Mary Giannini and Ned Barnes started the Spokane Public Library Foundation in 1989. The foundation was started because prior to its establishment, all funds donated to the Library were going to the City of Spokane General Fund and Ned felt strongly that donations needed to be kept separate so that the funds were ensured to benefit the Library. The foundation was established with support from the City of Spokane, along with many other cities across Washington and the US who were also establishing foundations for their libraries at the same time.
Ned Barnes was a long-time citizen of Spokane and a graduate of Spokane Public Schools. He went on to college at the University of Minnesota and later University of Washington School of Law. He returned to Spokane in 1965 and worked for the law firm of Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport & Toole.
Ned was passionate for libraries; he called them “an absolutely important feature” of a community. He served on both the City of Spokane Library Board of Trustees and the Spokane Public Library Foundation where he was Chairman of the Board from 1989 – 2011.
Mary Giannini was one of Ned’s colleagues at Witherspoon, Kelly, Davenport & Toole. Mary had a similar passion for preserving the future of Spokane’s libraries. Along with Ned, she was one of the initial five board directors who established the foundation’s bylaws.
The Spokane Public Library Foundation continues on with a volunteer board that is passionate about Spokane, education, and ensuring the success of Spokane Public Library’s.