Courtesy of
Courtesy of

While the public will have to wait a bit longer to explore the entire Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s upper floors, they will be able to experience the building virtually through online programming.

A virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 24 will kick off an online program series that will continue into the new year and be streamed online and on the Library’s social media platforms. The programs will be filmed around the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library to give people a feel for the spaces in the building.

For children, virtual storytimes will be streamed from the new children’s theater, which overlooks the 9th and G Street Northwest corridors. There will also be a musical tour of the MLK Library highlighting the building’s new spaces.

For teens, the “Know Your Power” awards ceremony will announce the winners of the civic engagement creative art contest sponsored by Pepco and the DC Public Library Foundation. The event will feature special performances by Words, Beats and Life and keynote remarks by New York Times Best-Selling Author and DC resident, Elizabeth Acevedo.

For adults, Brandi Summers, professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss her book “Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City” with Samir Meghelli, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum. Summers scholarship focuses on the ways Blackness is aestheticized in urban cultural landscapes and used to achieve particular social and economic ends. Her work includes examining gentrification in DC’s H Street Corridor.

Limited Services Available in Person

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will only be offering limited services in person when it opens on September 24. For the time being, the upper floors of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will be closed to the public. However, people will be able to enter the building’s main floor to:

Apply for a Library Card: Customers can apply for a Library Card at an open branch and online via the Library’s website

Pick up Holds and Return Items: Customers can search the Library’s catalog or contact the Library to have staff reserve a book for pick up at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. They will receive an email when the items are ready. Customers can also return any borrowed item to the library.

Computers and Printing: The Library has reduced the number of public computers to ensure 6-feet of social distancing. In addition, computer sessions are limited to 45-minute sessions to allow for cleaning and for more people to access the internet. While photocopying and scanning are not available, customers can also send documents electronically for free printing.

Borrow Grab & Go Materials: Curated book titles and bundles of books will be available for checkout near the circulation desk. Customers can ask for a specific item, and the staff member will retrieve it.

Visit or download the DC Public Library mobile app for reopening information and the event schedule.

For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please visit

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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