Big Changes For South Coast Library; Breaks Away From Santa Barbara County System

May 21, 2018

In a back room at the Goleta Valley Library, four volunteers are busy putting new bar codes on books.

This is a big time for the Fairview Avenue institution. As of June 30th, the Library is leaving the Santa Barbara County Library System, and becoming independent.

Allison Gray, who’s Goleta Valley Library’s Director says while the City will no longer have to pay administrative fees to Santa Barbara, which manages the countywide system, it will actually be spending more -- at least initially -- on operations.

Gray says it’s really more about being able to better respond to the community’s specific needs. She says Goleta residents will need to get new library cards. The library will have a roughly $1.7 million dollar budget, and the same number of employees, 21, as it starts a new period in its history. Plans call for the operating hours to remain unchanged.

The biggest immediate impact on the Goleta Valley Library’s operations is properly marking its books and other resources. Bar codes used for checking out and tracking some 78,000 items all have to be changed by the June 30th deadline. Gray says with the help of volunteers, they’ve now recoded about 25,000 of the 78,000 books and other items, and she feels that they will meet the deadline.

This is the latest move in what is a tumultuous time for libraries in the county. Santa Barbara not only manages its two libraries, but four county facilities as well. But Santa Barbara officials say they are losing about $200,000 a year on the deal. If the county isn’t willing to change the contract, there is a possibility the city may step away, which could dismantle the system.

Gray says the county has asked Goleta to consider taking over management of the Solvang and Buellton libraries. For now, though, she says they have their hands full getting ready for the July 1st re-launch of their library.