Fight over Library Money

Regarding your article, “City Not Renewing Membership with Black Gold Library Cooperative System”: One of the things that I have most appreciated about our library is access to books that are not in its catalog. During the pandemic, when this service was curtailed, I certainly felt its loss. I probably average around five library books checked out at any given time, and at least two usually come from other libraries.

I find it unsettling that the library made a decision to withdraw from the Black Gold Cooperative System because of an inability to come to an agreement among administrators, without considering the needs of their patrons.

Library Director Jessica Cadiente says in the article: “Anecdotally, we know that Santa Barbara readers have specific and unique interests not necessarily shared by residents elsewhere.” Huh? I’d really like to know more about the “specific and unique interests” here in Santa Barbara that are not shared elsewhere. Details, please.

It sounds as if a fight over money is behind this change — the wealthier community of Santa Barbara deciding it is no longer willing to put in more money than the smaller communities do. Smaller communities where current sales of three- or ten- or even forty-million-dollar homes are not pouring vast quantities of property tax money into their coffers. Smaller communities who do not have hotels charging up to $1,500 per night — and pouring transient tax money into the coffers. According to SantaBarbara.gov, the city’s revenues are larger than ever.

I wonder, what will happen to the libraries in small communities like Blanchard and Lompoc, now that the big guy has withdrawn? And I will truly miss the more generous catalog of the Black Gold Cooperative System. As I am sure the patrons of the Black Gold Cooperative System will miss access to Santa Barbara’s collection.

I realize that I can get a library card at Goleta and request books from there, but that requires a 15-mile round-trip drive to pick up a book.

Seems to me like a lose-lose situation for book lovers like me.

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