MLK Library To Close On Sundays

Paul Simpson / Flickr

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library is located at 9th and G streets, NW.

D.C. libraries offer major resources to residents, particularly for those lacking computers or Internet access. And the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, the system’s largest and it’s central library, stays quite busy.

But starting Oct. 2, patrons will have to look elsewhere on Sundays. The library will join the city’s other neighborhood libraries, which have been closed on Sundays since last year.

The new hours at MLK  are a result of a budget shortfall; this particular library has about $700,000 less to work with this coming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

But library spokesman George Williams says that Sunday has been one of the least busy days for the MLK library, when it’s only open from 1 to 5 p.m. The neighborhood libraries, however, had been quite popular on Sundays until 2010 when Sunday hours were cut.

“When the decision was made to close Sundays at neighborhood libraries, patrons made the adjustment” and started coming on other days, Williams says.

Cheap and Free Summer Activities for D.C. Youth

Nearly $17 million cut from summer youth programs in D.C. and 8,000 less D.C. summer teen jobs means thousands more youth will have no structured activities this summer, reports WAMU‘s Kavitha Cardoza. Summer break is just weeks away, and D.C.’s parks and library systems are preparing for a potential flood of kids to their free and reduced programming.

“There’s a huge awareness in the youth-serving community that we’re going to be called on to do more with less,” said Rebecca Renard, the D.C. Public Library’s summer program coordinator.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Swimming is a cool, cheap summer activity.

Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman John Stokes said that “the budget is not what it used to be, so you have to make lemonade with lemons.” DPR is teaming up with other agencies, businesses and community organizations to provide programs, and DPR is also organizing a comprehensive online guide to city activities.

“I’ve been here for eight years, and it’s never been this intense, where every week about 20 agency heads get together in a room and ask, ‘Who’s going to offer what in the summer? How are we going to make sure these areas are covered nonstop?’” Stokes said.

So what is available this summer to D.C. youth who can’t afford expensive alternatives? Here are a few low-cost activities:

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How a federal government shutdown could affect D.C.’s most vulnerable

Flickr: Paul Simpson

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library will close during a federal government shutdown.

A federal government shutdown will do more than impact federal employees (and their BlackBerrys) — many D.C. residents, including the District’s most vulnerable residents, will feel the pain.

Residents lacking a computer or access to high-speed Internet won’t be able to rely upon their local library to cross the digital divide. Public and charter schools will remain open, so students should probably take advantage of the Internet access they can get at their schools — unless you attend the University of the District of Columbia, which will be closed.

Folks who rely on the Circulator buses to get to work will have to hop on a Metrobus instead (bright side: Metro cars could be a lot less crowded!).

But many basic services would continue, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamps and Medicaid. United Medical Center and St. Elizabeth’s hospitals will remain open, and firefighters and police officers will continue to work. Other services will be limited, including unemployment benefits. Mayor Vincent Gray announced that non-essential employees likely won’t be working: about 14,000 of the District’s 35,000 municipal employees would be furloughed under the D.C. plan [PDF].

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Georgetown’s Gorgeous New Library


The library in 2006.

I used to live in Georgetown, less than a block from the beautiful library which was gutted by a fire in the spring of 2007. That’s why I was reading this Prince of Petworth post with avid interest, “PoP Preview – Georgetown Library“:

The Georgetown Library located at 3260 R St, NW (Wisconsin and R) reopens Monday, Oct. 18th. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to receive a tour from DC’s chief librarian, Ginnie Cooper. Many will remember that the library was devastated by fire Apr. 30th, 2007 (same day as the Eastern Market fire).

It is awkward to say this but I think the fire may have been a blessing in disguise (thank God nobody was injured) because the renovation is truly amazing (and there were no plans for a major renovation). It is though an entire new library was built on the space (and much improved). Not only was the space gutted but a ton of new space was added. There is now a huge children’s section as well as a completely new third floor housing the historic Peabody collection (which thankfully some say miraculously survived the fire). Beautiful new staircases were added. A new meeting room and study rooms are top of the line. Wifi and 40 new computers as well as 40,000 books (with room for 80,000) will be housed in the library.

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