Special Collections Interim Access & Services

Special Collections Interim Access & Services

During the MLK Library Modernization

Unique Washingtoniana collections and reference materials - those not readily available at other local institutions - are accessible during the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library modernization. In addition to uninterrupted access at the Peabody Room and online at Dig DC, here is where you can find us now. 

Collections & Locations

Washingtoniana Reference & Photos
Historical Society of Washington, DC
At the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square
801 K Street NW | Washington, DC 20001
wash.dcpl@dc.gov | 202-727-1213

Washingtoniana is co-locating with the Historical Society of Washington, DC during the MLK Library closure. Special Collections reference staff provide access to the following collections by appointment. Additionally, ready reference materials may be accessed without an appointment during walk in hours (Tuesday - Friday, 2 - 4 p.m.). 
  • Evening Star Photo Collection - Entire collection is accessible (by appointment only).
  • DC Historical Image Collection - Entire collection is accessible (by appointment only). 
  • Vertical Files - All subject files are accessible. 
  • DC Punk Archive and Go-Go Archive - All processed collections are accessible (by appointment only). 
  • Book Collection - Washingtoniana books not duplicated at the Historical Society are accessible. To see the selected titles, go to the catalog at dclibrary.org and check "Washingtoniana Library" under Library.
  • Historic Building Permits (microfilm) - Permits from 1877 to 1949 are accessible. 
  • Directories (microfilm) - City directories (1822-1973), Haines Criss-Cross directories (1974-present) and telephone directories (1907-present) are accessible. 
  • Historic DC Newspapers (microfilm) - Historic local newspapers not available digitally are accessible on microfilm.
  • Tax assessment directories (microfilm) - Tax assessments (1874-2010) and Lusk’s sales directories are accessible.
  • Genealogy Materials - Print resources and DC marriage records (microfiche) are accessible.
Many Washingtoniana collections, such as plat maps, are duplicated at the Historical Society and may be accessed at the same time as your appointment with Washingtoniana staff.
DC Community Archives & Periodicals
Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodicals Room
101 Independence Ave SE | Washington, DC 20540

Special Collections archival collections and periodicals are available for public access (by appointment) at the Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. Reference archivists are available via email and phone to schedule archival research appointments. The following collections may be retrieved from storage and delivered to the Library of Congress by request:
  • DC Community Archives - All processed collections with finding aids are available by request. 
  • Washingtoniana Periodicals - All periodicals are available by request.
  • Yearbook Collection - All yearbooks are available by request.
  • Historic DC Regulations - Historic resources not duplicated at local law libraries will be available by request (coming soon!).
The Black Studies Center

A selection of titles from the Black Studies Center has been added to the DCPL circulating collection and will be available for checkout shortly. In addition to the Black Studies electronic databases, there are also Black Studies microfilm materials available at the Special Collections interim location at the Historical Society of Washington, DC. 

During the MLK Library modernization, the Black Studies Center collections are being cataloged in order to improve access. A re-imagined Black Studies Center will be included in the new MLK Library when it reopens in 2020. To learn more about updates and plans for the center, please sign up for our Special Collections newsletter


To access reference and photo collections, please complete this online form to schedule an appointment. Staff may be contacted by email at wash.dcpl@dc.gov (preferred) or by phone at 202-727-1213. Appointments are available Tuesday - Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and one Saturday per month. Ready reference materials (microfilm, books, vertical files, and atlases) may be accessed during walk-in hours, Tuesday - Friday, 2 - 4 p.m.

To access archival collections, periodicals, and yearbooks, please complete this online form to schedule an appointment. Staff may be contacted by email at archives.dcpl@dc.gov (preferred) or by phone at 202-727-2272. Appointments may be scheduled Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 - 4 p.m. Additional evening appointment blocks may be scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5 - 7:30 p.m. Please allow at least three business days for transporting collections to the Library of Congress. 


For legal, legislative, and government resources: 

University of the District of Columbia, Mason Law Library
4200 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
Reference: 202-274-6280
Info: 202-274-7310
Public visitors must sign in with photo ID. 
Open hours (subject to change): Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. -  6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 - 8 p.m.
Reference hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Howard University Law Library
2929 Van Ness St NW
Washington, DC 20009
Reference: 202-806-8208
Info: 202-806-8045
Public visitors may use materials within the library. 
Hours (subject to change): Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

For books, maps, periodicals and other resources related to Washingtoniana or Black Studies:

Library of Congress 
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20540
Info: 202-707-5000
Public visitors over age 16 must register for a Reader Card with photo ID. 
Local History and Genealogy Reference Center (Jefferson Building)
Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room (Madison Building)

George Washington University, Gelman Library Washingtoniana Center
2130 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
Info: 202-994-7549
Call in advance regarding public access. 

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