Founders Library

photo by: Library of Congress

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

Howard University's Founders Library

  • Constructed: 1939
  • Architect: Albert I. Cassell
  • Location: Washington, DC

Overlooking the nation’s capital sits Howard University’s Founders Library. From its grand reading rooms to its iconic bell tower, Founders Library has been a central meeting place for higher learning and social activism for more than 75 years.

The National Trust is committed to working with Howard University to reimagine Founders Library as a space for intellectual and cultural exchange while preserving its architectural heritage and sharing its story with the world.

Like other universities across the country, Howard is moving away from the traditional model for academic research facilities that often leaves libraries obsolete and is reimagining Founders as a dynamic 21st-century learning lab. We are working closely with the university to ensure the desired upgrades create more versatile work spaces and honors its distinctive character.

In addition to our efforts to help revive Founders Library, the National Trust recognizes the importance of conserving the Moorland-Spingarn collection and other artifacts, which comprise one of the world’s largest catalogues of the black experience.

Campaign Goals

  • Assist the university with technical advice for adapting and restoring the historic library for new educational uses.
  • Assist the university with technical advice for the use of federal historic rehabilitation and new market tax credits to help fund the project.
  • Support the university's efforts by publicly endorsing and promoting the project.


Howard University adopts a transformative plan to reimagine Founders Library while preserving the landmark library building.

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