As the City of Santa Barbara is part of the County of Santa Barbara, it is mind boggling to me that funding our library would be such a low priority in the S.B. County budget. The S.B. branch currently supports a large share of Goleta residents but receives no funding for the 11,356 cardholders who live in Goleta’s service area. SBPL is one of the largest agencies with disadvantaged constituents within the south coast, yet it was the only Santa Barbara County library that was forced to reduce open hours due to budget cuts. Each library is paid per capita, but this doesn’t represent the number of users SBPL actually has.
The library director and staff should be free to focus on all of their fabulous programs and services such as the career online high school, adult literacy, “Stay and Play,” early literacy classes, Library on the Go outreach, the teen intern program, OG readers etc., instead of always worrying about where the funds are coming from to support them. Let’s use some of the proceeds from the cannabis taxes (which increase every year) to make library funding a guaranteed part a part of the budget.
I invite the S.B. County Board of Supervisors to follow the library on social media, to read their weekly digital newsletter and to actually tour the library and I’m sure they will be convinced what a fabulous community resource we have.
Barbara Cronin Hershberg is president of the Santa Barbara Friends of the Library and a member of the S.B. Library Board.