The Santa Barbara Public Library is writing a new chapter in its story of how it serves the community.
Staff members are packaging books and mailing them to people’s homes.
After the city closed the libraries because of the COVID-19 crisis, staffers provided curbside book bundle pickup. It was a popular service, but once the stay-at-home order was issued, library officials decided to rewrite the script.
“(It) was an easy pivot for us,” Library Director Jessica Cadiente said. “The Santa Barbara Public Library is always here for its community and this service has been a bright spot for hundreds of people.”
The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation is funding the packaging and delivery of the books. So far, the average cost of the shipment is about $4.50.
“We have received hundreds of requests since we launched the program late last week and people are requesting anything from books to help with college assignments to easy beach reads,” Cadiente said. “Parents are requesting anything that will keep their kids reading. We are seeing requests from parents of early readers who want help getting those reluctant readers started to teens wanting the latest graphic novel.”
People can fill out forms online to request between one and four books. Anyone with a library card can order. The library is only able to ship to addresses in its service area of Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria.
It takes up to 10 business days for processing, depending on the volume of requests, and delivery takes between two and eight business days.
“We have received hundreds of requests and much good will for this service,” Cadiente said.
Cadiente said generally crews are able to fit four picture books or two thicker hardcover fiction or nonfiction titles into each package.
Cadiente is asking people to keep the books until the library re-opens.