Facts and Awards

Facts and Awards

About the Library

San José Public Library (SJPL), located in Silicon Valley, is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Serving a culturally diverse population of nearly 1 million in the country's 13th largest city, SJPL is one of the busiest library systems nationwide with an annual checkout rate of nearly 7.5 million items. Award-winning staff strive to ensure library services reflect the city’s rich diversity and that every library customer’s experience is exceptional. SJPL is recognized for its innovation and leadership. It was named the 2004 Thomson Gale/Library Journal Library of the Year and received the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for a library.

Primary Address:

San José Public Library
150 E. San Fernando St.
San José, CA 95112
Contact Us

Quick Statistics (FY 2022/2023)

  • Population Served: 959,256
  • Visitors: 2,878,710
  • Web Visits: 2,241,085
  • Facilities: 25
  • Staff: 584
  • Library Card Members: 667,266
  • Operating Budget: $66,089,856
  • Costs Per Capita: $68.90
  • Items in Collection: 2,407,822
  • Languages in Collection: 91
  • Items Loaned: 7,509,391
  • Digital Downloads: 1,781,233
  • Computer Reservations: 215,999
  • Study Room Bookings: 21,286
  • Library Questions Answered: 322,143
  • Homework Sessions: 740
  • Homework Hours Logged: 1,654
  • Total Events and Programs: 12,264
  • Event and Program Attendees: 243,900
  • Total Volunteers: 1,379
  • Volunteered Hours: 34,019
SJPL and SJSU employees celebrate the 15th anniversary of the King Library.


The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and the San José Public Library system have received much recognition, including:

  • 2023 John Cotton Dana Award, for “Sundaes on Sunday”, library public relations, from the American Library Association
  • 2023 PRExcellence Award, for Sundaes on Sunday! New Hours, Campaign Category, from California Library Association
  • 2021 ULC Innovation, for Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) Caregiver Support Network program, from Urban Libraries Council
  • 2019 ULC Innovation, for SJ Sharks Partnership, Communicating the Library's Value Category, from Urban Libraries Council
  • 2019 PRExcellence Award, for Coding5K, Campaign Category, from California Library Association
  • 2018 Library Public Relations Award, for 2-Step Fine Forgiveness Program, from John Cotton Dana
  • 2017 PRExcellence Award, for TeenHQ, Campaign Category, from California Library Association
  • 2017 PRExcellence Award, for Maker[Space]Ship, Print Category, from California Library Association
  • 2017 Library Public Relations Award, for TeenHQ, from John Cotton Dana
  • 2016 RUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services, for the Virtual Privacy Lab, from the American Library Association's Reference and User Services Association
  • 2016 Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award, for the Virtual Privacy Lab, from the California Library Association
  • 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service
  • 2005 James C Howland Gold Prize for Municipal Enrichment from the National League of Cities
  • Savings by Design Award from PG&E for energy-efficient design
  • 2004 Honorable Mention from the American Institute of Architects, Santa Clara Valley Chapter (AIASCV)
  • 2004 Circle of Excellence Silver Award from the Council for Advancement & Support for Education (CASE)
  • 2004 Helen Putnam Award of Excellence from the League of California Cities
  • 2004 Library of the Year from Thomson Gale/Library Journal

Library History

A "San José library" was first formed in 1872. In 1903, the library moved to a dedicated facility in the form of a Carnegie building on Fourth and San Fernando Streets – the same location as the current King Library. The first branch, East San José Carnegie was acquired in 1911. Additional branches were built through public funding or acquired through city annexation throughout the latter half of the century. See a timeline of Library history.

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