As 2023 nears an end, the DC Public Library enjoyed a year of robust attendance and impactful programs, continuing its commitment to serving the District. From story times to author talks, book clubs, computer courses, events and community meetings, the Library had more than 3 million visits across its 26 locations.
Below are some notable numbers for 2023:
- More than 20,000 visits to the "Imagining the Future - Leonardo da Vinci: In the Mind of an Italian Genius" exhibit. Held in partnership with Confindustria and Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the exhibit featured 12 original Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the Codex Atlanticus. This Codex is the largest collection of original drawings and texts by Leonardo da Vinci in the world, and this was the first time they were in North America.
- The People's Archive Reading Room in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and the Georgetown Library's Peabody Reading Rooms saw more than 3,000 visits this year. The most popular reference collections included the Washington Evening Star, Historic Image Collection and the Washingtoniana Vertical File collection. In addition to these collections, the People's Archive Reading Room featured Shakespeare’s First Folio. Published in 1623, the First Folio features several of Shakespeare's plays, including "As You Like It," "Julius Caesar," "Macbeth," and "The Tempest." The display was part of the "Searching for Shakespeare: Celebrating 400 Years of Shakespeare’s First Folio," a citywide festival led by The Folger Shakespeare Library.
- More than 13,000 visits to the “We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC” exhibit in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Presented with the National Women’s History Museum, the exhibit traces Black feminism in the District, from the turn of the 20th century through the civil rights and Black Power movements to today.
- The "Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley: Let the World See" exhibit had more than 1,000 visits. The exhibit, which ran from January 27 to March, tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley's activism following the kidnapping, torture, and murder of her 14-year-old son Emmett and how that activism continues to inspire a movement today. Created by the Emmett Till & Mamie Till-Mobley Institute, the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Till family, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the exhibit also featured items from DC Public Library's People's Archive showing the role of local Black reporters and the DC NAACP in ensuring that Emmett’s story was told and the entwined histories of lynching and police brutality in the D.C. region.
- Marianne's Café in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library sold more than 15,380 cups of coffee and 6,700 egg and cheese sandwiches this year. Located on the first floor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library in downtown, DC, Marianne’s by DC Central Kitchen builds on the hugely successful DC Central Kitchen Cafe model. In addition to serving high-quality beverages and light fare featuring locally sourced ingredients, Marianne’s provides on-the-job training to youth and adults facing barriers to employment and houses the first hospitality sector apprenticeship in the District of Columbia.
- 3,000 book bags with school supplies were given out at the William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Library’s Back-to-School Bash. In addition to being one of the largest back-to-school events east of the Anacostia River, students and their families were able to get free health screenings, information on Library resources and professional haircuts.
- The Passport Acceptance Office located in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library issued 5,879 passports.
To learn more about events, exhibits and services offered by the DC Public Library, visit any Library location.