What We Fund

Your gift to The Library Foundation benefits the entire community and helps the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library grow the next generation of readers.  The Library Foundation funds innovative library programs that promote early, school age and adult literacy.

2016 was an exciting year for The Library Foundation thanks to supporters like you. Learn more in our 2016 Annual Report –



More than 12,519 children must learn to read

Learn & Play Bus

In Shawnee County, only 31% of children have a formal preschool experience. We bring the preschool to families right in their neighborhoods on the Learn & Play Bus, where kids can learn vital literacy skills for free and in a super fun environment. The library’s early childhood learning coordinator makes sure all the little ones are developing through playing, talking, reading, singing and writing so that they’re prepared to enter school.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

With the Imagination Library, every child under the age of five will be mailed an age-appropriate book each month. That will give kids a home library of up to 60 books to study, read and share with parents. Studies show that participation in the program positively and significantly improves early childhood literacy.

For the program to be sustainable over five years, the library, in partnership with theUnited Way of Topeka, needs to raise $1 million. Donate today to get the Imagination Library started in our community. $25 covers the cost for a child for one year.

Harder IREAD Program

Each year, as kindergartners graduate in Shawnee County Schools, the library is there to join in the celebration and hand over a free book and a library card to participating families. Kids who already have existing library cards are given a brand new IREAD Card, and any previous fines are waived. The initiative is supported by the Robert C. and Dorothy L. Harder Fund established through the Library Foundation. In 2015-16, 8 elementary schools participated. In 2016-17, the library is looking to raise that number to 17 participating schools.

BookmobilesSherlock Busmobile

Bookmobiles help make the library Alice Bookmobileaccessible county-wide. In 2015, Alice was put into service as a result of the generous estate gift from the late Hugh and Margaret McClausland. In 2014, with the help of the Capitol Federal Foundation and Friends of the Library, Sherlock arrived. Bookmobiles carry a wide variety of books, movies, and music for all ages with an emphasis on popular fiction and non-fiction. There are 20 bookmobile stops around the city and county, so there’s one close to you!

Arts & Culture Gallery_Crowd

We celebrate and preserve our community’s cultural and artistic heritage. Donations to The Library Foundation help to support a variety of programs that enrich the lives of members of our community through art and music.

The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery connects individuals to culture, art and artists – both modern and classic – through the photographer’s lens, the painter’s brush and the sculptor’s craft. The Library Foundation helps fund the gallery’s annual art exhibit for children.

Donors assist in expanding the permanent art collection in numerous ways, including personal gifts of artwork. The Sabatini Art Gallery charges no admission and is home to Topeka’s oldest public art collection of nearly 5,000 items. The gallery is renowned for two national art competitions and its annual art exhibit for children. Professional exhibits from the library’s permanent collections, as well as traveling exhibits, attract nearly 21,000 visitors annually.

Programs & Services

Music for a Sunday Afternoon brings performers from grade school students to professionals to entertain with a variety of vocal and instrumental performances. Performances are free and open to the public.


The Kids Library is designated as a Family Place Library™. Parents can connect to their young children through these library programs: Baby Bookworms (0-18 months), Sneak, Peek & Read (18-24 months), Tot Time (2 years) and Preschool Storytime (3-5 years). Look for upcoming parent/child workshops, offered three TRextimes a year, in Library News.

Red Carpet Home DeliveryIn 2015, 90,841 people attended programs offered by the library. The Library Foundation raises funds to help ensure that thousands of programs are available to children, teens, adults and senior citizens year round. Everyone in the community can benefit from the extensive list of library programs such as computer training classes, Red Carpet Services, The Edge, Bookmobile Services, Community Center Programs and so much more.


Girl at computer

We help bridge the digital divide. Everyone has computer access at the library. The “digital divide,” which separates those with home computer access from those without it, will never hold back members of our community who come to the library. Many library patrons rely on the library for access to computers for employment tools, government and social services, language programs and test proctoring. In addition, the library has created a digital branch library, which permits users to access library services at any time, from virtually any location. Digital downloads topped out at 274,670 in 2015.

The library is embracing technology to successfully meet the needs and desires of the Topeka community. From help figuring out your eReader, downloading digital content and providing a range of free computer classes – the library has it all. You can help ensure our library is an innovative and cutting-edge resource for the community by making a gift.

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