I received some sad news last week. Ahmad Merza, supervising librarian at the Eastside Branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library, is leaving to take a job up north in Santa Rosa, You can imagine why his wife and he are relocating. In December 2022, the Independent had a feature article about how challenging it is to find affordable housing in Santa Barbara called “Caught in the Rental Crunch.”

This brings me to the underlying problem of the library being underfunded and the staff not being paid a reasonable salary. Every year the Santa Barbara Library receives less money from the city and the director is forced to find areas to cut. Most people in the community are not aware of this although they partake in the many free programs and services the library offers including Book Clubs, Library on the Go Van, Stay and Play, the Summer Reading Program, and tutoring for children and adults.

Until we can get a tax measure on the ballot that would allocate ongoing funds for the library, I would encourage you to become a Friend of the Library. You can join for as little as $35 a year or make a donation of any amount.

Check out our website at https://friends-sblibrary.org/. If everyone using the library on any level would make a contribution, it would help us continue to provide books and funding for programs.

Barbara Cronin Hershberg, is president of the Santa Barbara Friends of the Library.


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