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Santa Barbara Public Library Granted Control Over Buellton Library

The Santa Barbara Public Library System will soon assume control over the Buellton Library, a Santa Barbara County-funded task that formerly fell to Lompoc.

Taking a cue from a special library advisory board, the county Board of Supervisors voted this month to place the Buellton Library under the care of Santa Barbara’s system, which is also under contract to operate county-owned branches in Carpinteria, Montecito and Solvang.

The shake-up has been considered multiple times over the years — both branches have been with respective operating cities since the early 1900s — but this movement stuck, mostly because Santa Barbara could guarantee Buellton residents more library hours.

It made fiscal sense, Santa Barbara Library director Irene Macias said last week, explaining that the board overseeing both the Lompoc and Buellton libraries had recently given control back to the City of Lompoc.

Because Lompoc planned to raise salaries and hours at both branches, Buellton Library hours would have been cut to 25 from 47, Macias said.

Santa Barbara’s system can keep the Buellton Library open 32 hours, a change that takes effect July 1 after the Santa Barbara City Council approved an official request Tuesday.

The Santa Barbara library system also hopes to provide more programming and access to materials.

“The Buellton Library and the Solvang Library are three miles apart ... but they belonged to different library systems,” Macias said.

“We’re looking forward to serving the community. We have a number of databases and downloadable products that are only available to people who are in our system.”

The Buellton Library closed last weekend in anticipation of the changeover, and will reopen July 1.

The Santa Barbara library system is taking that time to update Buellton’s computerized system, receiving $20,000 for the 2015 fiscal year to cover expected costs with the opening.

The county transferred $35,000 in reserves to the city for the Buellton Library, and Macias expects Lompoc will transfer some remaining reserves as well.

Since the library move came after the Santa Barbara Public Library turned in its proposed 2016-2017 budget, Macias said the system would resubmit the budget, showing expected revenues and appropriations in the amount of $191,000 for Buellton operations.

She said the Solvang and Buellton libraries have similar hours and staffing levels, with one full-time employee and about four other part-timers.

Next week, library staff will go back before the Santa Barbara City Council for a lease agreement request with the City of Buellton, since it owns the Buellton Library building at 140 W. Highway 246.

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.

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