February 17, 2018

Hardy Franklin, Ex-DCPL Head, Dies at 75

By LJ Staff

Hardy R. Franklin, the former director of the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL), died on Aug. 21. He was 75. Franklin retired in 1997 after serving nearly 23 years as DCPL director, quadrupling the library’s holdings. Franklin earned his MLS from Atlanta University and doctorate from Rutgers University. He worked at the Brooklyn Public Library from 1956-68, rising to senior community coordinator, serving in a well-known outreach program along with Major Owens, now a member of the House of Representatives from Brooklyn. He taught at Queens College before moving to Washington.

During his administration, DCPL introduced several important programs for children; introduced automation; extended (in pre-Internet days) the library’s online catalog terminals to both public high school libraries and the library of the University of the District of Columbia; established community libraries in unserved neighborhoods; and developed a Community Information Service, among other achievements. Franklin, who attended Morehouse College and befriended classmate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., commissioned the King Mural for the main lobby of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. He attracted notables such as Rosa Parks, Vernon Jordan, and Dorothy Height as recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award. Franklin served as American Library Association (ALA) president in 1993 – 1994. He received the Public Library Association’s Allie Beth Martin Award.