Civic Group
Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries

Your amicable neighborhood nonprofit, supporting all things Santa Cruz library related since 1979.

Years of service: 41

Leadership: Martín Gómez, Interim Executive Director

Their story: Since 1979, the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries have supported the 10-branch Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL). They strive to create a culturally-enriched county through innovative programming that is accessible and diverse for all ages. Our support includes fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer services. They work directly with SCPL’s 10 neighborhood branches in Capitola, Scotts Valley, three in the City of Santa Cruz, and five more throughout the county. Each jurisdiction has its own vision and unique needs, therefore it is their role to provide specialized assistance to local branches as well as support for system-wide vitality. There are five branch specific FSCPL chapter organizations: Aptos, Capitola, Felton, La Selva Beach, and Scotts Valley. Our 21st century libraries are much more than a quiet place to read — they also serve as community centers where people of all ages with interests as diverse as 3D printing and poetry connect and learn every day. Contemporary libraries also meet the needs of local groups, from parents with preschoolers to veterans in need of essential services. The Friends support our libraries’ technical upgrades, facilities upgrades, branch-specific book and media collections, children’s literacy programs, tech labs, concerts, author talks, community reading programs, and more.

Fundraising focus: With remote learning in full swing, Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries has been drumming up donations to expand student and teacher access to electronic books — and to meet the community's increased demand for audiobooks, films, music and more. Another top priority: raising money to supplement the ambitious plan to renovate or replace all 10 neighborhood branch libraries, something that was made possible in 2016 when voters passed a $67 million bond. Thanks to that initiative, Felton welcomed its new branch in 2020, and Capitola is on track to have a rebuilt facility early next year. The Friends organization and its various chapters in Aptos, Capitola and other parts of the county provide funding to help ensure these new library branches will be fully equipped when they open.