MLK Jr. Library to close for 3 years

WASHINGTON — The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library — a central hub for avid readers, weekend scholars and even the homeless population of D.C. — will close its doors to the public for the next three years.

After D.C.’s central library closes its doors at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, it won’t open again until 2020.

The facility “will undergo a complete modernization,” according to a public statement on the library’s website. The $208 million renovation project will include a new entryway, sculptured monumental stairs, an auditorium and conference center and even a rooftop event space with a terrace.

The modernized space will have “creative spaces for fabrication,” where musicians, artists and writers can get to work.

For the rest of the public, a double-height reading room and ground level cafe with a patio may hold more interest.

Award-winning design team Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo is behind the project, conceptualizing designs presented at eight citywide meetings held in November and December 2016.

The aim of the redesign is, according to the release,  “to go beyond a library that is merely transactional — a place where you go simply to checkout a book — to create a library that truly transforms lives — a world-class library for the 21st Century.”

Construction is set to begin this summer.

Throughout the duration of the MLK Library closure, temporary services will be provided at Library Express at 1990 K St. NW. Items from the MLK Library will be available through placing holds for pickup at branch locations.

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