The Library Foundation is committed to library excellence by delivering several programs promoting early learning to lifelong learning, providing resources for job training and life skills, encouraging families through interaction, and gathering our neighbors together for entertaining. Libraries can change, even transform lives! North Texas Giving Day is great way to support the FWPLF’s mission to serve the community through special library programs.
The Foundation celebrated its 20th Anniversary of supporting the Library in April 2013. The Fort Worth Public Library Foundation has provided more than $9,000,000 in private funding to benefit the Fort Worth Library system. This public-private partnership has completed many significant infrastructure projects with the support of our donors. These include the Central Library Expansion Project to address structural flaws of more than 100 leaks in the existing facility which endangered materials, helping fund the Library’s first Master Plan, funding the Library’s inventory system, improving the library’s materials, supporting renovation of Northside Branch, providing funding to complete Northwest Branch, and updating the Central Library Gallery Complex with new acoustics, lighting, furnishings, paint, and refinished flooring. In 2014, renovations were made to the youth area in every location. 2015 featured the completion of The Sid W. Richardson Discovery Theatre renovation at the Central Library which offers distance learning programming while Fast Track to Reading is a racing themed area promoting family reading.
Educational programming has been a longtime focus of the Foundation’s mission. The Foundation initiated the Children’s Author Series in 1997. The series brings together young children with working authors to learn how they create their stories which inspires young minds to read and write. More than 44,000 schoolchildren have enjoyed a free live author presentation in a library or school.
In 2008, the Foundation designed and implemented Priority Literacy in the northern branches of the Fort Worth Library. The free one-to-one tutoring program provides adult students with individualized assistance in learning four vital language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. 30 pairs of volunteer tutors and students work together in Library locations. Funding for this program ended in 2017.
The Launch Pad College Application program was initiated in 2009 as a free program to put the universe of college education within grasp through a broad array of college application services presented in public schools and seminars offered at the Library. In 2016-17, the program coordinator helped more than 1,600 students with various parts of the process and 178 students through the yearlong comprehensive process to gain college acceptance resulting in multiple college acceptances and $3.4 million in merit scholarships. A presentation to senior English teachers in the Fort Worth Independent School District resulted in counseling opportunities with nearly every senior and junior student in several high schools representing a wide variety of populations, including Arlington Heights, Eastern Hills, North Side, Paschal, Southwest, Trimble Tech and the Texas Academy of Biological Sciences, a specialty program of the FWISD.
In 2014, generous donor seed funding implemented a family reading program. Focused on families with children ages 6-10, 25 families pre-registered for the 6 week pilot which included a healthy snack and reading as a group, followed by a guided discussion with humanities themes such as fairness, determination, respect and others. Observations such as attendance, participant enthusiasm and increased familiarity with library offerings showed the success of the program with average attendance of 44 participants in 2014-15. Expansion of Families Reading Together continued in 2016, with a pre-school program for parents and children aged 3-5 years old. Additional sites were utilized to reach different neighborhoods.
The Foundation works to increase awareness of the library’s assets in our community by supporting a variety of programs at the library’s request, including early learning programs like Early Childhood Matters and Music Together and adult programs such as the 3rd Thursday Jazz Series. In 2016, Travel Talks and Books That Cook were launched to bring awareness to the Passport Acceptance Facility for travel enthusiasts and the FWL’s collection of 3,600 cookbooks available to the Foodie community.
Through numerous community outreach events, thousands have developed an appreciation for our library system. Your support during North Texas Giving Day on September 14 ensures that our continued partnership with the Fort Worth Library offers community programs that help our city thrive. For more information on North Texas Giving Day and how you can give on September 14, visit the Library Foundation’s page on the North Texas Giving Day’s website!