Unanimous vote renames Bayview Library for Linda Brooks-Burton

by Michelle Jeffers

In response to a community-led proposal to rename the Bayview Branch Library by adding the name of Linda Brooks-Burton, longtime librarian, role model and branch manager, the San Francisco Library Commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposal at its Sept. 18 regular meeting.

Librarian extraordinaire Linda Brooks-Burton left the community that adored her far too soon. But the youth she inspired will keep her spirit alive by loving to learn and to teach and by treasuring the history of our people and community.
Librarian extraordinaire Linda Brooks-Burton left the community that adored her far too soon. But the youth she inspired will keep her spirit alive by loving to learn and to teach and by treasuring the history of our people and community.

Ms. Brooks-Burton, who passed away on Sept. 19, 2013, was a beloved figure who advocated tirelessly for the needs of the community and served as a role model and mentor for youth and all who used the library. She worked for the San Francisco Public Library for 30 years.

As Bayview Branch manager for 15 years prior to her promotion to district manager, Linda was responsible for making the branch library an important and integral part of the broader community. She developed partnerships and collaborations with individuals, non-profits, schools and other agencies, and was the unifying force that brought the community together to support the rebuilding of the Bayview Branch Library.

The Library Commission held a public hearing at the Bayview Branch on June 19, at which community leaders presented their proposal. The commission received over 3,000 petition signatures and individual letters from a broad spectrum of community organizations and individuals requesting the renaming, including handwritten letters and notes. Among the comments received:

“Linda was my librarian growing up. Right now I’m in college and I thank her and all the beautiful people in the community who helped me out as a kid during my trips to the library. Linda has been an important person to the community. We need to remember her because she represents the power of literacy and education in a time of violence, uncertainty and community resilience.”

Ms. Brooks-Burton, who passed away on Sept. 19, 2013, was a beloved figure who advocated tirelessly for the needs of the community and served as a role model and mentor for youth and all who used the library.

Another supporter wrote, “Linda was a role model for us all, and we must keep her memory alive so she can continue to inspire the community she loved.”

The renaming is in keeping with Library Commission policy, first adopted in 1996 and revised in 2002, which states: “It shall be the general policy of the San Francisco Public Library not to name any library facility for any person, living or deceased. However, in the rare instance where there are reasons so compelling that adding the name of a person to the geographic name of a specific branch library, or to another library facility, may be appropriate, it shall be the policy of the San Francisco Public Library not to name any library facility for any living person, or for any person deceased less than one year.”

“Linda was a role model for us all, and we must keep her memory alive so she can continue to inspire the community she loved.”

Also in keeping with policy, the community name will precede the individual name; the branch name will be reflected in signage and other materials as the Bayview Linda Brooks-Burton Branch Library. In addition to the main entry sign, there will be a bronze plaque commemorating the memory of Ms. Brooks-Burton, as well as a biographical plaque and photo located in the entry lobby.

Michelle Jeffers can be reached at Michelle.Jeffers@sfpl.org.