The Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends (SCCLFF) has been leading the charge in a $300,000 grassroots fundraising effort, “My Library, My Story,” to completely renovate the Mission Branch Library at 1098 Lexington St. in Santa Clara.
“When we first explored doing the fundraising campaign, we spoke to many, many community members about their memories and connection to the Mission Branch Library,” said SCCLFF Executive Director Tracy Wingrove. “We heard so many stories about people who went to the library as kids, who took their children there, and now take their grandchildren there that it became clear that the library is an integral part of the community, has been for generations and needs to serve future generations.”
According to Wingrove, $150,000 of the raised funds will be used for furniture, fixtures and equipment and $150,000 will go toward building a programming fund, allowing the Mission Branch Library to maintain the same number of events and classes as the Central Park and Northside libraries.
Through reaching out to the community and the My Library, My Story naming rights campaign, SCCLFF has received donations through dining fundraisers at Taplands and Mountain Mike’s, community groups and individual contributions — including a significant donation from Santa Clara Council Member Patricia Mahan.
Mahan, who lives within walking distance of the Mission Branch, said she was “convinced to make such a donation, mostly because I love that library, but also because of the Foundation’s effective fundraising campaign.” Her donation will go towards naming the library’s children’s reading corner after her son, Colin Boyles.
When Mahan’s now-adult son was younger, she said he loved visiting the Mission Branch Library. Nearly every Saturday, the pair would stroll to the branch, read in the children’s reading area and check out books to read at home. As Boyles grew, he continued visiting the library, often walking over with friends after attending school at St. Clare across the street — something Mahan said she also did when she attended the school in the 60s. However, as Boyles became a pre-teen, his rambunctious nature eventually got the best of him.
“Colin, being Colin, got kicked out of the library one day after school because he and his friends were being too noisy,” said Mahan. “As much as he tried to control himself, after getting kicked out once, when the same thing happened again, he was banned from the library after school for the rest of the year … but he never stopped loving the library and he never stopped reading and checking out books. To this day, he is quite the bibliophile and loves to read. I credit Mission Library for my son’s love of life-long learning. In making a donation to fund a children’s reading corner, Colin and I both want to encourage children to read, and to read real books and to learn to love books, and to start on a habit of reading and life-long learning.”
Wingrove said that although the same level of silence is no longer required at the library, the renovated Mission Branch will host students after school in the library’s community room to reduce noise throughout the building.
So far, Wingrove said SCCLFF has raised approximately $170,000, with fundraising efforts to continue through the end of the year.
“We have wonderful naming opportunities and a donor wall, giving the community lots of ways to honor their loved ones and their love for the library,” said Wingrove.
The next My Library, My Story fundraiser will take place Saturday, Aug. 4 at Mission Library with a free performance of “Shiver We Timbers!” by the Peripatetic Players at 1 p.m. Admission is free, but contributions will be accepted. Visit lovethelibrary.org for more information.