout the building. If you're planning to bring in exhibitions from outside, I suggest keeping a loading dock of some sort. I work for an organization that has displayed ...more »

Submitted by

Interim Library Space

unreliable survey

Since we have a lot of homeless people at the MLK branch and since they benefit from FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE, they will answer that it does not matter to them that the interim library is not WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE; this will cause the survey to be slanted. I CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY TRANSPORTATION and need a library with free scanning and computer access within walking distance. Please send comments to my e-mail address; ...more »

Submitted by

Technology and Innovation Spaces

Digital preservation drop-in center

I think it would be great if the library were able to offer a digital preservation drop-in center, where patrons can seek advice on best practices of managing their digital files and archives. If that drop-in center included a lab, where people can find the equipment to retrieve the content on their old floppies, or get help with other digital preservation actions, that would be even better.

Submitted by

Public Entrance, Outdoor Space and Entrance Hall

Energy efficiency

The library renovation is a great opportunity for DC to showcase innovative energy efficient building technologies. It would be a great way to educate the public indirectly about advanced building technologies, plus it would make the facility more comfortable (too hot in there today!) and reduce energy bills. Will the project plans ultimately incorporate more aggressive sustainability measures than what is detailed in ...more »

Submitted by

Public Entrance, Outdoor Space and Entrance Hall

Better stairs, better elevators

Currently the stairs are dark, enclosed, and almost feel dangerously secluded. The small, dirty elevators aren't a much better choice for getting upstairs. It would be such a joy to walk up a well-lit public staircase. Increased use of the stairs would also increase health benefits for the building's users and would decrease the elevator load. However, for those who need the elevator, improved elevators are in order ...more »

Submitted by

Public Entrance, Outdoor Space and Entrance Hall

Main Hall Decoration Idea

I went to see an art exhibit this January where the local artist’s featured painting was titled “Tribute to Civil Rights”. The painting was portraying MLK in a fantastic composition, on a very large canvas. In my opinion the painting has a great message and it would be a nice piece to be displayed in the new library, encouraging all people to reach for their dreams, for generations to come. For your convenience, to ...more »

Submitted by

Public Entrance, Outdoor Space and Entrance Hall

Heat from Glass buildings being built.

Excessive heat inside the structure. As of July 10, 2014 the building construction directly across the street from the MLK library location has added glass to finish the outside of that new building. Was this considered when the plans for the new library were drawn? Rather than have to put in an expensive band-aid fix after the fact, contractors and Library decision makers should start now to fix this looming problem ...more »

Submitted by

Finalist Architects' Design Ideas

Green Roof

A green room might be advantageous to the library by reducing stormwater run-off and lowering cooling costs. It would also be an educational resource! Additional advantages of green roofs are detailed in the URL provided. . The Minneapolis and Philadelphia Public Libraries have green roofs. http://www.mpl.org/about/green_roof/ https://www.dvgbc.org/green_resources/projects/philadelphia-free-library-central-branch-green-roof ...more »

Submitted by

Meeting Spaces and Rooms

Meditation Room

I know libraries have 'quiet rooms.' I believe one of these rooms should be dedicated to meditation. Meditation has been shown to reduce crime, reduce stress, promote well-being and prosperity. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/01/nyregion/meditating-to-try-to-lower-crime-rate.html The Los Angeles library supports these types of activities. I am sure one or more of these local organizations would be happy to help. ...more »

Submitted by

Meeting Spaces and Rooms

Smaller silent reading rooms and better lighting

My favorite libraries are ones that have areas that are small with dark wood and don't allow talking or phones. I also enjoy libraries that have rows of tables with lights for reading. The current library is not enjoyable to read in; it reminds me of the Houston Public Library, which is awful (even after renovation). I really like the architecture library at The University of Texas at Austin, the 2001 Nashville central ...more »

Submitted by

Adult Area and Services

BOOKS. Maintain a high volume

From colonial days until now, public libraries have provided both new and old, popular and obscure, books. It is impossible for even a wealthy person to maintain such a broad collection. Access to the Internet, and rooms to meet in, however, can be provided in other places (schools, courthouses, churches on weekday, business space temporarily not leased). I am concerned about the great numbers of books which have been ...more »

Submitted by

Children's Area (Ages birth-12) and Services

Should MLK have special Children's reading rooms?

I believe that the children's space should include themed secluded reading rooms. The main library of the Salt Lake City library system has the Attic and the Crystal Cave Reading Room for children. They are attractive and great places for children to read together without creating disruptive noise that travels through the library. They can also be used for smaller story times.

Submitted by

Finalist Architects' Design Ideas

Build a new main library

Look at the Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago, which opened in May 2011. The structure consists of an above-ground, 8,000-square-foot, 180-person capacity Main Reading Room. Four long rows of reading tables provide lighting and free electricity. Each table has space to which a patron can lock a laptop to an anti-theft device. If needed, the tables can be disconnected to provide for group study. Free wireless ...more »

Submitted by

Displaying 1 - 25 of 84 Questions