Cradled in the creases of the Santa Ynez Valley, a miniscule library has been operating since 1912, in the days of President William Taft, the Titanic, and the burgeoning statehoods of Arizona and New Mexico. The library itself is only 12-by-14 square feet but houses more than 850 books and has over 400 visitors each year — impressive for an establishment open only Saturday afternoons.
“The small branch libraries are held in high regard and with great affection by the Santa Ynez Valley communities,” said Carey McKinnon, SYV branch supervisor in a prepared statement. “Both the Santa Ynez and Los Olivos branches are truly beloved. Small, community libraries can be an important part of childhood and seem to embody the memory of the magic and power of reading. It is really meaningful to have a grandparent visit with her grandchild, share her own memories and make new ones.”
To celebrate its 100th birthday, the Santa Ynez Library is having a party Saturday, August 25, starting at 5:30 p.m., at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. The fete will feature music by bluegrass band Peter Feldman and the Very Lonesome Boys and food provided by On Cue Catering. There will also be a cocktail bar and birthday cake.
For more information and reservations, call Barbara Davidge at (805) 688-8477 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations can also be made at the desk of the Solvang Library, 1745 Mission Drive, and at the Santa Ynez Historical Museum, 3596 Sagunto Street.
This story was amended on August 20, 2012, to remove the editorial characterization of the Santa Ynez Valley Library as “the oldest” branch library in California. Its claim to that title is in dispute. The Carpinteria Friends of the Library note that they celebrated their library’s 100th birthday in 2010, and, they point out, “The historical marker sign on Linden Avenue in front of the location of the site where our first library building sat proudly reads ‘California’s First Branch Library — Open November 8, 1910 — City of Carpinteria.’” We at The Santa Barbara Independent will leave it to reference librarians to determine the truth of this matter.