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DC library chief eager to hear from public about MLK library's future

The Martin Luther King Jr Library could look like this in a few years

The next neighborhood meetings designed to solicit feedback from DC residents about their hopes for the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library downtown are taking place Thursday and Tuesday.
On Tuesday, September 30, at 7:00pm at St Paul’s Parish, 2430 K St. NW, members of the public are invited to share their wishes for the central library’s programs, layout and community roles. (The library held another meeting Thursday, September 25, at 6:30pm the Francis A. Gregory Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE.)
The DC Public Library’s director, Richard Reyes-Gavilan, says he is “attending as many of these meetings as humanly possible. I want people to be able to hear from me and I want to hear from as many people as I can meet.”
Reyes-Gavilan, named head of DCPL at the beginning of this year, says to date he’s heard comments from library users that fall roughly into two categories: some remarks are about the look and layout of the building’s exterior and interior, and others concern the services the main library will offer in the years to come.
One common complain? “How difficult it is to access the upper floors of the building,” he says. “You’re greeted by this great hall, but then you have no intuitive clue as to how to get up to the second or third or fourth floors.
Climate control in the Modernist landmark, designed by Mies van der Rohe, is another issue. “You’re got parts of this building where some people are roasting hot and others are freezing cold – and they’re feeling this within a couple of feet of each other.”
Another public meeting that will shape the look and feel of the future central library, for which funds are currently not budgeted until fiscal 2018, takes place October 7. DCPL’s current estimated cost for the renovation ranges from $225 - $250 million.
At 6:30pm on October 7, at the MLK Library, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) – the federal planning agency for the nation’s capital – will lead a public  meeting, which anyone can attend. According to the National Environmental Policy Act, NCPC is required to conduct an environmental assessment of the proposed renovation of the Library; the environmental effects of the current renovation and several alternatives will be discussed.
Moreover, under the National Historic Preservation Act, NCPC must also consider effects of the renovation on other properties adjacent to the library.
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