Publication Date

Summer 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)


Library and Information Science


Kenneth Haycock

Subject Areas

Library Science


The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library is the largest library building west of the Mississippi River, and uses a rare joint library structure, merging the main San Jose Public Library and the library of San Jose State University. Both the decision to construct a new library, and the decision to merge two institutions, caused enormous controversy during the development and construction of the building from 1997 to 2003.

This thesis examines the nature of joint libraries, and why the city of San Jose and San Jose State University decided to pursue the joint library option. An unusual combination of geographic, economic, and political reasons persuaded both city and university authorities that the joint library option was the most appropriate model for the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library.