The Building Forward Library Facilities Improvement Program stands as the largest investment the state of California has ever made in its public libraries, setting the stage for a transformational era in library infrastructure. This groundbreaking grant initiative champions equity, channeling resources toward vital capital projects within public library buildings. From addressing critical maintenance issues to amplifying energy efficiency and sustainability, and fostering broader digital and physical access, the program embodies a pioneering spirit in library development.
Originally conceived to prioritize ‘life-safety and critical maintenance’ projects, the program’s evolution has embraced a wider scope, now encompassing projects that enrich energy efficiency, sustainability, and digital expansion. Across two dynamic rounds of funding in 2022 and 2023, the State Library has distributed $487 million in grants to empower 278 local libraries. These funds have reached libraries situated in 201 cities spanning across 39 counties statewide.
Among the recipients, San Rafael emerged as a proud beneficiary, securing a noteworthy $1,000,000 each for the enhancement of both the historic Carnegie library and the Pickleweed branch. This is in addition to another $1,000,000 state grant secured for the purposes of building a new library. Notably, the funds destined to enhance the existing Carnegie library will help address deferred maintenance and life safety there, setting the stage for preserving the building should a new library be built at Albert Park in the coming years.