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SBPL's “Library on the Go” Outreach Vehicle Delivers More than Just Books to South County Residents without Library Access

The Santa Barbara Public Library will be adding a mobile library branch and hitting the road in 2021 thanks to the generous support of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. With the mission of providing a range of library services to South County residents, SBPL’s Library on the Go will deliver more than just books to those with limited library access.

Over the last three years the Santa Barbara Public Library has made great strides in taking library programs and services out into the community. With pop-up library programming at local schools, senior living facilities, and community events, SBPL staff have been able to provide storytimes for families, book clubs and technology assistance for seniors, and STEAM programming for those not able to make it to any of the Santa Barbara Public Library locations. 

“We’ve been successful at taking some of our regular library programming out into the community, and we have established a number of key community partners,” stated Library Director, Jessica Cadiente, “but we’ve been limited in what we can provide by lack of a dedicated vehicle designed for this purpose.” 

That’s where the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara stepped in with a $100,000 grant, which allowed the Library to move forward with the project. Looking to support early literacy and library services to underserved residents not able to visit the Carpinteria, Eastside, Montecito, or Santa Barbara locations, the Women’s Fund grant enables the library to meet users where they are. 

“A mobile van to store and transport the supplies and technology needed to offer everything from early literacy classes to resume review workshops, plus a browsing collection of popular books will allow us to reach more people more efficiently. It will truly allow staff to recreate the experience of visiting the Library outside of our buildings,” said Cadiente.

The Library on the Go Team will work with community partners and residents to determine weekly stops throughout the Santa Barbara Public Library service area, including the City of Santa Barbara as well as Montecito and Carpinteria. Beyond providing library materials to check out, trained staff will offer Stay and Play programming for children and caregivers, SBPL’s Works! program which helps job seekers find jobs and build workforce readiness skills, and one-to-one technology support for seniors who want to learn how to use their mobile devices. With public health concerns over large gatherings likely to continue for some time, this model will also allow for expanded reach outside the Library’s building. 

“The Foundation has been proud to support the library’s extraordinary efforts to reach out to our community, even through the pandemic. A mobile library van will continue to be an important access point for services, especially for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Director Lauren Trujillo. 

Library on the Go will be visiting a neighborhood near you in summer 2021. The Library thanks the Women’s Fund and the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation for the financial support that enabled this project.

About the Santa Barbara Public Library 

The Santa Barbara Public Library is dedicated to supporting education for all ages through classes and events, building a community of readers, empowering individuals with free access to information, and connecting people to community resources. For more information, visit www.SBPlibrary.org

About the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation

The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation supports the Santa Barbara Public Library by funding large-scale initiatives. To learn more, visit www.sblibraryfoundation.org

About the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is a collective donor group that enables women to combine their charitable dollars and provide significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children, and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. The Women’s Fund is committed to educating and inspiring women to become leaders in philanthropy and demonstrating the impact of collective giving. To learn more, visit www.womensfundsb.org.

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