The Grand History of Small Library- The Easton Branch Library


The Easton Branch Library's front sign, located on 1800 Easton Drive.

Jacob Lubarsky, Copy Editor

In 2019, one may consider libraries around the world to be useless, with information and entertainment accessible through the internet. The Easton Branch library, however, is as successful now as ever before in its 77 years of operation.

In 1927, the Easton Branch library did not yet exist, as the Burlingame Women’s Club stood at 1800 Easton Drive instead. Due to World War II needs from the city, Burlingame decided to discontinue funds for the Women’s Club, and the organization came to an end in early 1942. The Burlingame Public Library later purchased the plot in August of 1942. It wasn’t until 1943 that the Easton Branch library officially opened.

For the majority of the library’s history, the building was untouched, as the property only faced minor facelifts. It wasn’t until 2003 that the library began a massive renovation project featuring completely new floors, windows, a computer lab and even a small garden in the back of the library. Additionally, the opening hours of the library were extended an extra six hours each week.

The library was closed for renovations for over a year, costing around $1.1 million, with approximately 90 percent of the funds coming from private donors to the Burlingame Library Foundation.

After the renovations, the library was thriving—until the Great Recession of 2008. While the Recession was hitting full throttle, the Easton Branch library felt the strain of local budget cuts of around $40,000. The City Council discussed shortening the number of hours the library would be open per week and even discontinuing the library budget completely. However, after the community refused to let this decision pass, the city allowed the Easton Branch library to remain.

“I am glad our northern neighborhoods, which otherwise have very few public amenities other than parks, [have] a branch library,” City Council member Michael Brownrigg wrote in an email. “I think for many people, Easton Branch library is a true gem that would be missed terribly if it disappeared.”

As the Great Recession came to an end and the city began to rapidly grow in population, the library started to flourish once again.

“We are a growing city, and in the last 10 years our K-8 population [has] grown about 42 percent compared to less than 10 percent for the entire county,” Mayor Donna Colson wrote in an email. “We do need a second library to respond to all the interest from our residents and as we continue to grow, the second library will be used even more.”

Though most citizens go to the much bigger Burlingame Public Library, located just 1.4 miles away, the Easton Branch library will continue to house the families living in northern Burlingame.

“The Easton Branch is beloved for its small-town charm and quaint architecture, but it is more than an amenity,” City Librarian Bradley McCulley wrote in an email. “Libraries build strong communities. Every day, libraries are transforming the lives of families across America, so now more than ever, we need more Easton Branches in the world, not less.”