About the Library — Governance & Funding


Governance and Funding Overview

The Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) system is one of two library systems in Santa Cruz County. SCPL serves its region independently although it shares revenue sources with the Watsonville Public Library.


The Santa Cruz Public Libraries operate under a Joint Powers Agreement among the County of Santa Cruz and the Cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley. Members of the Joint Powers Board are the County Administrative Officer from the County of Santa Cruz, the City Manager from the City of Capitola, the City Manager from the City of Santa Cruz, and the City Manager from the City of Scotts Valley.

The original Joint Powers Agreement was forged in 1996. In December 2015, all four jurisdictions approved the Fourth Amendment to the Joint Powers Agreement and that is the current governing document for the Santa Cruz Public Libraries.


Both the Santa Cruz Public Libraries system and the Watsonville Public Library are supported by City and County property and sales taxes and private donations. There are three sources of local public revenues:

  • The Cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville contribute money from their general funds.
  • Property taxes allocated for library services are collected by the County in the unincorporated areas and the Cities of Capitola and Scotts Valley
  • A quarter cent sales tax designated for public library service is collected throughout the County

A Library Financing Authority divides these revenues between the City-County Library System and the Watsonville Public Library, based on a population formula which gives Watsonville credit for serving people who live in the unincorporated area close to that city.

SCPL library services are provided through the Fourth Amendment of the Library Joint Powers Agreement with the funds made available by the Santa Cruz County Library Financing Authority.

Santa Cruz Public Libraries has a modest income from bequests, fine revenue, donations from the public and the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Inc.