Friday, November 4, 2011

The Martin Luther King Library, Old and New


See the old library here
So friend of mine's been posting these pictures online, pictures that are shocking, pictures I really don't want to see. But, I look anyway. The pictures are of the slow, deliberate demolition of the building that once housed the Martin Luther King Library. I have to admit it is a strange building, and I suppose finding a new tenant would be difficult. It's not a building design that would lend itself to many different purposes. I do, however, feel kind of sad watching it go.

I don't remember having much of a love for reading as a child. I do, however, remember my mother tried to encourage meto read often. It doesn't mean that I didn't see a power, and potential in books. I knew something exciting was contained within books. But, whether it was my limited attention span, or maybe I was just hyper focused on something else, I never gave books or school much attention.

But, I did have a family that wanted me to read. I loved exploring bookshelves, and I did enjoy our trips to the library. My earliest recollections of childhood is included trips to this little library in our neighborhood on Pearl Avenue. It was small, but it had a wonderful section for young adults that incorporated books of science fiction and fantasy that I would find myself reading in the coming years. My other great love at the time was fantasy role-playing games, and we had a group that would meet there regularly to discuss and play various games. We even had the opportunity to get indignant when the librarians would ask us to be quiet.


The Martin Luther King Library, the main library, used to be located on San Carlos Street in downtown San Jose. This building was different then our Pearl Avenue library. It was huge. Even with my indifference to reading, I somehow felt there is something exciting about any place that can house that much information at one time. I feel that thought alone makes me an enormous geek, yet I refuse to backtrack or modify that statement. I have to say that the Martin Luther King Library looked a lot bigger probably because I was only about ten years old at the time, and the only frame of reference I had was the small library at Pearl Avenue.

Well, I've developed my passion for reading, and still I read very slowly. It is hard for me to get through books. Now at this time in my life I feel compelled to put this on line, if for no other reason than because people keep giving me lots and lots of books. My world is made greater for all of the knowledge that I acquired through reading, and I'm glad to be in a family that has encouraged me to develop this habit. I suppose it is for that reason that I should feel some small level of sadness watching them tear down the place I spent so many countless hours in my teenage years.

The new Martin Luther King Library is located about six blocks away from the old one. It was built as a collaboration between our local university and our city. Instead of the original three-story building, this new library has an enormous foyer, wide open spaces, and multiple desks with people to help you. It has at least six elevators to take people's from the basement floor, all the way to its eighth floor. It is truly a magnificent building. With this exciting, modern building, it becomes difficult to miss the old library for long. I'm still sad that they have to take it down.

Thank you for reading.

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