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Libraries Lead the Way


Patrick Stewart, Library Foundation CEO


In challenging times, libraries lead the way and provide free, equitable access to resources that help people get back in the classroom, back to work, and back to learning. That is true nationwide and is particularly true in San Diego.

Recently, I joined with San Diego Public Library leaders to celebrate this crucial role of the Library and examine the impact of the Library, the Library Foundation, and our supporters.

At the Libraries Lead the Way event, City Librarian Misty Jones talked about the Library’s impact in a challenging year, including:

  • Circulating 3 million items (including 230,000 digital items).
  • Distributing 33,000 activity kits that allowed families to participate in library programs for young learners.
  • Collecting 225,000 ballots (or 70 percent of dropped-off ballots in San Diego County).
  • Conducing 1,600 Do Your Homework at the Library virtual tutoring sessions.
  • 22,000 new Library cards were issued.
  • Distributing 330 computers to patrons and students in the Library NExT and READ/San Diego adult literacy programs. Misty noted the Library Foundation’s role in funding these efforts to increase access to San Diegans experiencing barriers to learning.

I was happy to further dive into the Library’s impact with a discussion with Literacy Program Administrator for READ/San Diego Val Hardie, Youth & Engagement Coordinator Emily Derry, and Library Arts & Cultural Exhibitions Manager Bonnie Domingos. We spoke about their stories of impact, how COVID has impacted how they deliver services, how they approach literacy education for adult learners and young readers, and the Library’s role as a leader in cultural engagement. Follow the link below to watch that discussion.

I join Natalie Ganz, Bonnie Domingos, Misty Jones, Val Hardie, and Emily Derry to toast the coming new year. Click above or HERE to watch our conversation.

Emily Derry is the Youth and Engagement Coordinator at the San Diego Public Library and has been working with youth in libraries for 12 years. Her passion is providing educational and quality afterschool and summertime opportunities for children. She currently leads several citywide literacy programs including 1000 Books before Kindergarten and the Summer Reading Program.

Bonnie Domingos is an arts advocate and facilitator of the San Diego Public Library’s visual arts program. She directs the development, programming, and operations of the San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common’s Art Gallery and 16 branch locations. Bonnie has 15 years of experience working for museums, libraries, art agencies, and non-profit institutions. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts & Technology from CSUSM, and her M.A. in Library Information & Science from San Jose State University. She currently serves as art commissioner for the City of Oceanside. Her art interests include culturally relevant works that combine non-traditional materials with traditional practices.

Val Hardie serves as director of the San Diego Public Library’s innovative literacy program, READ/San Diego, nationally recognized by both the American Library Association and the U.S. Department of Education. Val has worked in many aspects of the literacy program since its inception in 1988 and was appointed Literacy Program Administrator in 2005. Val brings extensive knowledge of literacy program management, partnership development, and volunteer engagement.