The Montclair Public Library Foundation provides support, advocacy, and education for a strong public library in Montclair, NJ.
Our Vision Is:
- To enhance and expand the library’s role as a center of learning, cultural enrichment, and community interaction. The Foundation provides an additional source of funds to supplement, not replace, public funding.
- To champion free and equitable access to information, resources, and opportunities for all people.
- To ensure the future of our library as a robust center of literacy, economic opportunity, life-long learning, discovery, and community life.
The Foundation Supports:
- Collection Development
- Cultural and Literacy Programs
- Technological Advancements
- Summer Reading Programs for Children
- Special Projects
About the Foundation
The Montclair Public Library Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that develops philanthropic support for the Montclair Public Library. Established in 2002, the MPL Foundation raises funds for library programs, collection enhancement, staff development, special projects, and other critical needs that exceed municipal funding. To date, the Foundation has raised more than $4.5 million to support Library programs and services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the Foundation, the Friends, and the Board of Trustees?
The Library Board of Trustees are community residents who are appointed to the Board by the Mayor for a 5-year term. They are the official body that acts on the Library’s behalf, proposing and overseeing the Library’s annual operating budget and setting policy and procedures.
The Montclair Public Library Foundation is the main fundraising arm of the Library. We work in conjunction with the Board of Trustees and Library Director to identify and prioritize the Library’s needs, and then pursue grant opportunities, sponsorships, and individual gifts in order to meet those needs. The Foundation raises money for programming, to enhance resources, and in support of special projects that exceed municipal funding.
The Friends of the Montclair Public Library and the Friends of the Bellevue Avenue Library raise public awareness of the services and programs offered by the Montclair Public Library, advocate for the Library and the Bellevue Avenue Branch, and organize community volunteer programs.
Doesn’t everyone have a computer at home today?
Great question, and it really gets to the heart of why we need your support. The reality is that there is a dangerous gap between those who have access to sophisticated computer technologies and those without financial resources to keep abreast of technological changes. The improvements we fund at the Library are vital resources needed to level the playing field for those at a distinct disadvantage for future success.
Aren’t libraries becoming obsolete?
Not at all. A recent article by researcher Nick Rizzo on the State of US Public Libraries found that nationwide, libraries are more popular than ever thanks to a strong shift to digital materials and resources. There are more registered borrowers than ever, the total size of library collections are bigger, and overall use is higher.
At the Montclair Public Library, more than 212,000 items were checked out in 2021 and over 92,000 electronic items were borrowed. 73% of Montclair residents have an active library card. More than 100,000 visits were made to the library website. More than 8,000 Wi-Fi sessions took place at the library, and more than 300 Wi-Fi hotspots were borrowed for home use.
The Library provides essential services – used across all age groups, by citizens of all four wards, and across all socioeconomic sectors of the Montclair community.
I pay a Library tax each year. Why does the Montclair Public Library Foundation need my support?
Your tax dollars are the backbone of the Library’s day-to-day operating budget but the Foundation steps in to fund the rest. Tax dollars fund all the basics: Library staffing, electricity, heat, internet fees, general maintenance, book purchases, and some programming. While tax dollars keep the doors open and the lights on, funding from the Foundation enhances resources, programming, and special projects of the Library. In recent years, the Foundation has purchased the eTuk bookmobile, expanded the collection of eBooks and audiobooks, and enabled Wi-Fi hotspot lending and laptop lending.