An initial gift in 1903 from New York philanthropist Andrew Carnegie brought a free public library to a city isolated from the outside world by the great expanse of Texas. While the City of San Antonio expanded the public library system and staffed it through the years, public funding alone was not sufficient to keep pace with the needs of a growing population and to meet the Library’s long-term needs. The San Antonio Public Library Foundation (SAPLF) was established as a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization in 1983 by local business and civic leaders to augment the San Antonio Public Library’s budget with support from several sources including individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations.
To date, the SAPLF has contributed more than $35 million to improve our public libraries. The Foundation’s constant advocacy and public-awareness efforts have played a role in increases to the Library’s city-funded budgets - resulting in branch expansions, extended operational hours, and a boost in materials budgets. The Library Foundation supports a wide range of the Public Library programs targeted to all ages, with new programming introduced regularly to meet the growing and changing needs of the community.