Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is now officially closed and reportedly won't open in the next three years. This summer, the building will be updating its "flagship" branch will consist of constructing a large auditorium and conference center, a ground-level cafe, a newly designed special collections space for researchers, and a rooftop event space.
According to the press release, the library has been granted a $208 million budget to undergo a complete modernization renovation. MLK has hired the award-winning design team of Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo to recreate the building. A series of city meetings were conducted last November and December for the initial conceptualization models.
The reports read that the primary goal of redesigning the library is 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." The central library may be closed, but the management reassures the public that its services will be handled by expanded services around the city and at Library Express.
Meanwhile, it has cause unrest among the homeless as they have found refuge in the library. The Washington Post has interviewed a certain Michael as saying, "If you are homeless, this is your refuge during the day. You take away my refuge, you take away my life."
Many people have relied on the library to take their cares away, but are now confused on where to go or kill time to now that it has has temporarily closed. Director of the D.C. Department of Human Services Laura Zeilinger said their office would expand its plan to cater to the homeless.
The new MLK library is seen to be the center of activity in the busy street of Chinatown as well. Planning to have the MLK reconstructed went as early as 2011 with a comprehensive talk with the community.