Monterey Learns! Campaign Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Monterey Learns!, MPLF&F’s first-ever major fundraising campaign surpassed its $300,000 goal, raising $349,675 from September 2020 until April this year for library collections, programs, and services.

Soon after the Library’s doors were closed in March 2020—and when the dire impact of the global pandemic on the local economy was evident—the F&F recognized that an unprecedented level of private support would be required to sustain the Library.

Library staff had been cut by 80%—and the book budget entirely eliminated—in FY 2020-2021. During the Library’s 500-day closure, from March 14, 2020, through July 27, 2021, a skeleton staff of four employees and a remarkable cadre of volunteers made it possible for our community to borrow 263,333 books via contact-free “Sidewalk Service,” and to ensure all inquiries were answered by staff on the Information Line, five days a week.)

Thanks to 498 generous donors, campaign funds made it possible for the Library to:

  • buy thousands of new books, ebooks, DVDs, audiobooks
  • restore magazine and newspaper subscriptions
  • acquire 21st century circulation technology
  • resume bookmobile service to communities in need
  • offer virtual presentations to thousands of adults in our community and beyond
  • reintroduce in-person children’s programs to support social and emotional learning
  • replace obsolete laptop computers for public use
  • add California History Room staffing and collections

Bill Wojtkowski, who led the Friends & Foundation campaign, acknowledged the support of the Honorary Campaign Committee, which included Joanne and Dan Albert Sr., Ted Balestreri, Kip and Jay Hudson, Fred and Phyllis Meurer, Leon and Sylvia Panetta, Anne Parker and Yann Lusseau, and Chris Shake. “These are individuals who are leaders in the community, and they really stepped forward for Monterey’s Library,” Wojtkowski said.

MPLF&F President Diane de Lorimier commented, “There will be years of rebuilding ahead, so we are proud and grateful that the community responded so generously, and thankful for every gift received, no matter the size. Contributors from across the Peninsula stepped forward, understanding that private support will always be needed to provide the library this community expects and deserves.” She added, “Not only is this California’s oldest public library, it’s one of the most beloved.”

Over and above the almost $350,000 raised in Campaign funds, the Library was the recipient in January of $144,000 in grant funds to replace the bookmobile in 2023. This State grant, administered by the California State Library, is the Library’s largest in 20 years.

While the City’s revenue forecast has improved steadily in recent months, your support is still critical. You can donate now, visit the Ways to Give page for more information, or contact us at or (831) 646-5605.

boy reading in the library