The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is a unique partnership between San José State University and the City of San José. Envisioned initially by San José Mayor Susan Hammer and San José State University President Robert L. Caret, King Library serves as both San José State’s University Library and the City’s Main Library. The City Library Director and the University Library Dean “co-manage” the Library, which is governed by our Joint Library Operating Agreement.
King Library celebrated its grand opening on August 15, 2003. Read more about King Library’s history and the 2013 celebration of our 10-year anniversary in Carol Rosen’s Mercury News coverage of the event.
Quick Facts about the King Library Building:
- King Library has 9 floors totaling 475,000 square feet
- Houses 1.5 million volumes
- Seats over 3,500 patrons
- Receives 2 million visitors a year
- Offers 300 public access computers and 40 group study rooms
- Large meeting rooms are available for community reservation
- Provides free wi-fi throughout the building
- Displays 35 award-winning public works of art from Mel Chin designed to link to the library’s diverse collections and community
- The architects were Carrier Johnson (Executive Architects), Gunnar Birkerts (Design Associate Architects), and Anderson Brulé (Local Associate Architects)
- Hansel Phelps Construction, Inc. was the General Contractor
Quick Facts about the King Library Collections:
- All San José residents have access to the books in the academic collection of the SJSU Library
- SJSU students have access to the books, ebooks, movies, and music in the public library's collection at all 23 locations
- Books from the Academic or Public collection at the King Library can be delivered to library users at their local branch library
- Many of SJSU’s electronic databases, such as business databases, streaming video and music databases, can be accessed by anyone in the building.
- King Library has a special collection of materials on the 3rd floor relating to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. A bronze bust of Dr. King by acclaimed artist Sascha Schnittman can be seen in the lobby near the San Fernando Street entrance.
King Library’s Special Collections:
- The California Room
- SJSU Special Collections and Archives
- The Beethoven Center
- The Steinbeck Center
- The Cultural Heritage Center
King Library offers Drop-In Docent Tours every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Please make a reservation for groups over 10. King Library also offers Art Study Tours of Mel Chin’s award winning public art by reservation, and Armchair Tours, which can be provided at your retirement community or senior center upon request.