Library Foundation for Sarasota County
4789 Cattlemen Rd
Sarasota FL 34233
The mission of the Library Foundation for Sarasota County is to secure the future of our libraries as an indispensable community resource.
CEO/Executive Director Ms Suzanne Seiter CFRE
Board Chair Ms. Linda Getzen
Board Chair Affiliation retired attorney
General Info
Organization DBA
Library Foundation for Sarasota County Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2012
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2017
State Registration Yes Jan 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
Library Foundation for Sarasota County IRS det ltrView
Other Documents
Case for SupportView
Donor Bill of RightsView
Code of EthicsView
Gift Acceptance PolicyView
Impact Statement
Accomplishments 2016-2017
  • As of 4-30-17, the Library Foundation has assets of  $1.2 million after 5 years of operations. We have no liabilities. A 2014 audit provided a clean opinion with all standards met. The 2016 audit is currently underway.
  • On 12-31-16, we completed a $550,000 campaign for a new Children’s Literacy Endowment which will support the Imagination Library and other early literacy programs in perpetuity. Currently, 700 children enrolled in Imagination Library program.
  • Replacement of AV equipment and installation of Telepresence videoconferencing technology in Selby and Jacaranda libraries to bring in speakers, virtual field trips, and workshops from around the world.

    Goals - 2018

  • Fast Track to Reading Campaign to raise $200,000 for more e-books, audiobooks and databases for our libraries. The System is far behind other Florida libraries in the numbers and breadth of electronic resources.  The System collections budget is static.

  • Funding for MakerSpaces to create special places in libraries where people come to create STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) projects facilitated by staff. Cost is $120,000 over 2 years.

Needs Statement

1.  Children's Literacy Endowment: In November 2015, the Library Foundation launched a campaign to raise $500,000 for a children's literacy endowment by December 31, 2016.  Board members Pat and Bob Gussin made the first leadership gift, challenging others to join them in ensuring that there will always be funds to support early literacy programs for children at our libraries, such as the Imagination Library program currently funded by the Foundation.  The Observer newspapers and the Venice Sun are our media partners in the Campaign.  To date, $260,000 has been raised.  Gifts of all sizes are needed to support the endowment.

2.  Telepresence: The Library Foundation will purchase and install Telepresence software and new audio-visual equipment in the community rooms of 6 additional libraries, with top-of-the-line components to make it possible to live simulcast programs from one library to another – and from locations around the world. Audience members will engage in lively conversation with the presenter and each other from library community rooms all over the County, without ever leaving their neighborhoods.  Children will go on virtual field trips across the globe.
Funding has been secured and Telepresence is installed in the Selby and Jacaranda libraries. We are looking for visionary investors to provide $150,000 to complete Telepresence installation in the remaining 6 libraries.  Recognition opportunities are available.

3.  Unrestricted Gifts: Unrestricted gifts of $1,000 and more are always welcome to secure the future of our libraries. The Board of Directors will direct half of major unrestricted gifts to the endowment. 
Background Statement
The Library Foundation was launched in April, 2011 after over two years of planning and research. 2011 was spent incorporating our foundation, creating a sound organizational foundation, and a solid board of directors with all making monetary contributions. We received our 501(c)(3) approval in May, 2012 and formally announced our organization and activated our website. Coinciding with the announcement of the Library Foundation was the recognition of our library system as Library of the Year 2012 by the Florida Library Assn. To leverage that acknowledgement and to implement  one of our goals to create awareness of our library system, we conducted a 12-month educational campaign of all the resources and services of our libraries, funded by a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
On July 1, 2016, we hired Suzanne Seiter as our first Executive Director, another step forward in the maturity of the Library Foundation.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments There are 9 libraries in Sarasota County. Our Foundation provides assistance to all nine.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Establishing the new Library Foundation is similar to starting a small business with the inherent challenges of creating policies and procedures, developing budgetary, strategic and communications plans and raising funds to ensure goals are met. However, a big difference is the passion and dedication that the Board of Directors bring to the mission and goals. It seems most people have a "library story" that glows warmly as a memory. With that comes the determination that future generations will enjoy "library memories" also. Personally, my love of libraries evolved from my pre-school days, through my legal career, to my current involvement and leadership with the Foundation. There is nothing as positive as a library, which always brings a smile when I visit weekly. Seeing the activities with children, teens, seniors and even pets (Reading with Pets programs) confirms the impact of libraries as meeting places that foster literacy, problem solving and pubic dialogue.  With 24/7 online access to library databases, ebooks and information, the  the library system is reaching even more people. The Foundation looks forward to initiating a community discussion about the future of our libraries, what they may be and the potential they hold.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Libraries are the cradle of our American democracy where ideas and imaginations are born and nurtured.  Since the early days of our free, public library system, the neighborhood library has been the nexus of people, programs and platforms for learning, for entertainment, for community engagement.  The library is one of the most versatile and nimble of government institutions, and it continually reinvents itself to meet the changing needs of its constituents.  
We all have a library story.  My earliest memories include getting my first library card at the Grosse Pointe, MI Public Library and, in my teens, spending many evenings at the Abington, PA Public Library completing homework assignments (and meeting friends!)  As a young mother, I had the pleasure of serving as a Trustee of the Westlake, OH Public Library and brainstorming designs for the children's room in a new building.  I spent 9 wonderful years at the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation working on its first capital campaign to renovate 45 branches and later to lead the communications and development team.  When I came to Sarasota in 2007, connecting with the library was a natural extension of my love for libraries and the magical ways they change lives and transform communities.
Sarasota County residents and visitors love their libraries!  More than 80% of county residents have a library card.  More than 10,000 people walk through the doors of our 9 libraries each day and another 25,000+ visit us online.  They are attracted by the knowledgeable and helpful staff, the huge number of print and online resources, the rich and varied programming for people of all ages and the sense of community built through One Book, One Community and other county-wide learning initiatives.  Hundreds of residents belong to one of our active Friends groups.
The Library Foundation is committed to securing the future of our libraries and to spreading the word that tax dollars alone cannot sustain first class libraries.  We look forward to sharing more with the community about the value of our Sarasota County libraries and inviting individuals, businesses and foundations to join us in supporting them financially.

The Sarasota County Imagination Library was created in 2009 with a  grant from the Community Foundation to provide books to children in 12 County zip codes where the need for early literacy skills is greatest. 

The cost of the Imagination Library is $25/year per child for 12 books mailed to the home of eligible children.  Donors can ensure that a child enters school with strong literacy skills and a love of reading for $125/child for all five years.
In 2013, the Library Foundation assumed responsibility for funding  the Imagination Library.
The Library Foundation raised more than $85,000 from foundations and individual supporters to complete the program for children enrolled and to enroll new children. The Library staff expects to have 1,000 children enrolled by 12/31/16.
We have also created a Children's Literacy Endowment at the Community Foundation for Sarasota County to ensure there will always be funds to support children's literacy programs.
Budget $25,000
Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) At-Risk Populations At-Risk Populations
Short Term Success
By the end of the 5-year period, eligible children will have a home library of 60 books which parents and caregivers will have read to them.
 Research has shown  that the availability of reading materials in the home and how often a parent or caregiver reads to a child are primary indicators for the development of strong early literacy skills and later success in reading and learning in school.   
In June, 2016 there were more than 650 children enrolled through Children First, the Early Learning Coalition and other Library partners who target children with the greatest early literacy learning needs.
Long Term Success

· 74% of students who fail to read proficiently by the end of third grade falter in the later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma.

· By age three, low-income children have heard 30 million fewer words than higher-income children.

The National Campaign for Grade Level Reading is addressing the problem by concentrating on three areas where low-income children fall short: school readiness, school attendance and summer learning. The goal is: by 2020, a dozen or more states will increase by at least 100% the number of low-income children reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade.

Program Success Monitoring Evaluations by parents are completed by the Library staff.  Parents report the children race to the mailbox to find the book each month.  Parents and caregivers  read more to their children and visit the library more.
Program Success Examples Laurie Dillon, parent of two children in the Imagination Library program, reports that her children sit still better, quiet down better for bedtime, and are more curious about many things since starting in the Imagination Library program. They beg to be taken to the library and bring books home. 

The public library has always been a community gathering place. Today, more than ever, libraries serve the role of connecting people with ideas and with each other – both in person and through technology. The Library Foundation is undertaking a bold new project to make the Sarasota County libraries a model of connectivity, a forum of ideas in the community’s “living room.”

The Library Foundation is installing Telepresence technology, including all new audio/visual equipment, in our libraries in the next 12 months. This technology will make it possible for a program presented at one library to be simulcast to other libraries, with participants in every location able to ask questions and interact with the presenter in real time.  Telepresence will also make connect children and adults to programs and virtual field trips around the world, all from the comfort and convenience from their neighborhood library community room.

Budget $275,000
Category Education, General/Other Library
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Adults
Short Term Success

We anticipate increased new program offerings in response to Telepresence and increased attendance at existing programs.  The first installation was completed in May 2016. The opportunities for programs using Telepresence are unlimited. Examples are author presentations, cultural programs such as Ringling Museum, Florida Studio, Venice Theatre, Asolo, youth exchanges such as trivia competitions, enhancing foreign languages by virtually talking with other youth in foreign countries, toddlers listening to story time by Mother Goose, participating in National Geographic virtual field trips, and lifelong learning and TED presentations. This project will impact all ages countywide.

The County will use this technology for staff training and meetings, eliminating need to travel to a central site but rather to a north or south county library.  This system-wide project will put the Sarasota County Library System on the cutting edge of library programming technology serving as a model for library systems throughout the country.

Long Term Success

Sarasota County libraries will extend the reach of existing programs such as One Book, One Community, Summer Reading, Teen Read Week and National Library Week, as well as expanding programming with the Area Agency on Aging, including the new Achieving Positive Balance Series: 4 Keys to a Healthy and Fulfilling Life after 50. Opportunities for additional lifelong learning are limitless.

Expanding programs for youth, such as the Teen Trivia Challenge are anticipated. Increasing the popular technology instruction program on how to use smartphones, tablets, digital photo albums, Pinterest and many of the new digital services will help meet the current and growing demand at all libraries.

Telepresence will enhance community partnerships like the Ringling Museum and Education Outreach Series and the Herald Tribune hot topic panel discussions. Lecture series and author book talks, held at several of the libraries, can be simulcast with cross-county discussions. New collaborations to include Venice and North Port Art Centers, Venice Little Theater and Lemon Bay Playhouse and Florida Studio Theatre are probable.

Program Success Monitoring Sarasota County libraries will measure the number of programs simulcast using Telepresence and the new audio-visual equipment, the number of participants at the host site and connected sites, and the number of programs accessed from sites around the world.
Program Success Examples Evaluation is still in the planning stages. Likely outcome measurement will be in the number of Telepresence events, demographics of those attending, and categories of programming used with quantifiable statistics. Follow up with participants to monitor behavioral change, such as improved reading stills may be included. Surveys of users will most likely provide measurement of success.
Program Comments by Organization
The future of libraries is an ongoing discussion. Our Foundation plans to lead the community conversation about what our libraries will be in the next decade and beyond. The Aspen Institute, with support from the Gates Foundation, has started a national conversation about The Future of Libraries in the Digital Age. 
With digital advances, we want to be on the leading edge to ensure that our library system offers not only technological equipment/software/databases but reaches even more children, youth and adults by offering  programs/activities and  presentations and discussion events that stimulate educational growth, build a stronger community and foster global understanding.
A challenge we have is to show that libraries have not become obsolete but have continued to change with the times and become increasingly more valuable as a community resource. Another challenge is to show the positive impact that libraries have on individuals and a community like Sarasota County. Studies show that reading from birth through retirement results in raising our quality of life overall. Hearing the experiences of  teens who began reading through public library programs and continue into adulthood with library usage and  seeing an adult who benefits from job search resources of a library are rewarding and important. Learning that the only socialization that some people, especially seniors, have is their visits to a library and socializing with library staff or other seniors is eyeopening. We want to share these stories and the many faces of public libraries so that the community will continue to fund library advancements through tax dollars and the private funds secured by the Library Foundation to endow and secure the future of early literacy and technology advancements.  In 2018, we will expand the conversation about our libraries to include regular annual visits to our Sarasota County Commissioners and the local media so that they (and the community) are better informed about the role of Sarasota County libraries and the need for sustainable funding to provide outstanding spaces, resources and programs.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms Suzanne Seiter CFRE
CEO Term Start July 2016
CEO/Executive Director Email
The Library Foundation appointed Suzanne Seiter as its first Executive Director effective July 1, 2016.  Ms. Seiter has served as a consultant to the Library Foundation since it received its 501 (c)(3) status in May 2012. This is a significant step forward in the maturity of the organization.
The Foundation contracts with two additional professionals for clerical/database operations and bookkeeping. This format fits our organization at this stage of development.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 3
Volunteers 15
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A
The Library Foundation works closely with Library System administration, the Library Advisory Board and the Friends groups of all nine of our libraries. We also collaborate with business, community and non-profit organizations as needed on projects/goals. We co-sponsor some events such as the One Book, One Community kickoff with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Summer Reading Program Artists in Libraries with the  Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and Mobile Literacy Lab with the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County.  We work closely with Children First, the Early Learning Coalition and other early childhood programs to enroll eligible children for the Imagination Library program.  Each year, guests at our author luncheon donate books for distribution to families in need through All Faiths Food Bank.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization
The Library Foundation Board spent its first two years of operation creating the foundational building blocks for a strong, non-profit organization including an active and contributing Board of Directors.  We have and are creating the policies and procedures needed for smooth and transparent management and financial operations.  We have contracted for data base, bookkeeping and administrative support and have just hired our first part-time executive director.
We have created the marketing fundamentals of mission, messaging, web site and graphic identity.  We have created our case for support, purchased donor management software and have created our list of top and secondary donor prospects.  
We are working with our Board and Library leaders to focus our fundraising efforts so we meet the greatest needs of our libraries now and secure the long term health and viability of the Sarasota County libraries. Our fundraising efforts continue to grow with four successful annual author luncheons, and our  Leaders' Circle with over 70 annual donors of $1,000+. We have secured grants from Selby Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Roberta Sudakoff Foundation, Bladel Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Publix Charities Foundation and various donor advised funds. These leverage our ability to enhance children and adult literacy programs and provide new technology to our library system. 
Our challenge is to continue to progress with our projects while simultaneously trying to build our endowment fund for financial sustainability. 
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization The Board continues to consider and add new management policies as they are needed.
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Linda Getzen
Company Affiliation retired attorney
Board Term Jan 2014 to Dec 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms Katherine Buley STAR Student
Ms Claudia Cardillo retired corporate executive
Ms. Connie Hake Davis Community Volunteer
Mrs. Karen Eastmoore community volunteer
Ms. Linda Getzen retired attorney
Mr. Kenneth Goldstone Full Sail University
Mr. Charlie Huisking retired journalist
Mr. John Jakes Emeritusbestselling author
Mrs. Helen McBean retired educator, community volunter
Ms. Lydia McIntire Community Volunteer
Mrs. Isabel Norton Community Volunteer
Mrs. Barbara Siemer Community Volunteer
Mr. Hank Tafaro Community Volunteer
Mr. Bob Vedder consultant, retired newspaper publisher
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 5
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 9
Board Meeting Attendance % 82
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 20
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Governance Comments by Organization
All board members serve on and are active on at least one committee. Committees meet at least monthly quarterly.  All board members serve on the donor outreach/development committee and are dedicated to securing the future of our library system. Board members are former professionals, library users and advocates and philanthropists.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $231,500.00
Projected Expenses $221,006.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Value $950,000.00
Endowment Spending Policy Income Only
Endowment Spending Policy % 4.5
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose New digital resources for libraries - e-books, audiobooks, databases
Campaign Goal $200,000.00
Campaign Dates Nov 2017 to Mar 2019
Amount Raised To Date 50000 as of July 2017
IRS Form 990s
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$151,849$224,122$96,159
Administration Expense$79,026$25,927$13,877
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses3.041.472.54
Program Expense/Total Expenses66%90%87%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,083,338$610,951$494,698
Current Assets$1,083,338$610,951$494,698
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$352$0$92
Total Net Assets$1,082,986$610,951$494,606
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $522,607Contributions, gifts, grants $242,137Contributions, gifts, grants $181,194
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $143,782Fundraising $131,603Fundraising $89,837
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountNet Gain from Sale of Assets Other Than Inventory $26,1370 $0Investment Income $8,263
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3077.66--5377.15
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization Since incorporation, May, 2012, we have now have $950,000 in endowed funds split between a new Children's Literacy Endowment ($550,000) at the Community Foundation for Sarasota County and a Sustaining Endowment ($250,000) at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  In addition there is an unrestricted endowment of $150,000 at the Community Foundation.  For our first five years, half of the net proceeds of our Annual Author Luncheon has been allocated to the endowments by the Board of Directors. 
​The challenge is to keep our board motivated to raise funds and to grow our Leaders Circle of donors ($1,000 and up annual donors) from our current 70. The Board is still vested 100% in major gifts yearly and all are in the Leaders' Circle. 
We also act as fiscal agent for the County Library System for literacy programs totaling $215,000.
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990.  Financial figures were taken from the 990.  For 2016, financial information taken solely from unaudited compilations as the Federal tax return was not available at time of review.
Nonprofit Library Foundation for Sarasota County
Address 4789 Cattlemen Rd
Sarasota, FL 34276
Phone 941 228-6274