The Need

A cornerstone of the library’s mission is to welcome everyone.

City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera noted the Library is one of the few places people are treated with dignity and given access all without cost, no matter where they sit on the social ladder.” By definition, public libraries welcome everyone. That is a cornerstone of the Library’s mission. However, it is clear just offering free services is not enough to ensure equitable access. The Library and Library Foundation are taking intentional steps to make sure more people have physical and digital access to the library, that they know that the library is free and open to them, and that they feel comfortable using the library.

Libraries still hold the keys for marginalized communities who need space, resources, information, and shared experience.”

Library Solutions

Library Master Plan

A new Library Master Plan is critical for ensuring that future investments in the Library are targeted to the areas of most need and greatest impact. By identifying and addressing current inequities in the Library system, the new plan will provide a two-decade road map for the Library’s future that does not leave any community behind. It will be a blueprint for equity. The Library Foundation is spearheading this critical effort and has engaged nationally recognized library master planning consultants to develop the plan. The finalized plan will guide the Library in strategically and equitably implementing programs in the community, ensuring that services are tailored to the local needs of each neighborhood. Learn more.

Racial Literacy Training for Librarians and Welcoming Libraries

Providing racial literacy training to staff will build on the Library’s equitable foundation and equip Library staff with the knowledge, skills, awareness, and dispositions to talk about race and racism and apply an equity lens to all services and programs. The training will focus on building a framework for discussing youth literature that is diverse and inclusive and represents a wide range of multicultural perspectives. The Welcoming Library” program is a mobile, pop-up resource that prompts community conversations on immigration. It will include curated books with immigration themes and bilingual options, an online toolkit, book discussion questions, and thematic programming like multicultural fairs, language-learning programs, and programs for immigrants on how to start small businesses.


The Library Foundation’s advocacy efforts, in partnership with the Library Commission and Friends of the Library, ensure strong public support for Library services. In 2020, advocacy helped stave off an unprecedented $9 million in proposed cuts to the City’s Library budget, which would have required cutting Library hours, eliminating 240+ positions, and the permanent closure of a branch in a high-needs neighborhood. In 2021, Library advocates again mobilized hundreds of supporters to successfully restore a proposed ten percent cut to the Library budget and gain significant new investments in materials, programs, and staff training.

From our community

Libraries are our pathway to equity — they are spaces we go to learn and find inspiration, and I truly hope that can continue for future generations.”

Kristi Ehrig-Burgess, Head of the Library and Archives at Mengei International Museum

Recent social justice & equity work