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History & Mission

The San Diego Public Library Foundation was created in 2002 when a group of motivated and concerned community leaders joined to focus their energy and attention on providing private support to build an outstanding library system in San Diego.

Since then, the Foundation has raised more than $125 million in private funds to augment and support library programs, collections, expansion and services. Foundation support has been central to:

  • Completing the Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common
  • Building seven new library branches and improving existing branches
  • Expanding collections throughout the system
  • Providing Sunday hours at certain locations
  • Enhancing crucial programs such as the Summer Reading Program and establishing new programs, such as Library NExT
  • Working with the Friends of the Library to meet City Matching Fund goals for 13 consecutive years, providing millions of additional dollars in funding for books and resources

Mission, Vision & Values

Our Mission

The Library Foundation strengthens communities by supporting excellence in the San Diego Public Library system through philanthropy, advocacy and outreach.

Our Vision

The San Diego Public Library Foundation is a catalyst for creating stronger communities through investment in the San Diego Public Library system — where access to resources supporting literacy, work readiness and lifelong learning ensure equal opportunities for success. We raise funds, build collaborations and honor our patrons and donors.

Our Values

Access: Maximizing opportunities for all to access information, literacy, learning and technology.

Literacy: Literacy is essential: it empowers people to thrive.

Education: Promoting lifelong learning, personal discovery and opportunities for all.

Community: Engaging in relationship building with the community as participants, advocates and partners in philanthropy.

Accountability: Being responsible stewards of the public trust and the resources that are provided to us.

Innovation: Libraries are evolving, growing entities. We are leaders in creative, collaborative thinking and action.


Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018

In June 2015, the Library Foundation’s Board of Trustees adopted a strategic plan outlining the organization’s strategic initiatives and top funding priorities. See the plan here.

Strategic Initiatives

Financial Stability: Develop strong and secure financial stability to ensure the long-term success of the Foundation and its mission.

Stakeholder Relations: Value all relationships of the Library Foundation through ongoing outreach, involvement, education, collaboration and advocacy.

Institutional Development: Ensure board and staff leadership demonstrates necessary skills and competencies to guarantee the Foundation’s longterm sustainability.

Top Funding Priorities

Invest in New Readers.

Create Vibrant Cultural and Civic Centers.

Ensure Academic and Career Success.

Develop the Virtual Library.