Archive » July 5, 2012
Celebration at Central Library
By Alonzo Orozco, Contributing Writer
Once again, the community of Santa Barbara can begin Monday mornings seeking new knowledge, as the Central Library opened its doors downtown at the beginning of the work week for the first time in two years.
The branch which had been opened on Mondays for 60 years prior to its recent closing because of budgetary restraints, celebrated its reopening Monday, July 2, with mayor Helene Schneider on hand, along with a couple of other city council members and a district county supervisor. Amidst a flurry of excitement, the mayor cut the red ribbon, completing the long-awaited reopening that was quickly followed by an array of balloon animals, kids and adults with freshly face-painted masks and masses of soap bubbles floating into the sky.
“The city council and mayor actually approached us back in January, asking us to come up with a schedule to reopen the Eastside Library on Mondays,” says Scott Love, Library Services manager. Then, on Feb. 14, the reopening of the Eastside branch would soon become a reality, as city council voted in favor of having the library open for four hours on Mondays which began in March. “It was something (the re-opening of the libraries on Mondays), I know that we as the council had high up on our priority list,” claimed Schneider of the momentous event.
However, the new, expanded hours were not just the result of setting priorities. “The sales tax and TOT (Transit Occupancy Tax) have been very good – for over a year now they have been exceeding projection,” said Love, explaining a couple of the reasons behind the city’s unexpected revenue, which has helped in bringing library operations back to normal. According to Love, locals missed the convenience of having the library open on Mondays; as the one or two employees that happen to work on that day have had to turn families away at the door on numerous occasions, informing them of the unpleasant news that the branch is closed.
But the library also gets its share of out-of-towners that take advantage of the library’s many services. Tourists will often drop by to check their emails or print files, using the free WiFi now offered. It’s also a good venue for job seekers to explore the Internet, hoping to land that new career.
Earlier in the year, down the coast, the City of Carpinteria restored its Monday hours. Meanwhile, the City of Solvang is hoping to do the same, as The Friends of the Library of the Santa Ynez Valley are looking into obtaining funds from private sources to also realize this goal. Although the Central Library had to shorten its days from Monday through Thursday, closing at 7 p.m. instead of 8, it will now be open seven days a week.
The new hours of the Central Library are: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. With the possibility of a renovation in the not-so-distant future (SY Valley Journal article, July 21, 2011), it’s hard to resist wanting to be enlightened on a daily basis.