Santa Maria announced on June 24 that the Santa Maria Public Library and its county-wide branches will start offering no-contact sidewalk pick-up services beginning on June 29. Normal library operations remain closed due to public health orders.
“We were able to get approval from the city manager’s office to offer the sidewalk service,” Librarian Joanne Britton said. “People will be able to come to the cafe in the library and check out books through the window” at the main library location.
The libraries located in Santa Maria, Orcutt, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, and Cuyama will all offer the new service with varying hours. Santa Maria patrons can use the service Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Orcutt branch will be open Mondays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays, 2 to 6 p.m. Guadalupe will be available Tuesdays, noon to 5 p.m. Los Alamos is Wednesdays for 1 to 5 p.m. The Cuyama branch is slated for Mondays, 2 to 4 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 to 5 p.m.
FILE PHOTO BY KASEY BUBNASH
BOOK IT Santa Maria Public Library and its affiliated branches will now offer no-contact book pick-up service.
“Quite a few staff have continued to work since the closure because library materials are sort of like the mail, they never really stop,” Britton said. “We’ve been allowing people to return items to book drops and then moving items around between the branches, but we had not been approved to do the sidewalk service until just this week.”
Britton said that this new service will be operated by the same staff that have continued working through the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the closure, all limited service staff were furloughed.
If the county’s health order moves from Stage 2 into Stage 3, the library’s ability to fully reopen and get things back to “normal” could improve depending on how funding gets hammered out.
The city originally proposed a budget
that would keep the library shuttered through September, but Santa Maria City Council members ultimately voted
to delay some capital funds projects and use the money for the library, the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center, and the Mayor’s Youth Task Force.
Santa Maria Public Information Officer Mark van de Kamp said that the city has not yet finalized which projects will be delayed, nor how the funding will be distributed between these three areas.
“We are prioritizing the capital projects by need,” van de Kamp said.
He added that the delayed capital projects will likely be maintenance projects to city facilities that were already deferred in the past. The projects will simply be further deferred, allowing that budgeted money to go to the library, pool, and youth task force instead.
Britton said that library guests interested in using the new pick-up services can choose from the books available at all five of the branches, and can also receive the book at any of the five locations. Instructions for placing holds can be found on the library’s website, cityofsantamaria.org/library, or by calling the library.
“People have been calling daily and emailing us, so we’re just really thrilled to finally be able to offer what we can,” Britton said. “We do have summer reading going on right now as well, so I think it will encourage people to actually participate in that. We have also bolstered our electronic collections. We’re just happy to get back to business in this new way.” ∆