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San Jose Public Library

San Jose State University (SJSU) and the San Jose Public Library (SJPL) joined forces to create the King library in downtown San Jose. It has a lot of accolades, largest west of the Missisipi, $170 million dollar price tag, one of a handful jointly run by both public and university systems, 12,000 visitors a day.

It’s an impressive building. I attended SJSU for Computer Engineering, so I’m familiar with the SJSU library books. I also visited the old downtown SJPL, so I was familiar with their books. When the new building was finished, I felt it was an amazing building, but it just seemed like a new building with a bunch of old books.

Today, they are continuing to struggle with finances for expanding the book collection. Many students who used to go to the student union to hang out are now in the library. Many people from the public are coming to enjoy the new library. A total of 12,000 visitors a day creates a very expensive staff to manage all the people. The SJSU and SJPL staff had wanted more money to go the books rather than employees. This is their biggest issue they are addressing today.

The retired dean, Sean Breivik had this final not to say about the library in an article posted on the library website

Finally, Breivik notes the potential impact on children and minorities and low-income adults who come to the library and are introduced to a college environment. “When you come in from the city side and look through the atrium,” she says, “you see the campus. What that’s saying to families where no one’s gone to college is: You can get a college education that’s only one step beyond your public library. To me, that is architecturally the most important message this building gives out.”

Many other institutions around the country are watching to see if this library is a success. Let’s hope that they can get the funding and the books needed. So far, local voting has been very favorable to approve funding for libraries, let’s hope it continues. I have a few books checked out and overdue. Aside from the taxes I pay, I’ll be contributing my $2.00 late fee.  smile

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