A Year in Review with the Santa Clarita Public Library

The Old Town Newhall library. Dan Watson/The Signal
The Old Town Newhall library. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita Public Library has what you need for your next adventure – whether that’s exploring a universe of stories, brushing up on your technology skills or researching Santa Clarita’s local history. It has always been the mission of our Santa Clarita Public Library to bring people, information and ideas together to educate, inspire and enrich the quality of life in our diverse community. In July of last year, a new chapter began for the Santa Clarita Public Library that would allow us to better deliver on our mission. We transitioned from outsourced staffing by a private contractor to in-house staffing with City-hired employees.

Although on the surface the change may not have appeared drastic, this transition benefited the community in many ways. Now looking back over the past 12 months, here are some exciting updates that have taken place since the official transition.

Since every Santa Clarita Public Library staff member is now a City employee, we can expect longer retention, which translates to an investment in the work they do and a willingness to uphold the City’s philosophy statement of providing excellent customer service with a humanistic approach. We also hired a new City Librarian and three Library Administrators to guide staff in providing the best public library services for the community.

In October of last year, the Library opened its first-ever Passport Acceptance Facility. Located on the second floor of the Old Town Newhall Library, the new facility offers passport services to library customers by appointment including first-time passports, passport renewals, replacements and photos. I’m excited to share that a second Passport Acceptance Facility recently opened at our Valencia Library branch.  

If you have visited any of our branches lately, you may have noticed our brand new, modern and convenient self-checkout stations. The new touch-enabled screen machines offer new features, such as the ability to securely pay fines and printing fees with a chip-enabled credit card. Each branch also has a station that is ADA compliant, so the service is accessible to all library patrons.  

We have also vastly improved the speed of the Library’s internet connection. Earlier this year, we connected to the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity 3,800-mile fiber-optic network operated by CENIC. The high-speed broadband connection has increased our Library’s internet speed tenfold, from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gigabit), allowing you to get your work done efficiently. This connection services public computers at all branches, including personal computer devices used by customers.

Transitioning in-house has also allowed us more control over behind-the-scenes operations, such as the selection of books and materials to be added to our library circulation. I’m pleased to share that you can expect to see more on our bookshelves as the City Council recently approved an increase of $200,000 to the Library’s materials budget, totaling $1 million annually – the highest we’ve had since the Library was established in 2011. We are excited to be able to provide more for our community of readers, be it children’s books or electronic resources such as audiobooks.

It’s an exciting time for our Santa Clarita Public Library, and we’ve had a wonderful year full of enriching educational programs and newly added services. To learn more about the Santa Clarita Public Library and what’s to come, please visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com, or call (661) 259-0750.

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