Monday, May 21 , 2018, 3:37 am | Fair 54º


Local News

Goleta Valley Library Ready to Turn Page for Independence

In preparation for Goleta’s July 1 takeover from Santa Barbara Public Library system, new library director delivers answers to reader questions — starting with library cards

Goleta Valley Library Director Allison Gray Click to view larger
Goleta Valley Library director Allison Gray is excited about the City of Goleta’s decision to take over the branch, saying the staff will be able to be more responsive to what locals want. “Patrons are not going to see any significant change in service, they’re just going to see an increase in service here,” she adds. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Three weeks into the job, the Goleta Valley Library’s new director is orchestrating the branch’s transition to independence, including the massive task of replacing barcodes on the entire collection of 75,000 items.

Allison Gray was supervising librarian at the branch for 10 years before being hired for the new position, and is excited to have more control and be responsive to what library patrons want, she said — like bringing back the policy of having reference copies of magazines, so they are always available for people to come in and read.

The library at 500 N. Fairview Ave. is part of the Santa Barbara Public Library System, but the City of Goleta will be taking over management starting July 1.

The Goleta Valley Library will become a member of Black Gold Cooperative Library System, and the operating hours and number of employees will stay the same — except for the addition of a library director — Gray said.

“Patrons are not going to see any significant change in service, they’re just going to see an increase in service here,” she said.

“We have a very large amount of programming here but we’re going to add more. We’re sort of known as the family-friendly library.”​

There are some changes people will notice right away: a new website, which is in the works, and new library cards, which are available now.

All public libraries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties are part of Black Gold, which only permits residents to have a card at one system.

Black Gold put a block on Santa Barbara Public Library System cards in the Goleta service area on Tuesday, and people can get a new card for the Goleta Valley Library at any branch (in person, with identification).

Hold requests and downloadable items will transfer over, Gray said.

Goleta residents can become a Goleta Valley Library cardholder, and pick up holds there, or stay a SBPL cardholder (and pick up holds at any SBPL location: Buellton, Carpinteria, Central, Eastside Santa Barbara, Los Olivos, Montecito, Santa Ynez or Solvang), according to the SBPL system. Click here for a FAQ information page on the changes. 

Gray and two hourly employees, along with volunteers, have been re-barcoding Goleta’s collection of items, which includes crossing out anything that says Santa Barbara, affixing new barcodes and entering the items into the computer system.

Goleta Valley Library at 500 N. Fairview Ave. Click to view larger
As of July 1, the Goleta Valley Library at 500 N. Fairview Ave. will no longer be part of the Santa Barbara Public Library System. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s a daunting task and we can’t use the staff, Santa Barbara has told us the staff can’t be involved,” Gray said. “We’re relying on the kindness of our library patrons, and they’ve stepped up to a tremendous degree.”

Volunteers, 15 years or older, can sign up for the training and barcode shifts at the library or by contacting Gray at 805.562.5502, or by email at [email protected].

The library also plans to redo its story time area, a project that will be funded by the Friends of the Goleta Valley Library and the family of Jake Boysel, a 12-year-old boy who was hit and killed by a vehicle while riding his bicycle along Calle Real.

The Friends of the Goleta Valley Library contributed $48,000 for the 2017-2018 year, according to county numbers comparing library funding, and Gray said the group pays for summer reading program performances and other event performers.

“We have a wonderful Friends organization,” she said.

The group usually contributes $45,000 of the annual book budget and the city proposes paying all of it next year, so the Friends group can “do what Friends are supposed to do, pay for extras,” Gray said.

The Goleta Valley Library has about 260,000 visitors a year and a circulation of 600,000 items, and is planning a grand opening ceremony on July 1.

Library Funding Changes

Goleta library funding comes from county per-capita funding, the Measure L library special tax, library developer impact fees, city general fund contributions and Friends of the Goleta Valley Library donations.

For the 2018-2019 year, when Goleta takes over management, library revenues are expected to be $1.3 million with a general fund contribution of $416,434, for a total budget of $1.7 million.

The city expects some one-time start-up costs, and assumes it can decrease the operating deficit under Goleta management, according to budget documents.

It’s $200,000 more for the general fund contribution than expected, and a significant increase from the current year amount, according to draft budget documents presented at a Goleta Finance Committee meeting last week.

The city, under the current system, basically forwarded all the revenues to Santa Barbara, which managed the library and charged a 13.5-percent administrative fee on the total, and allocated costs fees, Goleta finance director Luke Rioux said.

When Goleta takes over the library, the city won’t have to pay those fees — which were more than $200,000 for the current fiscal year and expected to increase, he said.

Goleta will have indirect costs to support the library department, including support services such as payroll, human resources and IT, according to an Aug. 15, 2017, staff report looking at the financial feasibility of an independent library.

Indirect costs for the library department are estimated to be $192,390 for the 2018-2019 year, but the number is not included in the library budget since Goleta does not charge departments for support services costs.

Some budget items are services the city was already paying for, like facilities maintenance on the city-owned library building, City Manager Michelle Greene said.

The city has also been “capturing more costs” it wasn’t aware of, to get a clear picture of the library operating costs, she said.

Library employees include Gray, two full-time and four part-time library assistants, one full-time and five part-time library technicians, a children’s librarian and a supervising librarian.

The Goleta City Council will start budget workshops Monday.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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