Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest in the Public Library of the District of Columbia.
Is this necessary? We believe it is.
DC’s Public Library is a “semi-autonomous” entity governed by a Board of Library Trustees. It does not operate as most District agencies do, directly under the Executive branch and with oversight by the DC Council, even though the Library receives almost all its funding from the city’s budget.
The Library Trustees are not elected officials and are not strictly answerable to anyone. They are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Council for terms of five years, each term renewable once consecutively, with the result that Trustees often serve for ten years.
When the Library was established, it was thought that an educational institution should be removed from the press of political forces in order to protect the free flow of information and the spirit of academic inquiry. However, since the Library has never developed its own endowment or other sources of significant revenue, it is as subject to the city’s political fray as any other agency.
The Library Renaissance Project came into existence after the DC Public Library was allowed to fall into dire straights. Today we exist to help ensure that the public voice in matters pertaining to the Public Library will always be heard.