Burlingame residents bound together for the library 

The Burlingame community is fighting to keep doors open at the Easton Branch Library.

As the city’s budget can no longer handle the $70,000 in operating costs for the library, residents are rallying together to raise approximately $53,000 this summer, according to Library Director Patricia Harding.

Back in April, the city began a direct campaign asking for community support and since then, residents of all ages have chipped in to save the library. The most recent effort was a bake sale put together by five local teens that raised over $4,000 in just three hours on July 24, Harding said.

“They raised an enormous amount of money just through selling baked goods,” she said. “They brought the community together and it was a really great afternoon of people sharing their stories and experiences at Easton; it was truly a heartwarming event.”

Former Burlingame residents who now live as far away as Los Angeles and Santa Barbara have sent in money to ensure that the Easton Branch continues to be a functioning library, said Stephen Hamilton, treasurer for the Library Foundation and Team Easton.

Team Easton, a community group involving faith groups, local residents and the Burlingame Library Foundation, is at the forefront of the efforts to save the library.

“This is a gem of a library,” said Hamilton. “It is our ‘third place.’ We have a place where we live and a place where we work; the library provides a place for us to come together as a community.”

While the 48,000-square-foot Burlingame Public Library is within two miles of the more child-sized 2,800-square-foot Easton library, Harding said Easton offers a special kind of service.

Located in the same neighborhood as several elementary schools and Burlingame Middle School, over 60 percent of Easton’s resources are used by children. When school is in session, many retired seniors walk to the library to sit in front of the fireplace to read. 

“We have a Facebook page with 192 friends,” said Harding. “We recently received a comment from an adult son who said his mother lives in Burlingame and walks to the Easton branch every day.”

Harding said she is confident the community will be able to raise the $70,000 needed to continue providing services to Burlingame residents. The next planned fundraising effort will take place in September as volunteers walk around the neighborhood as part of the “Walk a Block for Easton” campaign to solicit the remaining $17,000.

Since budget concerns are ongoing, the library hopes to raise enough money to create an endowment that would offset the branch’s yearly costs to the city. In order to establish this endowment, the community must raise about $1 million, said Harding.

shaughey@sfexaminer.com

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