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San Jose State University, San Jose California
Pictured above is the campus of San Jose State University


Former San José Mayor Susan Hammer and San José State University President Robert Caret conceived the idea of a joint University/City Library in 1997
The King Library is the library for San José State University and the Main Branch of the City of San José Library System
The King Library is the third library on this site: San José Public Library 1901-1936, SJSU's Wahlquist Library 1961-2000, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library 2003-
Opened August 1, 2003
View a timeline of the project

Project cost: $177.5 million. Cost is shared by the State of California, the City of San José Redevelopment Authority, San José State University, and by private fundraising

The project began with the demolition of the old Wahlquist Library in April 2000; Library construction began in July 2000
View images of the construction
To move the materials into the new building from five separate libraries took:
4 months
8,000 book carts
200 feet of duct tape
2,902 feet of bubble wrap
154 cubic feet of Styrofoam "popcorn fill"
15 customized crates to move special artwork and statues

This is the largest library to be built at one time west of the Mississippi - Eight floors plus a mezzanine and lower level
475,000+ square feet
11 acres of space
The building has a capacity of 2 million volumes
5 public elevators, escalators to the 4th
3,600 seats (more than double the combined seating of previous library facilities)
over 1 million visitors served per year
The Library is free and open to all - no identification or proof of residency is needed to use or enjoy materials within the Library


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Combined University and City collections total more than 1.5 million items. If lined up, the items would stretch from the corner of 4th and San Fernando to the San Francisco Airport, 36.3 miles away.
For more information, see Collections in the King Library

Special Features

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Grand Reading Room
Morgridge Literacy Center
Brandenburg Browsing Library
Children's Exploration Room
Children's Storytelling Area
Children's Electronic Discovery Area
Friends of the Library Bookstore
Adaptive Technology Center

Teen Center
Seven-story atrium with skylight
On Fourth: a novel café
37 group study rooms
2 music listening rooms
8 special program and lecture rooms
30 public art installations throughout the building


Executive Architect - Carrier Johnson, San Diego, CA
Design Associate Architect - Gunnar Birkerts Architects, Bloomfield, MI
Local Associate Architect - Anderson Brulé Architects, San José, CA
Building Team

General Contractor - Hensel Phelps Construction Company
Construction Manager - Gilbane
Project Management - San José Redevelopment Agency and San José State University