I’m not sure that even frequent users of the Santa Barbara Public Library give much thought to where the library’s funding comes from.
While the library is included in the city of Santa Barbara’s budget, with a small portion coming from Santa Barbara County, the allocated funds have been reduced drastically.
Regular users will feel the impact in that the library is now only five days a week. It was also forced to be closed on Sunday, which was the library’s busiest day of the week.
The library is understaffed, yet the library doesn’t have the money to rehire the hourly employees it had to let go.
The Santa Barbara Library has done a phenomenal job during the pandemic continuing to offer services and digital resources. But while the library is free to the public, the funds to operate have to come from somewhere.
The library recently began sending out the Van on the Go to various neighborhoods to make it easier for people to check out books and access computers. (Think state-of-the-art bookmobile.)
If you want to see all of the many programs and services the library offers, go to its website, www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/lib/default.asp. You will be astounded at how many things the library offers.
The library staff is incredibly creative, resourceful and hard working. Even if you are not a library user yourself, I’m sure you appreciate that they offer literacy tutoring, support for veterans and people looking for work and many activities for our preschool population.
If you would like to contribute funds to help support the most democratic of institutions, you can donate to the Santa Barbara Friends of the Library, which raises funds to support programs and books.
Go to our website at friends-sblibrary.org for more information.
Barbara Cronin Hershberg
President of the Santa Barbara Friends of the Library
Editor’s note: When the News-Press received Barbara Cronin Hershberg’s letter, our response was to send a reporter to cover the Santa Barbara Public Library and its financial challenges. Staff writer Annelise Hanshaw’s story appeared last Tuesday on our front page. If you missed it, you can read the article at newspress.com/santa-barbara-library-thrives-on-private-donations.