San Mateo County Libraries have been an integral part of its diverse community for over a century. Originally established by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 1912 as a County Free Public Library, the San Mateo County Library Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was established in 1999. The Library JPA is comprised of the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, North Fair Oaks, Pacifica, Portola Valley, San Carlos, Woodside, and the unincorporated areas of the county. The Library JPA is a separate, independent entity with its own Governing Board, consisting of elected officials from each member entity. An Operations Committee composed of City and County representatives from each member entity also provides guidance.
San Mateo County Libraries are incomparable destinations for learning and growth. Each of our thirteen libraries is part of a larger family offering worlds of discovery and technological opportunities. More than 65 percent of the service population have library cards, and more than 2.2 million people visit us in person annually.
Our physical and digital collections include nearly 3 million items and are always growing, and we are evolving too, making the most of every opportunity for innovation and advancement in technology. As one of the largest providers of free internet access in the county, San Mateo County Libraries are equipped with wireless service and hundreds of public computers connected to a 1GBps network, and tablets, laptops and WiFi hotspots for checkout.
We are readers and educators at our core, a library tradition we will always embrace as champions of early literacy and exploration at every stage of life. We continually assess the needs of our residents, responding with thoughtfully designed programs and initiatives that enrich lives and uplift the community. We host over 12,000 events each year, curating programming that is designed to enrich and uplift our communities. Through innovative outreach services and our bookmobile, enriching experiences are also delivered beyond library buildings. Our residents comprise a diverse collection of individuals, and our services reflect that. All of these pieces culminate in a message of sharing—whether it’s knowledge, experience, stories, or resources.
San Mateo County Libraries provide unmatched service to our community members, and we are consistently ranked as one of the best libraries in the nation. Developed through recent strategic planning work, our vision is to ignite growth through transformative experiences, and it is our mission to strengthen our communities by creating an inclusive sense of place and an environment of learning.