San Francisco, CA — San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Prop F, the renewal of the Library Preservation Fund (LPF), which secures funding for San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) services and materials as well as operations of facilities and capital projects for the next 25 years. Last July, in addition to an endorsement from Mayor Breed, all eleven district supervisors signed on as co-sponsors to support the LPF renewal and voted unanimously to place it on the November ballot.
“San Franciscans once again show they truly love their libraries,” says Mayor London N. Breed. “Our libraries play a critical role in strengthening our City’s resiliency as community anchor points. With funding guaranteed for the next 25 years, the Library can focus on what it does best, inspiring a love of reading and learning, improving outcomes for our youth, supporting residents in their economic recovery through free educational programming, providing free and open access to information and Wi-Fi and safe, inviting spaces for residents to gather.”
Since its adoption, the LPF has enabled the Library to expand its hours, collections and programming improving services to all San Francisco communities and to engage in capital renovation and construction projects throughout the Library system. The LPF is SFPL’s largest budget source, measuring 99% percent of its FY23 budget of $185.7 million.
“Thanks to voters’ resounding support of Prop F, San Francisco will be able to maintain and expand our robust public library system. The passage of the Library Preservation Fund ensures that seniors, families and all San Franciscans can access reading materials and important services,” said Supervisor Safai, the lead Board co-sponsor. “When the Mayor and Board work together, we can accomplish wonderful things for our residents.”
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. Last renewed in 2007 with 74% percent of the vote, the LPF was set to expire on June 30, 2023. Yesterday, the proposition passed with 80% of the vote.
“This is an historic day. We are grateful to the voters of San Francisco for showing their love and support for the Library by renewing the Library Preservation Fund for the next 25 years,
stated City Librarian Michael Lambert. “I also want to thank the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library for their advocacy in leading the campaign that focused on the array of programs and services we provide all residents. The passage of Prop F affirms our careful and responsible stewardship of this Fund to ensure Library collections, services and facilities remain strong into the future.”
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.
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.
“With the renewal of the Library Preservation Fund, San Francisco shows how much a successful library needs its community of active supporters. We are grateful for the continuing partnerships between residents, the Library, the Mayor, and all those at City Hall who unified to keep resources accessible and free to everyone. We are truly a fortunate city,” stated Marie Ciepiela, executive director of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
“This extraordinary vote of support ensures that San Francisco Public Library—with its Main Library and 27 neighborhood branches—will remain a beacon for life-long learning and meaningful community engagement for generations to come. On behalf of the Commission, we thank our fellow neighbors for safeguarding the essential role that the Library plays as a source of knowledge, democracy and prosperity for our citizens,” added SFPL Commission President Connie Wolf.