March 21, 2014

Librarian Q&A: Santa Barbara Public Library


Jace Turner is the Supervising Librarian at Santa Barbara Public Library.

Jace Turner is the Supervising Librarian at Santa Barbara Public Library.

The Santa Barbara Public Library is located in a city where the average annual rainfall is only about 15 inches per year, and the temperature never seems to fall out of the to 60s all year. But the spectacular weather doesn’t deter patrons from coming inside to visit the beautiful main library branch, which was designed in 1924 by architect Carleton Winslow in the Italiante style. When I visited, I walked up the stairs to the second floor and found Supervising Librarian Jace Turner, who discovered Melville House books at the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim in 2012. He agreed to answer some questions as part of my ongoing Librarian Q&A series as I made my way up the West Coast last month.

Claire: Tell me about your role at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Jace: As Supervising Librarian, I oversee the Reference and Technical Services units for the Santa Barbara Public Library System. Areas of responsibility include collection development, adult programming, and digital services.

Claire What are your favorite things to read personally?

Jace: Poetry, literary fiction & nonfiction, and Eastern philosophy

Claire: What is unique about the Santa Barbara Public Library?

Jace: Our library system prides itself on assessing community needs and providing services and programs that assist library patrons in navigating their lives—ranging from family literacy, children’s programming, and basic computer training, to makerspace and technology workshops. Taking advantage of Santa Barbara’s literary community, our libraries also offer a number of reading groups and author talks.

Claire: Why are libraries important?

Jace: Libraries inspire, celebrate the ordinary and extraordinary, and facilitate collaboration and community connections; libraries model green living (reduce, reuse, recycle) and promote life-long learning; libraries empower and provide direction to those striving to lead more meaningful lives.

Claire: How are libraries changing?

Jace: Libraries are constantly evolving around the needs of their communities. For example, meeting the expectations of the growing group of our users seeking digital and mobile convenience, more of our library collections and services are going virtual. While at the same time, recognizing that there are still many library patrons who are at the threshold of the digital divide, our libraries offer a range of technology trainings. It is not so much the content or services that are changing, as it is the formats and methods of delivery that are ever-changing.


Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.