Library groups at the Montecito and Carpinteria branches want to study new governance options, and will soon hire a consultant.
Both branches are managed by the city of Santa Barbara system now, and many other branches formerly in that system have left in recent years, citing higher administrative fees.
The Goleta Valley Library went independent and now manages the Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang locations.
The Carpinteria City Council has a library ad hoc committee with two members, Roy Lee and Fred Shaw, and the full council voted on Nov. 21 to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Friends of the Montecito Library and Friends of the Carpinteria Library groups for a consultant study.
The city and Montecito group will fund the study exploring governance options for the branches, including the status quo and forming an independent library zone. The consultant will also study revenue-raising options for the Montecito branch.
Representatives from both libraries, the city, and First District county Supervisor Das Williams’ office are interviewing consultant firms next week, said Pat Saley, head of the Friends of the Montecito Library and a member of the county’s Library Advisory Committee.
The city of Carpinteria and the Montecito branch are splitting the cost of the governance phase of the study, and Montecito is completely funding the second phase, since it regards financial options for only that branch.
“The Montecito and Carpinteria libraries have been very hand-to-mouth, and this is not unique to us,” Saley said.
The libraries cannot keep going to the Board of Supervisors during the budget workshops asking for more money, Saley said — they want to help themselves out of this financial deficit.
“It’s like crying wolf — you can only do that so many times; you have got to figure out how to help yourself,” she said.
Unincorporated library branches, like Montecito’s, receive county and Friends group funding, but do not receive city funding, Saley noted.
The Montecito Branch Library, which is open five days a week, is fundraising for an endowment, and wants to study a variety of money-raising options, such as forming a county service area and having the ability to put a parcel tax on the ballot.
The Carpinteria branch is at 5141 Carpinteria Ave. and the Montecito branch is at 1469 East Valley Road.