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Programs We Support

"Libraries are the heart of every community."
– Pamela Mills Casey

Our Programs

The San Mateo Public Library Foundation was founded in 1994 to raise funds to support the vital programs and services of the San Mateo Public Library. It creates a margin of excellence for our Library by building private support, enhancing visibility for the Library’s impact, and strengthening the public’s commitment to a great Library.

Funding Lifelong Learning

This is what the San Mateo Public Library Foundation is all about. The Foundation has provided funds to support a myriad of programs at the Library that has helped our community stay connected.

Our Library is working collaboratively with community and business organizations to ensure that we can face the challenges of this new century and continue to support our commitment to literacy education through these initiatives:

We support these vital and dynamic Library Programs and Services:


One of the Library’s most recognizable core services is the collection of materials it offers the community. Last year, over 980,000 library titles were borrowed. In addition to books, there are also magazines, compact discs, MP3’s, recorded books, DVD and even downloadable "e-books".

Project Read

Project Read is the Library’s literacy program, and teaches English reading, writing and communication skills. Project Read trains volunteer tutors to work one-on-one or in small groups teaching adults the skills they need to be successful in our community.

Project Read students set their own learning goals, and the program is carried out in an atmosphere of encouragement and security. Adults who have improved their literacy skills gain self-esteem and the skills to cope with everyday reading and writing tasks. They are more employable, can help their children with learning, are more informed voters, and are better able to participate in the community. Literacy links all aspects of our lives.

Families for Literacy

Families for Literacy (FFL) is a program that encourages Family Literacy by inviting families to participate in group learning activities. There are storytimes, crafts and projects. The children who attend FFL activities receive free books to take home.

According to Donya Sultani, Literacy Program Coordinator. "Children who have books at home are more likely to succeed in becoming readers and do well in school. Building a home library for families that would not otherwise be able to afford books fosters the love of reading and future success."

Children’s Services & Collections

One of many great joys at the Library is witnessing young readers register as first time card holders. In the years to come, these young readers will continue to visit the Library for StoryTime and select books from the Librarian’s Reading List. Other Children’s programs and services include Paws for Tales (where children improve their reading skills by reading aloud to therapy dogs), Bilingual English/Spanish Stories & Songs, crafts, cultural events, parent presentations, and teacher resources. All of these programs and services fill a vital role in our community and are the genesis of lifelong learning in young people’s lives.

Info Seekers

InfoSeekers is a collaborative program between the San Mateo-Foster City School District and the San Mateo Public Library. Geared to 4th and 5th graders, this free program assists students in evaluating, organizing and using information for school assigned research projects.

Students bring their research from school and from the first floor Children's Area of the Main Library to the InfoSeekers Resource Center, located on the 2nd Floor of the Main Library. With ten computer workstations available for use, students work with volunteers who guide them through the steps to complete the project.

Genentech Foundation Biotechnology Learning Center

The Genentech Foundation Biotechnology Learning Center is a unique learning environment focused on biotechnology, life sciences and health. It is designed to provide study and meeting spaces, high-speed technology, teaching equipment, job listings and display areas around a comprehensive collection of materials, including books, journals and databases. It includes a seminar room that converts to a classroom. A specialized library within the Library, it is the only such center of its kind in the United States. Used by students, professionals and patients, it responds to the public’s interest in biotechnology from educational, corporate and end user perspective.

The Library also offers our community a series of Biotechnology and Health lectures. These programs present our community with new insights and perspectives on current developments in the biotech industry and the ways in which this ever-evolving field is changing the way we approach health and medicine.

Franklin Templeton Investments Business Resource Center

The Franklin Templeton Investments Business Resource Center is a dynamic and important part of the services the Library brings to San Mateo and surrounding communities. Staffed with a full-time business librarian, the Center answers questions, solves problems, and researches issues for business owners, job seekers, residents, students, individual investors and other community members.

Job Seekers

Job Seekers is a service to assist Library customers with searching for jobs, applying for jobs online, writing resumes and general job search tips. Volunteers, some of whom have human resources experience, are available to help customers fill out online job applications, format resumes and conduct searches for online job openings.

Arts & Culture

The San Mateo Public Library offers art exhibits, music programs, author lectures, and book discussions. Some of the many renowned visionary and creative minds that have spoken or presented at the Library include award-winning author Dave Eggers, world-famous chef Martin Yan, and jazz musician and 2008 Beijing Olympics Official Songwriter, Keith Williams.

Asian, Latino Iranian-American and African-American Library Advisory Committees support our richly diverse geographic region with the goal to build community and promote inclusion through information, education and entertainment.

Donate Now to the San Mateo Library Foundation
San Mateo Public Library Foundation • 55 West Third Avenue • San Mateo, CA 94402 • Phone: 650-558-9100 • Email Us
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