DC Public Library, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, First Floor Renovations+Digital Commons
District of Columbia Pubilc Library
Construction Cost: $2.8 million
Size: 25,000 square feet
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (MLK Library) is the central library for the District of Columbia. First Floor renovations completed in 2013 consisted of restoration of the historically landmarked interior spaces and the insertion of a new Digital Commons within a ground-floor, glass-enclosed historic reading room. Great Hall renovations reopened original-view corridors to create an inviting arrival point where visitors can better navigate hosted events and services. Improvements include new mobile displays, digital kiosks, café seating, restored finishes, and adaptation of historic service counters into state-of-the-art circulation and welcome desks.
The public library has evolved as customer needs expand from individual consumption to collective creation of knowledge and information. The MLK Library’s Digital Commons encourages creative exploration by making visible to visitors its new tools and infrastructure. The 11,000 SF Digital Commons includes more than 80 computers, an array of tablet devices, 3D printing, a self-publishing book machine, technology-infused group collaboration spaces, and a new service model in which staff partner with customers on their projects.
Set within the challenging environment of a historically registered interior space, the wall-less Commons is equipped with mobile infrastructure to meet the demands of the future. The space is designed to evolve with new technology and the shifting demands of the Library’s community. Highly visible through the transparent glass street frontage, the renovation forges a new precedent for the Library’s future by respecting and preserving its architectural past, transforming to accommodate the needs of the present, and incorporating flexibility that anticipates the future.