Monday, January 22 , 2018, 3:03 pm | Fair 62º


Local News


Montecito Library Asks Community For Help After Hours Cut Back

Friends of the Montecito Library will start fundraising campaign to restore the nine hours a week lost due to budget cuts, making the location closed on Mondays

Friends of the Montecito Library is hoping to raise funds to keep the library branch open longer after recent cuts slashed hours from 45 a week to 36.
Friends of the Montecito Library is hoping to raise funds to keep the library branch open longer after recent cuts slashed hours from 45 a week to 36.  (Friends of the Montecito Library photo)

Budget woes forced the Montecito Library to cut nine hours from operations last month, but volunteers are working to restore the time and funds needed to keep the longtime community resource viable. 

The branch of the Santa Barbara County Public Library System slashed its weekly hours from 45 to 36 on July 1, and that number will dip again if Friends of the Montecito Library doesn’t raise enough money by July 2018.

That’s when the county reserves that have funded about a third of the Montecito Library in recent years will be depleted.

The Montecito Library is now closed both Sundays and Mondays — instead of just Sundays — and Saturday hours were reduced to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Every other day of the week (Tuesday to Friday) the library at 1469 E. Valley Rd. will remain open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“The big thing is we lost Monday,” said Pat Saley, president of the Friends of the Montecito Library nonprofit organization.

“You’d be surprised how many people used to come in on Mondays. Our long-term goal is to get back to six days a week. It’s going to take some money. That takes some time.”

Saley said the nonprofit library group hopes to grow its endowment of $600,000 from generous donors, with a goal of restoring hours by 2018, if not sooner.

Although the County Board of Supervisors approved overall increases to library funding, Montecito sustained cuts because it doesn’t have a city to back it up, according to Margaret Esther, library services manager of the Santa Barbara Library System which operates the Montecito branch for the county.

Carpinteria and Solvang branches were projected to see reductions as well, she said, but the cities provided enough financial backing to stave off cuts.

Thousands of visitors come to the library and its storytime events every year. (Friends of the Montecito Library photo)

Funding is determined by the number of residents in the service area. As an unincorporated area in the county, Montecito has some 11,000 residents.

Esther said Friends of the Montecito Library funds a majority of the East Valley Road branch’s operations — about $71,000 last fiscal year — along with other private donations. Library revenues were projected to be $81,000 this year, she said.

The library lends more than 100,000 materials annually and had about 57,000 visitors last year, Esther said.

“They’ve been raising  a lot of money for a lot of years,” she said of the nonprofit.

“I’m very glad they’re trying to recruit more support for their community.”

The Montecito Library has been in its current location on and off since 1900, most recently moving back into the renovated space around 1980.

Saley said Friends of the Montecito Library hasn’t ruled out the idea of pursuing a special tax measure to fund library operations — Goleta is considering the same move — but would rather avoid that road.

“The library is a gem,” Saley said. “Our challenge now is getting the word out.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >