By Janene Scully

Noozhawk North County Editor

Branch libraries in Solvang and Buellton could turn a page to become part of the Goleta Library system in 2019, a change welcomed by the two small cities.

City councils in Buellton and Solvang voted recently for the Goleta Library to take over management of the two Santa Ynez Valley facilities, a role that had been handled by the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

Specifically, the two cities will ask Santa Barbara County to move their facilities into Zone 4, managed by Goleta, instead of Santa Barbara’s Zone 1. 

Solvang Councilwoman Joan Jamieson said at a recent meeting that the switch would benefit both cities.

“There’s been no transparency whatsoever” from the Santa Barbara system, she said.

The Goleta Library staff appeared to be more willing to work with the Santa Ynez Valley cities, Jamieson added.

“I think they will give our library a little more freedom,” Jamieson said minutes before ending her term on the council as new members were sworn in at the December meeting. “We haven’t had freedom to select the books we want. We haven’t had freedom for our librarian to come and make reports, so this could be a breath of fresh air, and I hope the rest of the council agrees with me.”

Solvang resident Shirley Stacy, who serves on the county’s library advisory committee, spoke out in favor of the change. 

“The zone change for the library will make a tremendous improvement in what we’re able to do,” she said. “I think the primary thing is increased communication. It wouldn’t be hard to increase it because there hardly was any before. I think that will make a huge difference.”

She said it remained important for the City Council to continue supporting the Solvang Library. 

The transition also would affect the Los Olivos and Santa Ynez libraries, both of which are associated with Solvang but are run by volunteers with very limited hours and resources and no technology.

Buellton City Council members approved the switch for the branch library that once fell under Lompoc’s management before falling under the Santa Barbara library’s umbrella.

Costs of the management switch for the two cities will be slightly less or about the same, according to draft budgets, and operating hours likely would remain unchanged.

Before choosing to link up with Goleta, Solvang and Buellton officials explored whether to go with the Goleta or Santa Maria library systems when making the move from the Santa Barbara-managed zone. 

Supporting the new partnership, a county study analyzing library services had recommended that Solvang and Buellton join Goleta in Zone 4.

Goleta also fell under the Santa Barbara library zone until 2017, when Goleta pursued independent management of its library. That transition is expected to bring cost savings, greater transparency and control in budgeting for the library’s needs. The transition took effect July 1.

On April 3, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion that Goleta work with Buellton and Solvang to incorporate their libraries into Zone 4 within one year. 

Staff members for the two smaller libraries would be offered jobs with the Goleta system.

The proposal calls for the switch to take effect July 1, 2019, to give the libraries time to implement the assorted changes, such as adding new barcodes to books.

 “The addition of Buellton and Solvang under Goleta management could also represent an opportunity for Goleta to serve as a stronger community and regional partner in the provision of library services,” Goleta city staff said in a recent report to the Goleta council.

The change might give Goleta “a greater voice and presence in the discussion of library-related issues that affect the entire county,” along with the Black Gold Cooperative Service, staff added.

After the Goleta City Council formally approves the transfer, the county Board of Supervisors will need to revise the library zone boundaries to reflect the switch. That step is crucial because the county provides per capita funding to libraries based on the populations of those zones.


Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at