Thursday, October 20 , 2016, 12:39 pm | Fair 84º

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

Local News

Santa Maria Council Backs Los Alamos Library Proposal

City to formally request use of an old facility at Olga Reed Elementary School

The community of Los Alamos moved closer to getting a public library again after the Santa Maria City Council agreed to formally request use of an old facility at Olga Reed Elementary School.

On Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to submit a proposal to the Orcutt Union School District for use of a vacant library building on a corner of the school campus.

“I think a library would certainly be a benefit to the (Los Alamos) community out there,” Councilman Bob Orach said. “It’s a great little community.”

“I’m really excited to see that happening because it needs to be happening,” Mayor Alice Patino said. “As you say, it’s very underserved. A library isn’t what libraries used to be. They just really sort of bring a community together.”

A grassroots effort to reopen a public library began about a year ago in the unincorporated community, and the group has raised $60,000 so far to pay for modifying the facility to comply with the Americans with Disability Act and purchase equipment.

“Two-thirds of that money has been raised locally,” said Vickie Gill, representing Friends of the Los Alamos Library.

The facility on the corner of Helena and Shaw streets formerly housed the Los Alamos Library, which was operated as a county branch by the Santa Maria Public Library from 1966 to 1988.

The city proposes to rent the building to house a county branch library for $1 a year, but the terms would need to be negotiated.

Libraries in the unincorporated communities are operated by cities, using county funding. With the community’s population of 1,890, the allotment for a branch library would add up to approximately $13,000. Santa Maria officials stressed that no city general funds would be used.

The $13,000 would pay for about 12 hours of service each week, similar to the amount of time Cuyama’s library is open.

“It’s a pretty minimal expense actually,” Santa Maria librarian Mary Housel said. “To me, it’s amazing how we do that.”

The value of the library to the community would extend beyond books, several people noted.

Along with books, libraries today provide technological resources for those who don’t have access to computers and Internet access at home.

“It becomes the heartbeat of the community and that’s that we’re looking for,” Gill added.

The city’s action came at the urging of the Orcutt Union School District which obtained a waiver from the State Board of Education regarding requirements related to surplus property.

The waiver allows the state to enter into a lease directly with the city as long  as the district’s board of trustees holds a public meeting to receive proposals for the library building. The school board plans to hold that meeting in August.

The County Library Advisory Committee and Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr have endorsed the efforts to reopen the Los Alamos Library, Housel said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

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 >