New Empower Card Expands Library Access for Students in San Mateo County

Empower Cards Will Increase Students’ Access to Valuable Library Resources

Media Contacts:
Katie Woods, San Mateo County Libraries
(650) 556-5209

Derek Wolfgram, Redwood City Public Library Director
(650) 780-7060

SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Public Library are excited to announce the launch of Empower Cards, a new library card designed to simplify and expand student access to library resources.

Empower Cards combine the online resources of both San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Public Library to seamlessly connect students of all ages to powerful learning tools for use in the classroom or at home. The tools include online tutoring, online test preparation, eBooks, eMagazines and research journals, apps for language learning and meditation as well as read-along digital storybooks to support emerging readers.

“Getting this innovative card into the hands of students will fuel academic success and revolutionize how students use the public library,” San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum said. “Empower Cards break down barriers to library access and address inequities in resources by sending library cards directly to families. These cards will open the door to an incredible amount of online and in-person resources.”

Empower Cards build upon past efforts to connect libraries with schools on the peninsula to issue more than 13,200 library cards to youth. San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Public Library have already begun the process of issuing Empower Cards to interested school districts, with the goal of providing Empower Cards to all 62,202 students enrolled in districts served by San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Public Library by the end of the year.

“Our hope is that this pilot can grow into something that has long-lasting reach in the lives of local students,” San Mateo County Libraries Director Anne-Marie Despain said. “We’re excited to get more resources to students to support their learning journey.”

About San Mateo County Libraries
San Mateo County Libraries is a Joint Powers Authority that operates libraries in the communities of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, North Fair Oaks, Pacifica, Portola Valley, San Carlos and Woodside. San Mateo County Libraries ignite growth through transformative experiences. Visit for information about our community libraries, extensive digital and physical collections, innovative services and numerous online resources and virtual programs and events.

About Redwood City Public Library
Through its Downtown Library, Redwood Shores Branch Library, and Schaberg Branch Library, Redwood City Public Library cultivates community and advances equity by welcoming all people to experience the shared joys of literacy and learning. Visit, opens a new window to learn more about our unique services for all ages; diverse range of activities and events; robust collection of books, media, and online resources; and welcoming spaces.