The downtown Santa Barbara library will be open every day starting this weekend, and the Eastside neighborhood library will be open later into evening hours. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
The downtown Santa Barbara library will be open every day starting this weekend. The Anapamu Street entrance is still closed for plaza construction, so visitors need to enter through the doors near City Parking Lot 7, off Anacapa Street. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Beginning Sunday, the Santa Barbara Public Library is expanding its hours to be open more days and longer into the evenings, thanks to additional funding from the City Council.

The Central Library will be open seven days a week thanks to the extra staffing.

“We know the lack of Sunday, Monday and evening hours at Central Library was limiting access for many in the community,” Library Director Jessica Cadiente said.

“We’re thrilled to have the support of City Council to extend hours to make it more convenient for families, professionals and those with less flexible schedules to visit the library in order to access our collections and services or attend educational programs and events.”

Starting Sunday, the Central Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

With the new hours for the Eastside Library, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

“Prior to the pandemic, we were operating on razor-thin margins for staffing on evenings and weekends, and anytime people were sick, on vacation or we had a vacancy, it was challenging to cover all service points and continue the behind-the-scenes projects that are critical to a well-functioning library, like managing collections, grant-writing, statistics and reporting, and staff development,” Library Services Manager Molly Wetta said.

“Now, with the additional funding allocated by City Council, we have more full-time staff that can provide a higher level of service, and will have more stability in staffing, as hourly positions frequently turn over.”

Wetta said the library has hired another full-time circulation supervisor and six library technicians at the Central Library, as well as another library technician at the Eastside Library.

With the Central Library open seven days a week, library staff said physical items will remain in the hold shelf for seven days. 

There also will be some changes to renewals beginning Saturday, with physical items eligible for one automatic renewal if no one else has reserved the item. After the automatic renewal, library users can manually renew an item two additional times by logging into their online account or contacting library staff.

Items can be renewed three times before they’re due back to any Santa Barbara Public Library location: the Central Library downtown at 40 E. Anapamu St., the Eastside Library at 1102 E. Montecito St. and the Montecito branch at 1469 East Valley Road. The Goleta Valley Library went independent several years ago, and it is no longer part of the Santa Barbara Public Library system.

“(The expanded hours) means the library will be open during first Thursdays for receptions for the Faulkner Gallery, that students will have study space in the evenings, individuals will be able to pick up holds when it is convenient for their schedule, and we have plans to add an evening Baby and Me early literacy class for working parents,” Wetta said. “These are just some of the highlights of what having expanded open hours will mean for the community.”

Wetta added that there will be even more opportunities for community education once construction at the Central Library is complete.

The Anapamu Street entrance to the building is still closed for construction on the Michael Towbes Library Plaza project, so library visitors need to enter through the doors near City Parking Lot #7 off Anacapa Street.

More information on the library and its programming, such as classes and events, can be found on its website here.