The old MLK Library, set amidst the towering Marriot Hotel, Hilton Hotel, and San Jose McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose, is being torn down to make way for a much needed convention center expansion. Built in 1970 by local architect Norton Curtis, the Brutalist building was never very visitor friendly. The huge concrete front was surrounded by a moat that put most of the windows and natural sunlight below street level. And the poorly designed interior space with its high ceilings and large escalators offered little room for actual books. The old library was replaced in 2003 by a sparkling new, user-friendly, modern high-rise building on the San Jose State University campus in downtown San Jose. The new library houses over 1.5 million volumes on 10 levels. There are 40 group study rooms, 300 public access computers, seating for 3500, wifi throughout the building, and 35 works of public art. Team San Jose CEO Bill Sherry led one last “ghost tour” of the old building last Monday before a demolition team starts dismantling the interior. The new library offers one hour docent-led tours every Thursday morning and includes discussions about the building’s design, sustainable features, collections and art. The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is located in downtown San Jose at 150 E. San Fernando Street, on the corner of S. 4th Street, one block east of The 88 high-rise residential complex. Visit www.sjlibrary.org for hours and visitor information.

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