Magazine article American Libraries

San Jose's New Joint-Use Library Sets a Record

Magazine article American Libraries

San Jose's New Joint-Use Library Sets a Record

Article excerpt

After six-and-a-half years of planning, the first U.S. library to be funded, managed, and operated by both a city and a major university opened August 1 in San Jose, California. The new 475,000-square-foot Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library serves both the citizens of San Jose and the students, staff, and faculty of San Jose State University.

"When we opened the doors this morning, everyone was just thrilled," San Jose Public Library, Director Jane E. Light said in the August 2 San Francisco Chronicle. "And we're thrilled with the buzz."

SJSU officials said the new $177.5-million facility, located on the university's main campus, is "not only a model of creative partnerships and resource sharing, it is a model for libraries of the future." The library also debuted a new website (www.sjlibrary.org) that emphasizes the partnership.

The collaboration has met with opposition in the past, including a 1999 report by a state legislative analyst who called the proposal unnecessary and too costly (AL, Apr. 1999, p. 22), but SJSU Public Affairs Specialist Nancy L. Stake told American Libraries that quite a few libraries across the country are watching closely to see how successful the venture is. "We'll see how smoothly things go when students start classes," she added.

"It's a major experiment," California State Librarian Kevin Starr said in the August 8 San Jose Mercury News. "It has revolutionary implications for library organization in this country. It means the library as an institution is so important to a community that a number of elements can come together to support it. …

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