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The latest from the San Diego Public Library Foundation

November 18

Books are just part of the Library story. The Library’s impact is more than words and goes to the core of strengthening all San Diego communities. Your support of the San Diego Public Library Foundation helps San Diegans succeed in education, employment, and entrepreneurship and keeps our communities engaged and empowered.

This year, the Library and Library Foundation delivered on that mission in new ways. Our excellent Library staff has continued to provide essential and innovative educational services. Donor’s support of the Library Foundation helps make this possible.

Particularly important is how donors have helped the Library Foundation bridge the digital divide. Digital and technological inequity has been a problem for decades, not only in unequal access to computers or the Internet but also with some communities lacking access to quality science, technology, engineering, and math education. The Library’s NExT program addresses this by broadening access to STEAM education resources.

The pandemic shined a spotlight on San Diego’s long-standing inequities, hitting vulnerable communities more than others. And, in the process, widening the divide. The Library Foundation and Library are helping address these disparities by providing access to vital technology and information. Thank you to everyone who helped make this impact possible. You can support this work now by visiting SupportMyLibrary.org/matchmygift. As Library locations continue to reopen safely, the Library will play a critical role in San Diego’s recovery—as will your support. Thank you.

Visit HERE to read a report detailing their impact of donor’s support.

November 13

I joined with our LibrariesTransformSD partners to congratulate San Diego’s Mayor-elect Todd Gloria and the newly-elected City Council on their recent victories. This election season, the Library Foundation, Friends of the Library, and Library Commission met with each Council candidate to discuss the importance of Libraries. Together, we highlighted the continued relevance and success of Library programs, as well as our shared concerns regarding the potential for future budget reductions. We were thrilled and impressed by each individual’s commitment to supporting our Libraries.

In October, we held a conversation with Mayor-elect Gloria who shared a hopeful vision for the future of the Library in our City. In case you missed our live conversation, below are clips from the discussion with Mayor-elect Gloria. You can help advance our work by liking them, commenting, and sharing them with your social networks:

As Mayor-elect Gloria said, partnerships are key to the future of our Libraries. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Mayor-elect and the newly elected Council as we work through challenging budget times.

October 16

The Library Foundation sponsored online conversations with Mayoral candidates Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria in October, in collaboration with our LibrariesTransformSD partners the Friends of the Library and the Library Commission. I joined Wendy Ururshima-Conn of the Library Commission and Friends President Joan Reese to ask Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria about how they plan to fund Libraries, increase the materials budget, and support the development of a new Library Master Plan. You can see those conversations on the Library Foundation’s Youtube channel. We also recently completed meetings with all nine City Council candidates to share information on the LibrariesTransformSD coalition, our budget priorities and challenges, the role of the Library Foundation, and an introduction to the Library Master Plan.  

September 30

Thank you to all who attended our recent online webinar Values-Based Estate Planning: Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is! As we heard in the presentation, an estate plan involves more than financial and legal considerations. It also is about exploring your heart and identifying what you deeply value – family, community connection, favorite charities – and aligning your plan accordingly. An estate plan should consider not only obligations but also what excites you and will live on. Our staff put together a handy planned giving guide, Simple Options for Making a Lasting Impact, I hope is helpful. Also, you watch a reply of the webinar HERE. And, if you have any questions on including the Library Foundation in your estate plans, please contact Development Manager Kymberly Mueller at 619-238-6641 or kmueller@supportmylibrary.org.

To read more about how our current environment has impacted giving discussions, you can read my Alliance Magazine blog post.

September 8

The Library’s limited Library reopening continues with several locations busy with limited in-person service. Currently, the Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common and 11 branch libraries are open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed 1 to 2 p.m. for cleaning) Monday through Saturday. Those locations are open for hold pickups, limited use of the computer labs, and the ability to ask librarians questions. The Library Foundation is supporting the limited reopening efforts and taking part in efforts to bridge the digital divide in a citywide program called SD Access4All. We are providing Chromebooks that patrons can check out and use in the courtyards of four libraries (the Central Library, Skyline Hills, San Ysidro and Valencia Park/Malcolm X).  We also are working with Computers2Kids San Diego to provide free laptops to students who need them to participate in Library NExT programs, to learn to read through READ/San Diego, and to pursue a high school diploma through Career Online High School.

The Library Shop is now open for in-person, socially distanced browsing every Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The Shop, like the Central Library is closed from 1 to 2 p.m. for cleaning.) We’re limiting visits to 20 minutes and capacity of two customers at a time or one household/family. You can shop our complete inventory 24/7 at LibraryShopSD.org where we still offer a flat rate of $4.95 shipping and free local delivery!  And, through Halloween, the Library Shop will be outside a different Library branch every day with a giant Halloween-themed pop-up mural for kids and their families to pose in front of and take photos. The scene is inspired by the picture book She Wanted To Be Haunted by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. You can see the Library Shop author talk with Susie by visiting hereWe will provide each family with a free souvenir polaroid (touch-free, straight from the camera!). Plus, if you tag @libraryshopsd when you post your photos to social media using the hashtag #PicOrTreatSD we’ll enter you into a drawing for a $100 Library Shop Gift Card! A full schedule is available on the Shop’s w

August 14

With online learning the rule rather than the exception now, it is clear some students do not have access to the resources needed to participate. To address this problem, the Library Foundation, Library, and Computers 2 Kids San Diego are partnering to ensure students who want to take part in the Library NExT program have computers. The Library Foundation is funding 240 computers through Computers 2 Kids that will be made available to students (and their families) who want to enroll in Library NExT programs this fall but find a lack of a computer a barrier to participationLibrary staff are accepting applications to check the eligibility for students in need. The Library also will share free or reduced-price internet connection resources made available through the San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego County Board of Education.

I also am happy to report we surpassed our community challenge to encourage San Diegans to read 200,000 books and hours through the Summer Reading Program! The Library Foundation issued the challenge in partnership with Intuit and will be making a $10,000 donation to support Library programs. The Summer Reading Program launched on June 1 and runs through the end of August. Thank you to everyone who logged your reading. 

June 3

We’re happy to read the Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) recommended the return of Sunday and Monday Library hours based on all nine Council members asking for the return in their priority memos. This is in addition to the Mayor’s reinstatement of the Mountain View/Beckwourth Library in his revised proposed budget. In May, Mayor Faulconer recommended elimination of Sunday and Monday hours systemwide, the closure of the Mountain View/Beckwourth Library and elimination of 93 full-time equivalent positions. This $7 million cut in the Library’s budget was part of an effort to close what was at the time a $250 million deficit. Soon after, the projected city deficit grew another $50 million and there were concerns of further Library cuts. We worked with our LibrariesTransformSD partners to advocate for no further cuts, the return of the Mountain View/Beckwourth Library, and a return in hours. We thank the Mayor and Council for recognizing the essential role of the Library in San Diego communities and for their work to return the Library budget. We are asking advocates to write an email before the final vote on the FY21 city budget on June 8 to tell your City Council member to support full restoration of all library hours.

June 1

The Library has started contactless pickup of hold materials at select locations. Visit here for all the details.

May 27

The Library recently celebrated the 138 year anniversary of its founding. Today, the Library is facing another historic phase in which supporters are playing a central role. Though physically closed, the Library and its amazing staff continue to provide essential and innovative educational resources. As San Diego begins to recover and reopen, the Library will play a key role in helping communities get back to work and learning. I hope you take a moment to read this special report detailing the impact the Library and Foundation continue to make because of donor support.

May 18

With support from the Library Foundation, the Library continues to use a clean environment production facility on the fourth floor Innovation Lab at the Central Library to make 300 critically needed face shields each week. The Library has supplied equipment to Scripps Health, Kaiser Permanente, and workers and clients at Operation Shelter to Home at the San Diego Convention Center. And, upon the direction of Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Arturo González Cruz, the Library donated 1,000 face shields to Tijuana healthcare workers. These efforts are funded through support from Library Foundation donors. Visit here to support.

May 10

The Library Foundation continues to work with our partners the Friends of the Library and the Library Commission in the LibrariesTransformSD coalition to ask the Mayor and City Council to ensure the Library has the resources needed to help with San Diego’s recovery.  I have joined other Library advocates and testified on behalf of the Library at two recent city budget hearings. Another opportunity to make your voice heard is available tomorrow night (May 11) at 6 p.m. when the Council take public testimony.

Please consider calling to ask the Council for no additional cuts to the Library’s budget or writing an email to your Councilmember. When you write, please share these messages:

  • Libraries are part of San Diego’s essential infrastructure and provide equal access to free education and job-training opportunities. As we begin the recovery process, our most impacted communities will rely on their library for employment, education, and community resources.
  • To ensure the system has the tools and resources necessary to effectively serve the community, we believe it is essential there are no additional cuts to library hours, materials, and programming budget beyond the already proposed $7 million in reductions.

April 26

Thank you for helping the Library Foundation reach our Library Week giving goal twice! Library supporter response was so strong we raised our Library Week goal from $10,000 to $15,000 and exceeded that goal also. Thank you all and thank you to Library Trustee Ann McDonald for her generous match contribution! I’m so gratified by the impact your support allows the Library Foundation to have during these challenging times. Library staff continue to serve the public in creative and impactful ways. Your Library Foundation gifts allow us to:

Respond to the unprecedented demand for e-resources with a $20,000 donation to fund more e-book titles. These additional titles could not be more timely as visits to the eLibrary collections and databases have jumped more than 367 percent, the Library’s eBook and eAudiobook collection has grown to more than 98,000 items and librarians have answered more than 1,500 questions online.

Help Library staff produce critically-needed PPE by launching and funding a partnership to use Library 3D printers to produce 300 face shields each week for healthcare workers. In addition to helping bring Scripps Health, Kaiser Permanente, Francis Parker School, and Library staff together, the Library Foundation purchased three additional high volume 3D printers and supplies. Learn more HERE and HERE.

Advocate for library resources. Economic challenges presented by COVID-19 crisis had a catastrophic impact on the City of San Diego’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget. The Mayor’s proposed budget calls for slightly more than $7 million in Library cuts, or a 13 percent overall reduction in department resources. These cuts would mean elimination of Sunday and Monday hours at all 36 Library locations, elimination of 96 full-time equivalent positions (primarily through the elimination of hourly and vacant positions), the closure of the Mountain View/Beckwourth Library, and reduction of $200,000 for equipment, maintenance and repair services.

The Library Foundation is taking a leadership role in working with the Friends of the Library and Library Commission to help ensure the Library has resources needed to serve the public while they are forced to stay at home and to be ready to help San Diegans as the city recovers. Learn more about how you can help at LibrariesTransformSD.

Patrick Stewart, CEO

April 19

I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe. April 19 to 26 is National Library Week. This National Library Week, things are a bit different. Despite being physically closed, San Diego Libraries and staff continue providing essential serves in impactful and creative ways.

Your past Library Foundation support allowed us to invest in additional online resources and helped us foster and fund a partnership to produce needed protective equipment for local healthcare workers using Library 3D printers.

These efforts lend a special significance during National Library Week and April 23 Library Giving Day, a time to recognize the life-changing impact of our librarians and libraries.  I hope you’ll consider a Library Week donation by April 26 to show your library appreciation. We understand many Library supporters may not be able to participate now but want you to know a gift of any size helps serve the community now and strengthens our Library for the future.

We are looking to raise $10,000 and hope you will consider helping us meet this challenge. Your donation helps the Library Foundation respond to unprecedented demand for online resources. In the last month:

  • Online visits to the eLibrary page have exploded four-fold,
  • Requests for eBooks are up 50 percent, and
  • Use of services like Rosetta Stone and Gale online courses have grown more than 100 percent.

And, any online gift by April 26 qualifies you for one of three drawings for a $200 Southwest Airlines gift card (visit HERE for more details). Thank you for helping us stay strong now and into the future. Please stay healthy, stay home, and read.

April 17

Library staff now are available answer questions by phone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 619-236-5800 or a local branch. Reference questions or question about services or your account can also be submitted to weblibrary@sandiego.gov .

April 16

As anticipated, recent economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis have had a catastrophic impact on the City of San Diego’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget. Yesterday, the Mayor provided his Fiscal Year 2021 budget recommendations to close a projected $250 million dollar deficit. Read more HERE and HERE. The Library Foundation joins our advocacy partners the Friends of the Library and the Library Commission in commending the Mayor and city leaders for their leadership during a very difficult time.  

In total, slightly more than $7 million in proposed Library cuts have been recommended by the Mayor. This represents a 13% overall reduction in department resources. This will be an unprecedented budget cycle and services citywide will be impacted. The budget will continue to evolve with the May revision as deficit numbers become clearer and public input is considered.  

We are speaking with library staff to better understand the full impact of these reductions but do know they currently include:  

  • Elimination of Sunday and Monday hours at all 36 Library branch locations. All libraries are proposed to be on a five-day schedule Tuesday – Saturday.  
  • Elimination of more than 96 full-time-equivalent positions. These reductions are primarily associated with the hour reductions and include hourly employees and currently vacant positions.
  • Reduction of $200,000 for equipment installation, building material replacements, maintenance and repair services 

We are concerned b y the magnitude and impact of the proposed cuts. This means our involvement and advocacy will be more important than ever. It is our intention to keep you informed as this fluid process evolves. We invite all Library supporters to visit LibrariesTranformSD.org for updates and future suggestions on how you can become involved. We look forward to working with the community and the City of San Diego to build a strong future together.  

April 9

The Library Foundation is honored to have helped facilitate and fund a partnership that allows Library staff to use its 3D printers to provide much-needed safety equipment for healthcare workers. The partnership includes the Library Foundation, Scripps Health, Kaiser Permanente, the Francis Parker School, and our Library Director Misty Jones’s incredibly talented staff. With support from Library Foundation donors, we were able to fund the additional 3-D printers and materials needed to ensure that 300 PPE’s reach San Diego healthcare workers each week. See more about this effort HERE and HERE.

This project is just one example of how our libraries and librarians are an essential part of our community’s infrastructure. Now, more than ever, library e-resources are an essential lifeline for families schooling at home. We’re honored to be able to fund and support the expansion of that effort, ensuring broad access to educational tools. 

We are grateful to all of our partners who funded and equipped the IDEA Labs at the Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common and other branch locations – including the Legler Benbough and Copley Foundations. Thank you also to our technology funding partners for their support on this project. They, and so many other supporters, are an essential part of this creative partnership helping to ensure that hospital workers have the safety tools necessary to do the great work they do supporting all of us at this time.

April 3

Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced San Diego Public Libraries will remain closed indefinitely based on CA Department of Public Health and San Diego County’s Public Health Officer recommendations. Due dates on checked out materials have been extended to May 22. Library staff report a huge surge in use of e-resources and e-books. To help meet that demand, the Library Foundation recently sent the Library $20,000 for additional e-book titles. Thank you to Library Foundation donors for making that donation possible. Visit the  eLibrary to browse these valuable resources.

March 22

The Library Foundation helped Library Director Misty Jones produce an update highlighting top online resources in the  eLibrary, including Rosetta Stone, daily editions of top newspapers, instructor-led online courses, and health and wellness resources. Read that message here.

These resources require users to enter their Library card number.  San Diegans without a Library card can apply for a card here and use a temporary card number and password to login and access the eLibrary.

In recognition that many in the community do not have ready access to computers or the Internet, Library Foundation partners Computers 2 Kids, San Diego and Cox Communications have stepped up to help. Computers 2 Kids, San Diego (C2K) is dedicated to broadening access to computers and technology for all San Diego children and their families, regardless of their economic status. For those who qualify, C2K provides a desktop computer for $80 and laptops for $100 (Read more / Apply).   To help K-12 students without internet at home, Cox is offering 60 days of free internet for new participants of its Connect2Compete program. Cox is also offering a lower cost internet tier with no annual contract for those in need such as seniors and college students, and is relaxing data usage overage charges for all tiers (Read more).

Online resources like these are largely supported by private support. And, the Library Foundation, Friends of the Library and the Library Commission are advocating for more public investments in these valuable resources through the LibrariesTransformSD coalition.

You can support online Library resources here.

March 18

Thank you to all our supporters who continue to donate to the Library and Library Foundation during this especially important time. We are continuing to process donations to support important online Library resources and will contact you with an email acknowledgement shortly after your donation. We will send an acknowledgement letter as soon as we are able. Thank you.

How you can help with protection equipment

The San Diego Public Library and San Diego Public Library Foundation have received many generous offers of help as we work together to produce 3D printer-made masks and face shields for local health care workers!

The City of San Diego has received generous contributions from local businesses and residents to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Library and Library Foundation are not accepting materials or printers at this time. The best way you can help support San Diego Public Library efforts to 3D print personal protection equipment for local healthcare workers is by making a Library Foundation donation.

Additional resources, including N95 and surgical masks and examination gloves, are still greatly needed and the City is accepting donations of these items. Please visit the San Diego’s Get It Done donation page to learn more about how you can help ( all donations of materials must be routed through the City).

If you have your own technology and materials, you can print masks and face shields from home using these public source files:

If you are producing your own materials at home, please use the same Get It Done donation page (to coordinate with City officials.



Library Foundation CEO Patrick Stewart

March 17

Dear Library supporter,

As you may have heard, all 36 City of San Diego Libraries are closed to the public through Monday, April 6, 2020 and all programs and events systemwide have been postponed or canceled.

The Library Foundation is committed to supporting a literate and healthy community. We hope you’re staying healthy and taking steps to protect your family. We are supporting the steps the City and Library have taken to keep our citizens, patrons, and neighborhoods safe. Here at the Library Foundation, we are primarily working from home but are available to answer questions. Please email to office@supportmylibrary.org or call 619-238-6695 if we can help.

These closures magnify the Library’s impact in our communities. And while the Library system is physically closed, digital resources are available to the community. By visiting the eLibrary you can:

I will continue to update you as new information becomes available. In the coming days, we also will be providing other ways you can take advantage of online Library resources.

With gratitude,

Patrick Stewart
CEO, San Diego Public Library Foundation