Frequently Asked Questions about Washingtoniana

Frequently Asked Questions about Washingtoniana

Interim location at the University of the District of Columbia

Q: What is the DC Public Library's Washingtoniana Collection?
A:  Washingtoniana is a special collection that houses an array of resources and materials from the late 18th Century to the present, with a primary focus on local D.C. history. It is a reference collection, meaning the materials are not available for check out. Learn more about the collection at dclibrary.org/washingtoniana.

Q: Where is the interim location?
A: The interim location is in a store front at 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW on the campus of the University of the District of Columbia. The closest Metro stop is Van Ness-UDC on the red line.

Q: Is this location going to be permanent?
A:  No. The location is serving as the interim location during the MLK Library modernization. MLK Library is projected to re-open in Fall of 2020.

Q:  What are the hours of operation for Washingtoniana?
A:  Hours are mainly by appointment during the following times:

  • Tuesday & Thursday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday & Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • 1st and 3rd Saturday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Walk-in hours: Tuesday-Friday: 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Walk-in hours are offered to visitors who do not have a research appointment but wish to use collection materials. Library staff will work with visitors to determine research needs.

Q: What collections are available?
A: Washingtoniana has available collections stored on site and off site. The following items are available on site:

  • Evening Star Photo Collection -- All subject folders are accessible. 
  • D.C. Historical Image Collection -- Entire collection is accessible.
  • Vertical Files -- All subject files are accessible.
  • Book Collection -- A selection of non-circulating Washingtoniana books.
  • 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 following collections are available by request and are stored off site. An appointment must be made by phone or over e-mail at least three days in advance in order to view these materials: 

  • Evening Star Photo Collection -- Biographical folders must be requested in advance. 
  • D.C. Community Archives -- All processed collections with finding aids available by request.
  • Washingtoniana Periodicals -- All periodicals are available by request.
  • Yearbook Collection -- All yearbooks are available by request.

Q:  Can I still have items sent to the Library of Congress location or to the Peabody Room at the Georgetown Library?
A:  No, these two locations are no longer providing this service.

Q:  Can I have Library books sent to the Washingtoniana location for pick up?
A:  No, Washingtoniana does not have a circulating collection, and therefore, is not a holds pick up location. It provides research and archival reference services.

Q:  Can I bring my laptop or mobile device to Washingtoniana to use the free WiFi?
A:  There is no lounge seating at Washingtoniana. Seating is limited to customers who are using the research collection.

Q:  Can I use the Library’s wireless printing to print materials at Washingtoniana?
A:  No. Printing is limited to customers using the research materials.

Q:  Are there public computers or laptops at Washingtoniana?
A:  No. Washingtoniana has four microfilm reader computers. These computers also can be used by researchers to search the Library catalog and databases. The location does not have public computers for general use.

Q:  Will there be programs or special events at Washingtoniana?
A: Yes. Staff will conduct occasional special programs. Examples of possible events include:

  • House history workshops
  • “Know Your Neighborhood” lectures, seminars and tours
  • Collaborative D.C. music programming with the University of the District of Columbia
  • Hands-on research instruction for school groups
  • Community scanning and maker-space programs
Visit dclibrary.org/calendar to learn about upcoming events.