Stories of Impact
Your support of the Library Foundation helps San Diegans succeed in education, employment, and entrepreneurship and keeps our communities engaged and empowered. Below are stories of impact in these areas that your support makes possible.
Open and free to everyone, the Library is central to San Diego’s educational landscape with impactful programs for learners of all ages.
Kimberly credits the Library not only for fostering daughter Sati’s deep love of reading but also for helping her become a comfortable, confident and engaged five-year-old.
Sati’s health challenges led Kimberly to home school her daughter, with the Library providing Sati’s first school and community experiences. Kimberly’s family has regularly visited the Library since Sati was just one year old. The family participates in the Summer Reading Program every year and also threw themselves into the Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. At a fifth birthday celebrationl, held at storytime at the Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library, Sati completed her thousandth book.
The Library has been equally important to Sati’s social development. When Sati first visited storytime, she rarely left her mother’s lap. Over time, she’s become more comfortable and confident, building trusting relationships with her “Library family.” Kimberly appreciates the Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library staff’s role in getting Sati’s education off to a positive start, and for helping her grow into a community builder, developer, and socially-conscious advocate of learning.
“We are sincerely thankful for everything and every one the Library gives our family,” Kimberly says.
At the San Ysidro Library opening, Julieta Guzman speaks about why the Library is so important to her.
Libraries empower people to find the skills and information they need to succeed in school, the workplace and the community.
With the Library’s support, Sasha Horne’s future is bright. Starting in her sophomore year of high school, Sasha began participating in the Library’s Admit One College Prep Academy, which helps students embarking on the college admission process with free test preparation practice and advice from college admission experts. Participants learn essay writing and gain access to financial aid tips, college fairs, and more.
The Library has supported Sasha throughout her education. In elementary school, she participated in the Summer Reading Program and she received free homework help in the Do Your Homework @ the Library program. When she needed help with her Spanish language class, she got free tutoring at the Library. Sasha said this support helped her maintain good grades and score well on the PSAT and SAT exams. Sasha decided to attend Hofstra University in New York where she is pursuing a dual major in political science and economics. She is looking to intern at the United Nations and hopes to run for public office one day.
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The Library is taking the lead in gearing tomorrow’s workforce for success, helping San Diegans qualify for and secure high-paying jobs.
Oscar Acevedo knows he wants to be a software engineer and program his own video games. Someday he wants to start his own video game company.
Now a freshman at UC San Diego, Oscar is well on his way. He entered college with programming credits and a Java certificate under his belt, thanks to the Library. He also has tutored teens and completed a paid internship at a software engineering firm, experiences made possible through Library programs.
As a high school freshman, Oscar enrolled in an after-school robotics program at the Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to take a weekly Library programming class. By the end of the first year, he had programmed his own video game. He remained in the program for four years to prepare for the Java programming certificate exam.
“With the instructors’ help, you realize you can do it,” Oscar says. “And once you get it, you want to do it again and again.”
In his junior year, Oscar earned college credits by completing the Library’s NExT software engineering classes. He also began volunteering every weekend at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library, tutoring teens in the Legler Benbough IDEA Lab. “I was glad to share my experiences and motivate others,” he says. By his senior year, Oscar had secured a paid internship with a San Diego software firm where he would shadow engineers.
These experiences, Oscar says, made him not only a more competitive candidate when applying at UC San Diego, but also a better student and communicator. “I’m glad the Library helped me build on my love of video games to make it my focus in school, and what will be my career,” he says.
The Library gives entrepreneurs access to resources that are key to succeeding in today’s maker, gig, and sharing economies.
Jamar Williams credits the Library for helping get his business off the ground—literally. Originally working in banking, Jamar saw an untapped market for using drones to provide display advertising after he used one to produce a music video. He met Xavier Rodriguez, a retired Marine helicopter mechanic, and together they launched PromoDrone.
The duo first created rudimentary designs in Jamar’s garage and paid a 3D printing firm to produce parts, some of which cost $100 apiece. With costs becoming prohibitive, the duo was unsure how to move forward. They soon learned about the Library’s Innovation Lab which offers free 3D printing and scanning equipment, as well as expert staff. The pair spent several months in the Lab printing and testing parts. The staff helped troubleshoot printing problems and perfect their current design.
Jamar says the Library helped jump-start PromoDrone. The firm has expanded to use drones to capture images and video, broadcast high-definition live streams of events and use real-time video for event analytics. Today, Jamar and Xavier are busy with new clients and their business outlook is strong. “It all started here,” Jamar says of the Library’s Innovation Lab.
Libraries are an important “third place” for San Diegans to engage with their community, where neighbors gather to celebrate culture, hear great music, appreciate art, and discuss common issues.
At the lowest point in his life, Jeff Scarlett found support, a sense of “home,” and motivation to turn things around at the North Clairemont Branch Library.
After an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Jeff’s life spiraled when he became dependent on drugs after back surgery. He lost his job, his home and custody of his daughter. He contemplated suicide.
During these times, the North Clairemont Library was Jeff’s safe haven. “There was always someone to help me,” Jeff says. “People treat you like you are somebody. Here I was somebody.”
Jeff Scarlett’s story of Library impact.
Jeff used the computers daily to connect with his daughter in North Carolina. An avid reader of mysteries, Jeff read the branch’s entire collection and got a Library card to check out books and CDs. The Library staff’s support and respect were key in his rehabilitation.
Receiving his Library card was a turning point, Jeff says. The Library “trusting me to check out things meant the world to me.” It helped motivate him to enter rehab. In late 2018, Jeff celebrated four years of being off drugs, off the streets and back at work.
“Libraries are very important to every community,” Jeff says. “People are truly blessed to have libraries in their communities.”