Special Collections Interim Access & Services

Special Collections Interim Access & Services

During the MLK Library Modernization

Unique Washingtoniana collections and reference materialsthose not readily available at other local institutionsare 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. Please sign up for the Special Collections email list to receive announcements about interim services, events and new collections. 

Collections & Locations

Washingtoniana Reference & Photos
Washingtoniana reference services at the Newseum closed on June 29, 2018, and will reopen at an interim location, 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW, in Fall 2018. Email and phone reference requests will be suspended until we reopen in our new location. For immediate assistance with non-reference related questions, please call 202-727-1199.

In Fall 2018, Washingtoniana reference services will re-open and the following collections will be available for use: 
  • Evening Star Photo Collection - All subject folders are accessible onsite. Biographical folders must be requested in advance. Contact staff for more details.
  • DC Historical Image Collection - Entire collection is accessible. 
  • Vertical Files - All subject files are accessible. 
  • Book Collection - Washingtoniana books focusing on neighborhoods and 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 D.C. 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 D.C. marriage records (microfiche) are accessible.
The DC Punk Archive collections are now accessible by appointment in the Peabody Room at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library.

DC Community Archives and Periodicals
Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodicals Room
101 Independence Ave SE | Washington, D.C. 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:
  • D.C. 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 D.C.Regulations - Historic resources not duplicated at local law libraries will be available by request (coming soon!).
The Black Studies Center

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. Please sign up for the Special Collections email list for updates.


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, D.C. 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, D.C. 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, D.C. 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, D.C. 20052
Info: 202-994-7549
Call in advance regarding public access. 

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