Some local libraries will be leaving the Black Gold Cooperative Library system in a cost-savings effort that officials say will enhance local collections and overall customer experience.
The Black Gold system is currently made up of seven library systems, including 14 libraries with San Luis Obispo Public Libraries and libraries in Paso Robles, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta and Santa Paula.
San Luis Obispo Public Libraries says it’s the biggest financial contributor to Black Gold, but that will end come July 1.
“Unfortunately, the time has come that other jurisdictions, for various reasons, cannot move forward, and—more importantly—are not permitting our jurisdiction to grow and meet the needs of our patrons,” said Library Director Chris Barnickel.
SLO County Libraries sys it has “Strongly advocated for reduced costs and improved local customer experience, but it has been consistently outvoted by the Black Gold Administrative Council on proposed improvements.”
Libraries in the Black Gold system can share the cost of an online catalogue, collections and technology infrastructure.
SLO County Libraries, which includes 14 local libraries throughout the county, says it's confident it can meet the needs of local cardholders without relying on the cooperative and will transition to a separate catalog that’s cost-efficient.
The savings will then be used to enhance local services, build better collections and boost network security measures, according to a press release.
“The landscape of libraries has changed over the years and SLO is in a position to meet the needs of our patrons by reinvesting our funds locally,” Barnickel said.
Anyone who would like to use the Black Gold system can obtain a library card for it.
Santa Barbara Public Library is also leaving the system, adding that it will move to an improved and more contemporary customer experience.
"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," said Santa Barbara Public Library Director Jessica Cadiente.
Due to the change, the Santa Barbara Public Library has suspended the borrowing of materials from other member libraries as it transitions to a new catalog.
For more information on the San Luis Obispo Public Library, click here.
For more information on the Santa Barbara Public Library, click here.