Martin Luther King Branch Library
By providing critical educational and social resources to the community, the Columbus Metropolitan Library Martin Luther King Branch uplifts and empowers the neighborhood it serves. Located in King-Lincoln Bronzeville— a historically African American neighborhood—the library is walkable from both the elementary and high schools, making it accessible to children and those without access to transportation.
Designed with the teachings of Dr. MLK in mind, the library operates as a service center, offering critical resources to children and their families such as after-school care and homework help programs. 39% of neighborhood residents do not have access to a stable internet connection, and 11% have no internet at all. The large computer room provides free internet access—a vital resource for the community to study, pay bills or search for jobs.
As the first branch library in the United States to be named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the design is a metaphorical response to the MLK monument in Washington D.C. that reads: “Out of a mountain of sorrow, a stone of hope.” In addition to honoring the work of Dr. King, the branch emphasizes African and African American history, heritage and culture by displaying a collection of art and artifacts throughout the space.
One year after its opening, the library saw a 55 percent increase in customer visits, a 40 percent increase in the checkout of children’s books, and more than 1,700 new library cards issued.