Code of the District of Columbia

§ 39–101. Public library established; Mayor authorized to accept gifts.

A free public library is hereby established and shall be maintained in the District of Columbia which shall be the property of the said District and a supplement of the public educational system of said District. Said library shall consist of a central library and such number of branch libraries so located and so supported as to furnish books and other printed matter and information service convenient to the homes and offices of all residents of the said District. All actions relating to such library, or for the recovery of any penalties lawfully established in relation thereto, shall be brought in the name of the District of Columbia; and the Mayor of said District is further authorized to receive, as component parts of said library, collections of books and other publications that may be transferred to him.


(June 3, 1896, 29 Stat. 244, ch. 315, § 1; Apr. 1, 1926, 44 Stat. 229, ch. 98,§ 1; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-268, § 5(a), 54 DCR 833; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 160(b), 56 DCR 1117.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 37-101.

1973 Ed., § 37-101.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 39-102.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-268, in the third sentence, deleted the phrase “and the Mayor of the said District is authorized on behalf of said District to accept and take title to all gifts, bequests, and devises for the purpose of aiding in the maintenance or endowment of said library” following “District of Columbia”.

D.C. Law 17-353 substituted “District of Columbia which” for “District of Columbia, which”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) facility planning and construction for public libraries provisions, see §§ 4042, 4044, of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-486, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8236).

For temporary (90 day) maximization of federal and private grants provisions, see § 4052 of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-486, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8236).

For temporary (90 day) facility planning and construction for public libraries provisions, see §§ 4042, 4044, of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-594, October 26, 2004, 51 DCR 11725).

For temporary (90 day) maximization of federal and private grants provisions, see § 4052 of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-594, October 26, 2004, 51 DCR 11725).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2 of Library Kiosk Services Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-8, January 29, 2009, 56 DCR

Temporary Legislation

Section 2 of D.C. Law 18-3 added a section to read as follows: “Sec. 2. Library closing plan.

“(a) The Board of Library Trustees and the District of Columbia Public Library shall submit a library closing plan (‘plan’) to the Council, for a 45-day period of review, prior to the closing of current library services at R.L. Christian Library, located at 1300 H Street, N.E., in Ward 6, and Langston Library, located at 2600 Benning Road, N.E., in Ward 5.

“(b) The 45-day period of review shall exclude Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the plan by resolution, after a public hearing, within the 45-day review period, the proposed plan shall be deemed approved.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-3 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Short Title

Short title of subtitle C of title IV of Law 15-205: Section 4041 of D.C. 15-205 provided that subtitle C of title IV of the act may be cited as the District of Columbia Public Library Facilities Amendment Act of 2004.

Short title of subtitle D of title IV of Law 15-205: Section 4051 of D.C. 15-205 provided that subtitle D of title IV of the act may be cited as the Maximize Collections of Federal and Private Grants Act of 2004.

Editor's Notes

Sections 4042 and 4044 of D.C. Law 15-205 provided:

“Sec. 4042. Facility Planning and Construction for Public Libraries.

“Facilities planning for the Georgetown, Petworth, Southeast, Mount Pleasant and Francis Gregory Libraries shall occur in fiscal year 2005 through the cooperation of the District of Columbia Public Libraries, the Office of Property Management and the Department of Recreation. Facilities planning shall incorporate considerations of literacy activities at existing libraries and recreation centers.

“Sec. 4044. Effective date.

“This subtitle subtitle C of title IV of D.C. Law 15-205 shall be effective October 1, 2005.”

Maximization of Federal and Private Grant Acquisition. Section 4052 of D.C. Law 15-205 provided: “To support the effective use of local dollars, the District of Columbia Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Charter Schools, the University of the District of Columbia, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the District of Columbia Public Library shall each provide a detailed plan for maximizing the federal and private grants received by the agencies and provide a report to the Council of their efforts to pursue grants and maximize those opportunities by November 1, 2004.”

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.