The Seattle Public Library Foundation 


Donors to the Foundation invest in ensuring the long-term vitality of The Seattle Public Library.  The Foundation helps the Library build its collection and resources, offer programs for patrons of all ages, and better serve the needs of our community. 

Since The Seattle Public Library Foundation was founded in 1980, it has raised and invested more than $125 million in our city’s library system—in collections, programs and facilities such as a magnificent Central Library and 26 neighborhood branches.
By making a donation today, your gift will help purchase Library materials such as books, ebooks, online resources, CDs, DVDs, and picture books for children. The Foundation also funds thousands of free public programs, technology, and outreach services that help everyone in our community improve their lives.

Mission Statement
The Seattle Public Library's mission is to bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. The Seattle Public Library Foundation helps the Library build its collection and resources, offer programs for patrons of all ages, and better serve the needs of our community. We do this by securing and managing donations from individuals, businesses and foundations to support the Library above and beyond what public funding provides.
Donate Now
The Seattle Public Library Foundation
1000 4th Ave 
(206) 386-4130 

Jonna Ward 
Executive Director 


The Seattle Public Library Foundation Programs

Donations to the Foundation help the Library build its collection, raise a new generation of readers, improve Library facilities, and reach out to those that need access to information.

Here’s how donations to The Seattle Public Library Foundation in 2014 were used:

Purchase more Library resources. In 2014, the Foundation provided $1.3 million to purchase Library resources including books, e-books, periodicals, CDs, DVDs, public computers and online databases. Last year 15% of the Library’s collection—about one of every six books on the shelf—was purchased with Foundation funding.

Sponsor programs for children, teens, adults and those with special needs. Last year, the Foundation supplied $1.5 million to support free public programs at the Central Library and in the branches. These programs include early literacy activities for pre-school children, the Summer Reading Program, homework help for students and public presentations by leading authors, scholars and artists. Last year, more than 307,200 people attended 9,800 free public programs offered at the Library.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Recently The Seattle Public Library and Foundation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Global Reading Challenge.  This popular program reaches 4th and 5th grade Seattle Public School students and challenges them to read 10 books, form teams, and participate in a quiz-bowl-style competition.  It encourages the in-depth, independent reading habits that are crucial to academic success. 

Started in 1995 with three schools, the Global Reading Challenge has now grown to include 54 public elementary schools. Many schools now incorporate the Global Reading Challenge into their classroom reading activities and involve all of their fourth- and fifth-grade students.The Global Reading Challenge goals are to:
  • Motivate children to read.
  • Ensure the participation of children with lower reading scores throughout the city.
  • Increase teamwork and cooperative thinking skills.
  • Build strong relationships between The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Public Schools.
  • Share quality children’s literature that represents a diversity of experiences at a variety of reading levels.
It is entirely supported by private funding from The Seattle Public Library Foundation. Funds are needed to purchase sets of the 10 books for the school teams.


The Seattle Public Library Foundation provides funding for programs that better serve the needs of the community—providing programs that reach out to and provide services for those most in need of library resources.

Best Practices
The Seattle Public Library recognizes the need to support job seekers during the current economic environment. Many turn to the library for help in finding a job as well as exploring new careers and educational opportunities.

In July 2009, the Library established a Job Resource Center at the Central Library, which contains a bank of computers dedicated for use by job seekers with a longer log-on time limit. It purchased more books and resources (on line and on the shelf) for job seekers, and offers free job prep classes and special staff assistance at the dedicated computer terminals.

The Library has added resources such as Resume Builder to its suite of online databases for job seekers and will be expanding online resources with the help of a Washington State Library grant in 2010.

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with WorkSource and South Seattle Community College to offer resume and job search workshops at the Central Library.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

6/10/2012 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2010 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/15/2005 $20,000.00support construction of a new library branch in South Park.


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