by City Manager Ken Striplin
A NEW CHAPTER FOR SANTA CLARITA PUBLIC LIBRARY
Our top priority here at the City is to enhance the quality of life for Santa Clarita residents, and it is this priority that helps to frame all of our decisions. Among our most effective services in term of quality of life enhancement are those provided by the Santa Clarita Public Library. The Santa Clarita Public Library is a vital resource in our community. Our three library branches in Canyon Country, Newhall and Valencia provide a free and safe gathering place for our residents to read, explore new interests, access technology, develop new skills, access business development tools and participate in educational programs.
The City of Santa Clarita assumed responsibility for public library services in 2011, with the goal of improving library services for the Santa Clarita community by focusing our resources locally. Over the past seven years we have succeeded in improving and expanding public library services. We have made library services better; it is now our goal to make Santa Clarita Public Library one of the best.
At the January 9, 2018, City Council meeting, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to approve the transition of the Santa Clarita Public Library from outsourced staffing by a private contractor to in-house staffing with City-hired employees. This transition will take effect July 1, 2018, and is an exciting change that will benefit the community in a variety of ways.
As library patrons you will not notice any drastic visual changes, however, behind-the-scenes operations will be more effective and you’ll soon notice improvements in the quality of our services and resources. This is because the transition to an in-house operation will result in more control over the purchasing of books and circulation, and library staff will be City staff who will work to uphold the City’s philosophy statement of providing excellent customer service with a humanistic approach.
The City’s goal is to increase the library collection and circulation, and improve the quality of the book selection. By improving the collection development and acquisition process, we also believe the need for interlibrary loans will decrease. But don’t worry, the remaining interlibrary loan needs will be fulfilled through our participation in the Southern California Library Cooperative, which partners with public libraries throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
It is understandable if you’re a loyal Santa Clarita Public Library customer, you may be concerned about the employment of some of your favorite librarians. We are fortunate to have a wonderful library staff that is passionate about the work they do.
This change is an exciting opportunity for those who apply and are selected for positions to stay with the Santa Clarita Public Library and become City employees. Compared to the current contracted structure, the City will provide a higher staffing level with competitive pay and benefits structure. This will also allow us to attract and retain talented public library professionals. As a result, we expect less turnover and more stability in the ranks of our library staff.
This is important to both library staff and our patrons. Highly motivated and committed staff cultivates more efficiency, a productive workplace and longer retention, thus resulting in higher quality services for our community.
As part of the new City employee staff, 30 full-time library jobs will open: one city librarian; three library administrators; three senior librarians; 13 librarians; and 10 library assistants. We’re excited to attract and retain passionate library workers who will help us grow our services. More information on these positions will be posted on the City’s website at santa-clarita.com/jobs. In addition, once the staffing transition is complete we will analyze the options for ongoing public input and citizen advisory.
The library transition to a City-operated service will benefit everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley, not just those residing within our city limits. Did you know many users of Santa Clarita Public Library live in Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, Sunset Point, Southern Oaks and Westridge?
The mission of the Santa Clarita Public Library is to bring people, information and ideas together to educate, inspire and enrich the quality of life in our diverse community. As a growing community, the City of Santa Clarita must adapt as needed to ensure the best services are being provided. Transitioning to an in-house service will help the City better deliver on the library mission. We can’t express how ecstatic we are about writing the next chapter for the Santa Clarita Public Library!
City Manager Ken Striplin can be reached at Kstriplin@santa-clarita.com