Press Release

Board of Supervisors to Vote on Charter Amendment to Renew the Library Preservation Fund

With Mayor Breed & 11 members of the Board as co-sponsors, legislation that guarantees stable funding for the next 25 years to ensure key Library services poised to be on November ballot
July 19, 2022

San Francisco, CA — Today the Board of Supervisors will vote on a Charter Amendment to renew the San Francisco Public Library’s Preservation Fund (LPF), which supports library services and materials as well as operations of facilities and capital projects. If approved by the Board, it will appear on the November 8, 2022, ballot. Currently, all eleven members of the Board of Supervisors are supporting the Charter Amendment.

Since its adoption, the LPF has enabled the Library to expand its hours, collections and program efforts improving services to all San Francisco communities and to engage in capital renovation and construction projects throughout the Library system. The LPF is the San Francisco Public Library’s (SFPL) largest budget source, measuring 95% percent of its FY22 budget of $171.2 million.

“Our libraries are a critical part of our City and essential to the families, youth, and all San Franciscans who love to read and learn,” said Mayor Breed, who sponsored the ordinance. “With the full support of the charter amendment by our Board of Supervisors, voters will have a chance to vote yes on renewing the Library Preservation Fund this fall, creating more jobs and free community resources that will support residents as we continue to recover from this pandemic.”

“Our public libraries serve every neighborhood in San Francisco, providing needed services to seniors, families, and every San Franciscan with a love of learning,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safai. “Renewing the Library Preservation Fund is vital to protecting this community resource for future generations to have a welcoming public space for residents of all backgrounds.”

In 1994, the LPF was approved by more than 70% percent of San Francisco voters after a successful effort led by the nonprofit Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. The Fund is derived from a baseline budget equivalent to less than 2% percent of the City’s overall budget, plus a property tax set aside of $0.025 cents for each $100 in assessed valuation.

Last renewed in 2007 with 74% percent of the vote, the LPF is set to expire on June 30, 2023. The revised charter amendment reauthorizes the LPF for an additional 25 years, an increase from its current 15-year term. It also ensures that spending priorities for the annual set-aside and monies carried over from prior fiscal years include operations for the Main Library and 27 branch libraries.

These allocations are necessary to provide for library services and access to collections in multiple languages and in all formats in order to meet the current and changing needs of San Francisco’s diverse communities. Additionally, the charter amendment sets a new standard for weekly service hours, ensuring the Library’s doors are open 1,400 hours per week system-wide, a 16% percent increase from the current baseline.

“A world-class city deserves nothing less than a world-class public library system. I'm grateful for the strong support from Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors in their recognition of the importance of robust access to essential library services that help our residents live their best lives,” said Michael Lambert, City Librarian. “As one of the longest continuously running institutions in San Francisco, the renewal of the Library Preservation Fund will secure the future of the San Francisco Public Library and ensure our neighborhood libraries continue to meet the needs of San Franciscans for outstanding collections, enriching programs and exhibits, as well as inspiring public spaces staffed by passionate, mission-driven library workers." 

“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors, we are moving forward the opportunity to invest in the library, ensuring that every resident can benefit from our world-class library system,” said Marie Ciepiela, Executive Director of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. “Friends of the San Francisco Public Library is excited to work with the community to renew the LPF and extend the legacy of the library for generations to come.”