As Goleta Library surveyed Isla Vistans, staff learned the town needed numerous types of services, including a mobile library, tiny libraries, and book-vending machines. | Credit: Courtesy

Governmental bodies are rarely known for being nimble, but two fledgling entities — the Isla Vista Community Services District and the Goleta Library System — seem to be partnering quite nicely as the Goleta City Council calls the tune. On Tuesday, presented with four options to spend $200,000 that Assemblymember Monique Limon had secured for library services in Isla Vista, the council chose Option 4 ¾.

As library director Allison Gray and her staff talked with various Isla Vistans about a library, they learned that some wanted a branch they could call their own (Option 3 on the council’s staff report), while others wanted a mobile library that could visit I.V.’s varied neighborhoods (Option 4). As always, money was a sustained and problematic note in the conversation.

But Spencer Brandt, president of the IVCSD, intends to sweeten the option, noting that it contained $25,000 to rent a space that he aims to persuade his board to offer for $1 a year. “A partnership will save about $25,000 in facilities costs,” he told the Independent, adding that the county already gives a $7.80 library fee for each of the 26,000 Isla Vistans, amounting to another $200,000 in funding for Isla Vista library functions.

The community room the CSD offers will enable Goleta Library to provide the programming Isla Vistans said they wanted: Holiday themes, crafts, science and engineering, story time, movies, and literacy were all demanded. And with that the library intends to pair innovations like a book-vending machine; 10 “tiny” libraries, including some for Spanish-language books, in yards and on street corners; and “pop-up library” devices where patrons can download e-books, periodicals, and more. A mobile van, a popular option that is getting harder to acquire, could visit more sites and bring materials to a maximum number of places, Gray told the council.

The motion passed unanimously Tuesday night, and Gray said she was ready to send the grant proposal the next day. Services may start as early as the fall, provided COVID-19 has loosened its grip on gatherings, and funding so far is good through March 2022.


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