At its meeting on April 7, 2020, the Goleta City Council approved moving forward with a plan to provide satellite public library services in Isla Vista. The City of Goleta manages the Goleta Valley Library, which serves as the regional main library for the City of Goleta, Isla Vista, Hope Ranch, unincorporated areas of the Goleta Valley, and the Gaviota Coast. The satellite services will be made possible through $200,000 in state funding secured by Assemblymember Monique Limón for a pilot program.
Library Director Allison Gray said, “Without this funding, we would not be in a financial position to offer the wonderful variety of programming we are interested in providing.”
Members of the County Board of Supervisors have long expressed interest in enhancing the satellite services already provided in Isla Vista. While many Isla Vista residents use the main library, others, particularly those without transportation, find it challenging to access services in the Goleta location.
Under the plan approved by the City Council, the Library will purchase a cargo van with an awning which will be staffed 40 hours per week. The van will bring a full slate of Goleta Valley Library programming, such as craft programs, reading events, and story times, into the Isla Vista community. The van will also be able to deliver items to Isla Vista that have been placed on hold over the internet, phone, or in person.
Book vending machines and book drops located in various places throughout Isla Vista will make check outs and returns easy. Ten little libraries, including some serving the Latinx community, will be strategically placed and kept stocked in housing facilities and other locations. Building on a pilot program already in place, Pop-Up Library devices will allow free downloads of e-books, periodicals, and other materials, with or without a library card.
The Library hopes to begin services in the fall. State funds are expected to keep the services going through March 2022, after which another source of funding would need to be identified to continue them.
The Isla Vista Community Services District will be a key partner in the effort. Formed by voters in 2016, the Community Services District has offered physical space in their facilities and staff support for community outreach and marketing.
Ms. Gray said, “We plan to start by offering library services and programming three days a week in a space provided by the Isa Vista Community Services District.” She added, “We will be working with the Community Services District to identify programming that appeals to college students, who make a up large portion of our patrons and potential patrons in this area.”
Pictured: Book vending machine