With a Little Help From My Friends (at the Montecito Library)

By Giving List Staff   |   October 28, 2021

Libraries across America enjoy the support of friend groups for funding support, whether it’s for a reading room, an embellished summer reading program for kids, or the replacement of outdated computers. But traditionally that funding is supplementary to their operational needs. “These tend to be capital projects that are the whipped cream and cherry on top of the pie,” says Patricia Saley, the President of the Friends of the Montecito Library. “The pie is supplied by the municipality.”

In Montecito, the Friends of the Montecito Library exists to ensure there is still a whole pie to serve to the community. Every year the organization founded in 1975 gives the County a grant of $125,000. The donation guarantees the Montecito Library stays open a full five days per week. Without the grant, the library might only operate part time. “That would be really tragic because as you cut back days, people just give up and don’t go to the library anymore,” Saley says.

The annual grant, though, is merely a stopgap solution, Saley explains. The real goal is to put in place a long-term funding and organizational plan that ensures the Montecito Library stays open full time, forever. And part of the plan is to show people that at libraries, “books are just the beginning,” Saley says.

The Montecito Library’s patrons trend a little older than other libraries, but it serves all ages, with facilities filled with laptops and internet hotspots and a calendar stocked with courses that teach how to use technology and discussion groups on a variety of topics that change with the times. After the 2018 Montecito mudslides, for instance, the library offered classes showing how to save books that had succumbed to water damage.

“They do a really good job of keeping up with the times,” Saley says. “People may perceive libraries as these stodgy places, but they’re much more vibrant and topical than you and I might think of when we were kids.”


Friends of the Montecito Library

Donate now!

(805) 242-3688
President: Patricia Saley


The Friends of the Montecito Library is a charitable nonprofit 501 (c)(3) community organization founded in 1975 to support the Montecito Library. Our goal is to raise funds to support the Library to be open six days a week from 10 am to 5:30 pm. In 2011, the Friends had 237 donors and served over 4,000 patrons. The library loaned over 115,000 items.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

Potential funders know that we are not just trying to solve the here and now. We’re trying to make it better in the future so we can guarantee that the Montecito Library is going to be open a minimum of five days per week, forever.
Patricia Saley
President of Friends of the Montecito Library

A Library for All Ages

Many people are surprised to learn that up to half of the operating costs of the Montecito Library are covered by donated funds. Donations ensure that the Montecito Library maintains a regular schedule, provides a variety of programs, offers many different books, and keeps its doors open for the long term. The Montecito Library offers services for all ages such as tech support, community safety information and the ever-popular Story Time. The Montecito Library is truly the heart of the Montecito community and the busiest library per capita in the county. It’s where books are just the beginning.

Key Supporters

Keith Berry
T. C. Boyle
Ricardo and Dinah Calderon
Candace Dauphinot and
Richard Brumm
Fannie Flagg
G. A. Fowler Foundation
Justine and Josiah Hamilton
Hatchett Family
Jackson Family Foundation
Lee Luria
Carole MacElhenny
Bill and Pat MacKinnon
Manitou Foundation
Marie Morrisroe
Marshall Family
John (Jock) and
Ellen Pillsbury
Bayhurst Foundation
Penny Ridgway
Jerry and Joan Rocco
Siemens Family
Spivey Family
Peter and Debbie Stalker
Susan Grimes Sweetland
Watson Family