Purpose of this document

  1. To inform the tech/ent community of what the library can currently offer them
  2. To collaborate with the community to shape what the library could offer in the future
  3. To address frequently asked questions about library resources

Note: This document is temporary and may be removed once the library has a process setup for engaging meetup community.

Why is the library doing this?

There are several reasons.
  1. Enabling the design, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology communities is important for DC long-term economics and job growth.
  2. The nature of libraries are changing. In addition to serving as repositories of knowledge they are also becoming spaces for social interaction and collaboration.

What is the current plan?

  1. Gather meetup organizers of tech/entrepreneurship communities to make them aware of the opportunities and solicit their questions and feedback - April 9th, 2012 DONE!
    1. Questions that arose from that meeting can be seen in the FAQ Section
  2. Pilot test the library's facilities in order to (IN PROGRESS)
    1. Develop a process and a web form for engaging the community that is flexible
    2. Test the equipment to make sure it can handle the loads (like Wifi and staff)
  3. Hold a launch party where we attempt to fill up the library with meetups going on simultaneously.

What the library currently offers

  • The are currently several publicly available rooms that can be reserved online
  • Details and photos of rooms can be seen here
  • Rules for rooms can be seen here
  • In addition, there are two spaces that are currently available that may only be reserved if the program is part of a library partnership such as this program:
    • Great Hall, holds about 200 people and is the main lobby area you see when you walk into the library.
    • Business area, holds about 100-200 people
  • If you come through this program, as opposed to using the publicly available link above, you may request additional support for AV and meeting room setup.

How can you help?

  • You can provide feedback and suggestions here
  • You can refer meetups organizers to this wiki for information
  • You can volunteer to pilot a meetup. We are looking for meetups groups less than 100 people for pilot phase.
  • You can help identify resource constraints and funding sources for making the library a better meetup spot.
    • See FAQ on corporate sponsors/donors here

Frequently Asked Questions

So who do I contact to reserve a room?

During the pilot phase, please contact mlk.meetups@gmail.com. You will then be put in contact with a librarian.

Please provide info on the
  • Size of group
  • Room requested (see room details here)
  • Time requested
  • Requirement such as (dependent on room!)
    • AV
    • Tables/chairs

We are working on a process and form to make this easy to do in the future.

Wifi concerns. How many simultaneous connections can we have?

According to the Library's IT department there is no limit. The pilot event will test that assertion.

A/C sufficient to handle large number of people in a room, especially during the summer?

A/C can vary from room to room, for the most part rooms are comfortable.

A/V recording capabilities (beyond auditorium?) + PA systems

The Great Hall and A-5 (the auditorium) have built-in sound systems. For other areas it would be possible to request a microphone w/portable speakers. Recording would have to be done by the group itself.

Lighting issues in some of the rooms

Library staff can request lightbulbs replacement, but in some cases the ballast is faulty – this would likely be beyond our current budget to fix in the short term.

Being able to adjust lighting is helpful

The only rooms with the ability to adjust lighting are the ones that are enclosed (A5, A9, A10, 221) – the Great Hall and the Business Division space would have to stay as they are.

Many had concerns about “passing on” costs like food.

The answer from legal counsel: “the government does not allow individuals to sell on government property for profit” – so this question will need further exploration since these groups are obviously not profiting. We need to get more clarification on the whole question of tickets in general, since library events have to be free and open to the public.

Noise and distraction issues in Grand Hall area (not sure if that is fixable)

The Great Hall might be more suited to some meet ups than others – if it’s a presentation for example, it works well. For something smaller and more conversational, it's less ideal.

While most people were flexible enough to have their events on Monday/Tuesday several others had their events on other days of the week.

Extended hours are currently not available.

Several mentioned funneling donations (and manpower) they normally get for their meetups to the library for specific purposes.

The president of the Friends of MLK Library is excited to support this project. Donations can either go through the Friends or the Library Foundation, and can be earmarked for particular purposes, as long as the goals match those of the library.

Also how to bring corporate partners on board?

Corporate sponsors can have a presence at events, as long as they aren’t selling directly.