No matter how many gifts that you got for the holidays, you probably didn't fare as well as the Carlsbad Library & Arts Foundation did this season. That's because the city's library system recently announced that they'd been given a pretty impressive holiday present – a donation of $2 million from the Benson Family Trust.
The funds, which were donated to help purchase books and other library materials, were given to honor the legacy of Dr. Russell Benson and his wife of fifty-four years, Betty. Although both Bensons have passed away (Russell in 2009 and Betty in 2013), they were known as life-long advocates for education and volunteering in their community. They were both career educators - Betty an elementary school teacher well-liked by her students and their parents, and Russell a long-time professor of mathematics at Cal State University, Fullerton.
Charged with seeking out and appropriation significant donations, the Carlsbad Library & Arts Foundation works to further develop the city's three library locations, as well as increase the types of programs and services they're able to offer the public. According to Library & Cultural Arts Director Heather Pizzuto, the Bensons' donation will help ensure that “their love of reading and libraries will live on for generations.” Friends and neighbors say that Betty Benson could always be found with a stack of books that she was eagerly reading, and that her husband equally shared her passion for knowledge.
In addition to adding to the library system's collection of English, Spanish, and bilingual materials, some of the services and facilities that the Carlsbad Library & Arts Foundation supports include:
- Literacy workshops and tutoring for adults
- Assistance with homework for students
- Computer education and public internet access
- Private concentration rooms for studying
Although the Benson Trust's $2 million donation could be put to use right now, library officials have said that the funds will be put into an endowment fund and released in part each year. This will help ensure that money will be available for updating the library system's collection for a long time to come.
The Carlsbad Library & Arts Foundation serves city residents and visitors through three branch locations – on Dove Lane, Carlsbad Village Drive, and Eureka Place. If you're interested in making a donation to the Carlsbad Library & Arts Foundation, or are simply looking to find out more information about the community services they offer, you can visit their website at CarlsbadLibraryandArtsFoundation.org.