New Library Foundation receives its first grant

Selby Library is a popular destination in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel

The new Library Foundation for Sarasota County has received a $10,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to raise public awareness about the nine Sarasota County libraries and their value to the community, the foundation has announced.

The grant will launch a 12-month educational campaign, Twelve Great Things About Your Library of the Year, which has been designed to build on the Florida Library Association’s recent recognition of the Sarasota County Library System as the Library of the Year, a foundation news release notes.

The campaign is being planned in collaboration with the Sarasota County Library System and the Friends Alliance, a coalition of the Friends of the Library organizations, the news release adds.

The campaign will help to educate members of the community about the library system’s strengths as well as its current and future needs, the news release says. The Library Foundation “was launched last month to secure the future of Sarasota’s libraries,” the news release says.

Shannon Staub, president of the Library Foundation, says in the release, “We expect the Twelve Great Things campaign to raise the profile of Sarasota Libraries in the community and make the foundation a credible choice for philanthropic support. We are delighted that the Gulf Coast Community Foundation is our partner in this effort.”

Each month, a special resource of the library system will be showcased so county residents and seasonal visitors can learn “that the Sarasota County library today is so much more than books,” the news release says. The library’s databases and electronic resources will be featured, “along with resources for small businesses and job seekers, literacy initiatives for children and adults, educational programs for people of all ages and interests, and opportunities for civic engagement and public discourse,” the release says.

A nonprofit corporation, the Library Foundation will raise private funds to complement public tax support, increase public awareness of the importance of libraries and keep the county libraries operating with the most modern technologies and services, the release notes. Although the foundation is not officially a part of Sarasota County Government, it will work closely with the library system, the county’s Library Advisory Board and existing Friends’ groups at all nine county libraries, the release says.

“While the Friends raise money for individual libraries,” the release says, “the foundation will address big-picture, systemwide needs.”

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital.

For information about the Library Foundation for Sarasota County, or to make a donation, visit or call 228-6274.