Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's to Become of the MLK Library

The DC Public Library is in a state of transition, as well as a budget crunch, and now the Library's continuing presence in Penn Quarter is in question.

The District of Columbia has isolated the building that houses the MLK Library right now - designed by renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and dedicated in September of 1972 - as a potential source of income.  Now, the library, along with the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Urban Land Institute, will be reviewing and assessing the value of that land next week.

According to the Library's release:
"On November 13 - November 18, ULI will convene an advisory services panel of national experts to review demographic and trend data; interview area stakeholders including civic and community leaders, elected officials, advisory neighborhood commissioners, commercial and residential developers, architects, business organizations, financial institutions and religious institutions; discuss potential uses of the current building; and discuss the ideal location for a downtown central library."
From the sound of things, it is all but decided that the central library will be leaving its current location.  This is of course disheartening, but chief librarian Ginnie Cooper confirmed that "the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will continue to exist and be located downtown."

A loyal PQ Insider reader has confirmed to us that community members are more than welcome to join the panel at the library on Friday, November 18 from 9-11AM, when findings and recommendations will be presented.

As we've mentioned, we find the library to be a great resource in Penn Quarter, and hope the numbers can be crunched to keep it around.  We can't immediately think of a downtown space expansive enough to house it, particularly when even Eataly can't find enough space around here.  We look forward to hearing what the panel recommends.

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