Monday, October 24 , 2016, 11:43 am | Fair 67º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

Local News

Long Overdue, Orcutt Library to Get New, Spacious Home

Branch to close this week to move into larger Old Town Orcutt location, opening Saturday

More than 20 years in the making, and Tom Elerding still finds it hard to believe that he’ll soon be regularly setting foot in a new library in Old Town Orcutt.

A library surrounded by windows and shelves of books, not wedged in too-small space between two businesses on the other side of town in Oak Knolls Shopping Center.

Not much of a dream for some, but nothing short of a miracle to Elerding and other members of the Friends of the Orcutt Library.

The group that formed in 1991 with the goal of building a new library will see that vision come to fruition next week.

The branch at 1157 E. Clark Ave. closed its doors for good last week so its contents could be moved west to a facility of nearly double the size, in Old Town Orcutt’s Union Plaza development at 175 S. Broadway.

Patrons will get their first look at the location during a grand opening at 10 a.m. Saturday thanks to the fundraising efforts of Elerding’s group, the City of Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Public Library and the County of Santa Barbara.

“It’s a miracle,” Elerding told Noozhawk last week. “It really is. It took a long time.”

The friends have raised more than $100,000 in three years via book sales and donor contributions to fulfill a growing need.

Although the intent was to be moved into the new space last year, Elerding said he was beyond impressed with the level of community support and key donors, including the Santa Barbara Foundation and Altrusa of the Central Coast.

He said the dream also wouldn’t have come true without the Will family, who own the new building and held the space an extra year until the money was raised.

Alex Thompson, left, and her brother, Caleb, do homework at the old Orcutt branch library, which was located at the Oak Knolls Shopping Center. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Alex Thompson, left, and her brother, Caleb, do homework at the old Orcutt branch library, which was located at the Oak Knolls Shopping Center. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The friends group is putting $65,000 toward tenant improvements and $35,000 for new furnishings, materials, supplies and technology.

“The carpeting is all new, it smells like a new building, the walls are all nice and clean, you can sit by the window and read a book if you want to,” Eldering said. “It’ll be a very nice library. We’re hoping it’ll be one of the centers of old life here. Hopefully it will be a popular place.”

Last week, Santa Maria City Librarian Mary Housel looked admiringly around the empty but soon-to-be-filled library in Old Town.

She said this branch will have Wi-Fi Internet access, a public fax machine and a copy machine — all new additions at a library expected to serve an average of 30,000 residents a year.

“This one’s nice because of the natural light,” said Housel, noting that the old branch has just one window.

Some shelves from Santa Maria’s old library line the walls of an expanded children’s section.

“We saved it knowing this project would be coming,” Housel said, still surveying the space. “This has been their dream. Orcutt has been a really high-growth area. The community kind of warranted a library a while ago.”

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.

Volunteers will be moving books and furniture into the new Orcutt branch library in Old Town Orcutt this week. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Volunteers will be moving books and furniture into the new Orcutt branch library in Old Town Orcutt this week. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

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.

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 >