The Martin Luther King, Jr. Library: Joint-Use Library as an Urban Educational Corridor


  • Christina A. Peterson San Jose State University


Higher Education, Joint-use libraries, Educational Corridor


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is an unique and innovative joint-use library serving the public of the city of San Jose, California and the students and faculty of San Jose State University. It is the largest, all-new library west of the Mississippi, with nine public floors and a collection of over 1.5 million books, journals, and other materials. This article describes how this initiative began, how the planning process proceeded over the course of five years, and how participative planning contributed to the development of vision, mission, services, and collection configuration. Under the theme of lifelong learning, it shows how merging library services, collections, staff, and users contribute to the learning trajectory of both public library and academic library patrons. The library opens a door to the campus for parents of future students and secondary students wondering about college. It provides service learning opportunities for college students and faculty. The paper further describes partnership efforts in assessment, nonmerged aspects of the library, and questions for further study.