February 17, 2018

San Mateo PL Gets $2M for Biotech Center

By LJ Staff

The San Mateo Public Library Foundation has received a $2 million grant from the Genentech Foundation to create a first-ever Biotechnology Learning Center at the new San Mateo Public Library, scheduled to open in July 2006. Over 250 biotech companies are headquartered in San Mateo County. Focusing on biotechnology, life sciences, and health, the center – to be located on the second floor of the three-story library – will provide study and meeting spaces, high-speed technology, teaching equipment, and display space around a comprehensive materials collection. Library Director Ben Ocón said the foundation seeks another $2 million for the center; $3 million of the total $4 million will be used to establish the center and $1 million will start an endowment to support materials, a life sciences librarian position, and seminars and workshops.

The grant is the largest private gift to the foundation’s capital campaign, which aims to raise $10 million toward the $65 million library project. The project also involves a local bond measure for $35 million and a California State Public Library Construction and Renovation Board grant of $20 million. Fred A. Middleton, managing director of San Mateo-based Sanderling Biomedical Venture Capital, helped develop the center, in consultation with former San Mateo PL Director Kathleen ‘KG’ Ouye, who retired at the end of 2004, and former Library Foundation President John Draper; Middleton and his wife have pledged $100,000. Given the local economy, the idea to establish a biotech center, Ocón said, ‘was a natural evolution.’