Through partnerships with community members and local institutions, the Library Foundation SD has supported San Diego’s public library system for the past 20 years, raising key funding that has made our libraries an essential resource for our community to learn new skills, pursue lifelong ambitions and achieve better lives. Here, the Library Foundation SD shares how lifelong learning means healthier communities.
Can you talk about some of the challenges our community faces and how you’re working to overcome them?
Many San Diegans lack access to the resources they need, an issue that was exacerbated during the pandemic. To help with these disparities, libraries in every San Diego neighborhood offer free and broad access to valuable education and cultural work-readiness and technology resources. These library programs and services are life-changing.
The Library Foundation SD (Library Foundation) joins the San Diego Public Library System (Library) in taking intentional steps to make sure more people have physical and digital access to the library, all its resources and services, and ensures that they know that the libraries are free and open to them, and that they feel comfortable using libraries.
The Library Foundation focuses on programs that support social justice and equity, early childhood development, education and lifelong learning, digital learning and access, economic and workforce development and cultural and civic engagement.
Any partnership highlights you’d like to share?
The library is a central, unifying, safe community hub. It is the place where neighbors and community partners gather to work, collaborate and discuss issues important to them. The library works with thousands of community groups to provide a forum for discussion, education and enrichment that elevates our community.
The Library Foundation is honored to partner with the San Diego Workforce Partnership to help San Diegans of all ages explore areas of skill and interest and pursue opportunities in the job market. Our collaborative Family Career Exploration Days help people of all ages (we’ve had participants from ages seven to 70) explore their options in the workplace.
We have created a collaborative website with resources to help people find a job from both the Workforce Partnership and the Library. We are now working to cross-train library employees about the Workforce Partnership’s services and resources, and vice versa. This way, both organizations are working collaboratively so that together we can reach more people and more effectively achieve our missions.
Additionally, the Library Foundation works with Computers 2 Kids San Diego, National Conflict Resolution Center, the Friends of the San Diego Library and other groups to further the Library’s mission and increase the reach of these community partners.
What else do you want the community to know about the Library Foundation?
2022 is a special year for the Library Foundation, as we celebrate 20 years of bringing together funding and partnerships to help the Library continue its growth into a bold network that our community can continue to rely on to learn new skills, pursue lifelong ambitions and achieve a better life.
The 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 Library Foundation has raised more than $160 million in private funds to advocate on behalf of the Library and to augment and support Library programs, collections, expansion, resources and services.
Why is workforce development important to your organization’s mission?
The Library creates multiple access points for San Diegans to build thriving futures for themselves and their families. This results in more people with fulfilling careers, healthy finances and better social, health and economic outcomes.
The Library Foundation helps our community thrive through our support of the Library. We help people pursue opportunities and fulfill their dreams in school, in the community and in the workplace. Feeling fulfilled in one’s career is an important part of that work.
How can San Diegans get involved?
San Diegans can help by donating to the Library Foundation, advocating for their library and staying up to date on library issues they can share with their networks of friends, family and co-workers. They can also get involved by visiting their library and enjoying the library resources, programs and services!