This Saturday at the Library: Michael W. Twitty, Tyler Gordon, 123 Andrés, Black Alley, Step Afrika! and Bela Dona

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This Saturday at the Library: Michael W. Twitty, Tyler Gordon, 123 Andrés, Black Alley, Step Afrika! and Bela Dona

Reopening events start at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library with more than 12 hours of programs

Last year, the District marked completing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s $211 modernization with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the public was not able to attend the event. One year later, the DC Public Library wants to give District residents and Library customers the celebration they deserve. 

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Library is kicking off a season of reopening events at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library by hosting more than 12 hours of programs, performances and tours of the District’s flagship library. 

"A year ago, despite an exciting ribbon-cutting, access to the beautifully modernized and expanded Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library was severely limited," said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library. "Now at the first anniversary of its reopening, the building is fully open and services are being offered on all six floors. We are excited to welcome residents back. The MLK Library is new, it is safe, it is open seven days per week, and it is yours. We look forward to seeing you here on Saturday and often thereafter."

The events begin with an outdoor family festival that runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will include fun activities for children and a talk by James Beard Award winner Michael W. Twitty, author of “The Cooking Gene'' and “Rice.” Twitty will read selected writings and talk about his work exploring the culinary traditions of Africa, African-Americans and the African Diaspora. Rounding out the festival will be performances by Step Afrika!, 123 Andrés and the Go-Go band Bela Dona. 

In the afternoon, teen-artist Tyler Gordon will discuss his debut book “We Can: Portraits of Power” and his art process as part of the 2nd Annual Know Your Power Teen Arts Contest Award Ceremony. Organized in collaboration with The DC Public Library Foundation and Pepco, Know Your Power inspires teens to think beyond the traditional notion of power and explore how they can use their art to have a positive impact on their communities and the world. The Tyler Gordon author talk is held in partnership with Politics and Prose Bookstore. 

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will be one of four District libraries participating in Art All Night. As part of the District’s free overnight arts festival, the Loggia in front of the building will become "The People's Lounge" with artists displays, music by DJ Kool, Deejay LIFE and Open Mic poetry performances starting at 9 p.m. The Labs will host a screening of the documentary film “Go-Go City” followed by a discussion with filmmaker Sam George and musician Ricky "Rocksteady" Brown who is featured in the film will take place in the Labs. Lastly, DC’s own Black Alley will close out the night with a live outdoor performance. 

A full list of events can be found at dclibrary.org/mlkreopening. As the reopening season continues, more events will be added. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is located at 901 G St. NW near the Metro Center and Gallery Place Metro stations. Masks are required as part of the District’s mandate while inside the building. Select events will also be streamed on the Library’s social media platforms.