Santa Barbara Public Library to Leave the Black Gold Library Cooperative in Order to Provide an Improved Customer Experience

Authored on
January 24, 2022

Santa Barbara Public Library is transitioning to a new, progressive Library catalog in FY23 to improve the customer experience, generate better statistical data, offer a convenient experience for Spanish-speaking patrons, and to generate cost savings that can be invested in the community. In order to implement these changes, Santa Barbara will not be renewing its membership in the Black Gold Library Cooperative.

As a member of Black Gold Library Cooperative, SBPL has been a strong advocate for all member libraries to transition to a new catalog system that would improve statistical reporting, allow for more customization by individual library jurisdictions, improve the user experience, and reduce costs. Black Gold Administrative Council makes decisions based on majority rule and these proposals have been outvoted.

“Change was needed in order to provide the extent of services we wanted to offer our patrons and our vision was at odds with the direction the other Black Gold Member Libraries wanted to take,” explained Library Director Jessica Cadiente.

Not renewing membership in Black Gold is in the best interests of Santa Barbara Public Library in terms of both costs and operational efficiency.

Ultimately, this change will have a positive impact on SBPL patrons. After San Luis Obispo, SBPL has the highest collection budget and purchases the most new print materials annually. SBPL is confident that it can support the ongoing needs of the Santa Barbara community without relying on books from other Black Gold Library Cooperative jurisdictions. In fact, the improved statistical reporting of the new catalog will allow staff to pinpoint which collections, topics, and genres are of most interest locally. Currently, there is no way to distinguish between materials being borrowed by local patrons versus loaned to neighboring jurisdictions.

“Anecdotally, we know that Santa Barbara readers have specific and unique interests not necessarily shared by residents elsewhere. The new catalog has an easy to use purchase suggestion function, and staff will be actively monitoring collection usage and inviting feedback from patrons in order to build collections that meet the needs of our community,” Cadiente said.

To facilitate the transition to the new catalog, borrowing materials from other member libraries has been suspended this week.

Additionally, as SBPL will not be a member of Black Gold, any patron may obtain a library card from any Black Gold member library, just as they can from any library in the state of California.

The Santa Barbara Public Library provides a wide array of services to support community education and access to information including:

  • an Adult Literacy Program, which trains tutors to work one-on-one with individuals to improve their reading, writing, and spelling ability in Spanish and English;
  • Library on the Go to provide increased community access to library services and materials
  • SBPL Works!, a workforce development program that assists job seekers with job search strategies, interview practice, resume and applications, as well as classes to improve job skills;
  • business classes and support;
  • local history archives and research assistance;
  • innovative early literacy and school readiness programs;
  • parent and caregiver education; student and teacher support;
  • science, technology, engineering, arts, and math enrichment programs for youth;
  • teen internship and volunteer opportunities; social service support and resource navigation; computers, wireless internet, and technology assistance;
  • arts and culture programming, like our Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month event series;
  • and more, in addition to access to a wide variety of digital and online databases and learning platforms and print and physical media collections.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library online at SBPLibrary.org for information about programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.



Contact Info

(805) 962-7653

Shelly Cone, Public Information Officer