Long Beach Public Library Foundation


As the Library Foundation emerges strong from the pandemic, the search begins for a new ED/CEO to continue the Foundation’s 25 years of community impact.

Long Beach, CA (June 4, 2021) – Later this month, Long Beach Public Library Foundation Executive Director/CEO Kate Azar will step down after more than five years of service. In this, the Library Foundation’s 25th anniversary year, the Board of Directors is launching the search to find their next leader.

“We will remember Kate as the executive director who brought professionalism, structure, and effectiveness to the Foundation’s management,” said Renee Simon, Library Foundation Director Emerita and public affairs committee member.

During her tenure, Azar led the Library Foundation in raising more than $15 million for Long Beach Libraries and literacy initiatives. She’s credited with strengthening the organization, helping to dramatically increase its supporters, and build its profile in the community. Among her many accomplishments, Azar led the two most successful fundraising campaigns in the Library Foundation’s history. A 2016 campaign for programs, technology, and enhancements to the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library raised more than $1 million. A campaign for similar resources at the Billie Jean King Main Library ended in September 2020 and raised more than $3.3 million. Under Azar’s leadership, the Library Foundation earned the highest levels of recognition for robust financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator and GuideStar, the two largest independent evaluators for nonprofit organizations in the country.

“After five-and-a-half years at the helm of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, Kate has left an indelible mark with her inspiring dedication and commitment to literacy in Long Beach,” said M. Lissette Flores, President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. “We have accomplished a tremendous amount under Kate’s leadership, and she leaves us in a strong position to continue providing a wide array of literacy programs to the many communities in Long Beach.”

“I joined the Library Foundation as interim-executive director with the intention to only stay a few months. I immediately fell in love with the organization, its mission, and the dedicated Board and staff. I am proud of what we have accomplished,” said Azar. “We are fortunate to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever… because we have work to do. Libraries remain a critical community resource – working tirelessly to serve the community even as doors were closed to prevent the spread of Covid19. They provided resources to parents, students trying to learn from home, and seniors staving off boredom and isolation. They will be a part of Long Beach’s economic recovery, helping people get their lives and livelihoods back on track. I am grateful to all those who supported our work, recognizing that libraries are the best investment one can make in our community.”

While she is excited about what lies ahead for her professionally Kate has accepted a senior role at a social enterprise consultancy she will remain connected to the Library as a supporter and patron. “Long Beach libraries will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Azar.

The Library Foundation will continue the year-long celebration of its 25th and the Library’s 125th year of service to the Long Beach community. The Board has formed a transition committee to oversee the hire of an interim executive director and a thorough search for a new executive director. The interim executive director will ensure a smooth transition following Azar’s departure and will lead the Library Foundation as it prepares for the anticipated return of its annual wine tasting gala, Grape Expectations, on September 19 at the Museum of Latin American Art. The executive director job description and application instructions are available at https://www.lbplfoundation.org/job-opportunities.

About the Long Beach Public Library Foundation: The Library Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides support to enhance the Long Beach Public Library and encourages literacy and education for all members of the community. LBPLfoundation.org