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By joining SMPLF's growing donor family, you will play a direct role in supporting the Library, enhancing its impact on our community and ensuring its long-term vitality

A gift to SMPLF advances children and teen programs, literacy programs, job seekers programs, the tech lending library, cultural program, and capital projects.


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.


The SMPLF and the Library work together in a strong partnership to determine where private support can have the greatest impact without supplanting the public’s role in funding a vibrant library system. Foundation funding provides critical support for Library programs that strengthen education and early literacy, enrich personal learning and recreation, foster economic and workforce development, and to enhance the image and identity of San Mateo and its surrounding neighborhoods.


We support these vital and dynamic Library Programs and Services:​

  • Collections

  • Project Read

  • Families for Literacy

  • Children’s Services & Collections

  • Genentech Foundation Biotechnology
    Learning Center

  • Franklin Templeton Investments Business
    Resource Center

  • Job Seekers

  • Arts & Cultural Programming


Because of your generosity, we will be able to add more mobile WiFi units and laptops to TLS circulation to directly address our community's Digital Divide.

And look for all kinds of new STEM devices and technologies to be added as well! Patrons will be able to check out cutting-edge robotics kits, musical instruments, digital recording devices, coding education tools, and more!


Project Read is the Library’s adult 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 participate and be successful in our community.


One of the Library’s most recognizable core services is the collection of materials it offers the community.


Last year, San Mateo Public Library patrons borrowed over 1,100,000 library titles. In addition to books, there are also magazines, compact discs, MP3’s, recorded books, DVD and even downloadable "e-books".  

The Library also offers streaming and online media services and multiple specialty research databases, all accessible for free with a library card.


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.


Other Children’s programs and services include Paws for Tales (where children improve their reading by reading aloud to therapy dogs), Bilingual English/Spanish Stories & Songs, parent presentations, and teacher resources.


The library's new electric Library Explorer van brings library programs to patrons "beyond the library's walls".


Look for "Mateo" at farmers markets, community centers and everywhere in San Mateo!


The San Mateo Public Library offers art exhibits, music programs, author lectures, and book discussions. 

Asian, Latino Iranian-American, Persian-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.

Biotechnology learning CENTER

The Genentech Foundation Biotechnology Learning Center is a unique learning environment focused on biotechnology, life sciences and health. It is in effect a specialized library within the Library, it is the only such center of its kind in the USA. Used by students, professionals and patients, it responds to the public’s interest in biotechnology from educational, corporate and end user perspective.

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.

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