Goleta Valley Public Library employees were shocked to arrive at work earlier this week to find the library had been broken into and the cuplrits had swiped money from the library’s donation box.
The library, at 500 N. Fairview Ave., was broken into at some point between 6 p.m. Monday — after employees left — and when a janitor arrived at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The building’s back door and window had been smashed, and about $40 in cash was taken from the donation box, along with various loose change from the drawers and an employee’s pair of binoculars.
“We’re not a place that has a lot of money to start with,” Allison Gray, the library’s supervisor, told Noozhawk on Friday.
The well-loved library sees almost 1,000 patrons each day, and circulates 500,000 items a year, and Gray said the staff works hard to pinch pennies.
“Our budget is not that big, and every penny that we lose hurts,” she said. “Even though it’s a small amount, $40 could buy us two books.”
The City of Santa Barbara, which administrates the library, sent Public Works crews out immediately to replace the window and the door.
Because the burglars also took many keys found, all of the building’s locks had to be replaced, a task that had been done just two weeks prior to the break-in, Gray said.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department officials also came out to the scene, and dusted for fingerprints.
Gray said someone had cut himself while trying to break into the back door, and detectives were continuing to work on the case.
“Everybody was pretty upset, and as a manager, it was really hard to make everybody feel comfortable again,” she said. “All things considered, we were lucky but the staff was really shaken.“
She said that since the break-in, the Sheriff’s Department have been patrolling the area much more frequently.
“It’s very sad that this money won’t go to books or other much needed materials,” said Corinne Horowitz, president of the Friends of the Goleta Valley Library.
Horowitz said that supporters of the library were “appalled and indignant” about the burglary, but several have offered to help in the wake of the incident.
To donate to the Friends of the Goleta Valley Library, checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 635, Goleta, Calif., 93116. Donations can also be dropped off with library staff, Gray said.