The Foundation was formed in 1995 to enhance financial support for the Burlingame Public Library. Following the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, the original 1930 library building needed replacement. The City Council approved a revival of the 1930‘s design and provided funding of $13 M. However, it soon became clear that private funding would be necessary to furnish the building and provide state-of-the-art services.
A tradition of community library support already existed with the establishment of the Duncan Trust in the 1980s. Local attorney and trustee, Bill Nagle, arranged for a gift of real estate from the Roger and Jean Hunt Duncan Trust. This gift of property adjacent to the library allowed the library to expand some 15 years later.
In 1994, Mary Herman, Carol Mink, Kris Cannon, John Root and Loretta Blevins stepped forward to form the foundation. The Friends of the Library gave the new group start up funds. By 1995, the Foundation was in place.
Burlingame residents Joan and Ralph Lane kicked off the campaign “Something New is Building” with a gift of $100,000. Their generous gift helped the Foundation raise the necessary $200,000 to complete the work on the main library in 1997. With the help of the Foundation, the Library was the cover feature in American Libraries magazine in 1998.
In 2000, the Easton Branch Library in North Burlingame needed renovation. The Thomas Z. Marshall family donated a generous gift of $650,000. The Foundation raised another $230,000 to complete the project, preserving and enhancing the 1929 Pueblo style building.
In 2012, a $3.5 million modernization plan to renovate and renew the historic Burlingame Public Library began. The City of Burlingame funded $2.5 million of the campaign and it challenged the Burlingame Library Foundation to raise the remaining $1 million. Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from our Burlingame and Hillsborough communities, the "Our Library, Our Future" campaign met its $1 million dollar goal in July 2015.
The improvements adapted workspaces to align with how people now study and use the library. This renovation brought our community the expanded Hoefer Teen Room, a Tech-Media Lab, a 25-person public meeting room with video conferencing, four new study rooms, enhanced wi-fi, two new reading areas, a Foundation book store and a new automated check-in system.
The Foundation continues to provide annual support as well as one time gifts for capital projects. The Burlingame Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit corporation registered with the State of California #94-3220365.