Spotlight on the Montecito Library

By Clara Watson   |   September 28, 2021

Elba Library is believed to have been the oldest library in the world. Historians have concluded it was built around 2500 to 2250 BC in Syria. Although they had giant clay tablets, instead of neatly bound printed paper books, archaeologists still found signs of the tablets being arranged and even classified according to content or size. People alive more than 4,000 years ago knew and recognized the importance of written texts and found a way to establish a working library thousands of years before paper was even invented. To this day, libraries are still a fundamental and integral part of towns all across the world, including this one.

The Montecito Library is a charming facility located on 1469 East Valley Road in Montecito. I’m sure many of you are well acquainted with this elegant building tucked between Union Bank and El Montecito Presbyterian Church. Although it may be small, that doesn’t stop it from having a widely diverse and entertaining catalog of books. The great part is, if the Montecito Library doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, the staff can simply order it from one of our neighboring libraries and have it delivered there.

The library offers free Wi-Fi and internet access on its public computers, as well as engrossing events hosted in the connected hall. Simply can’t wait until home to start reading an intriguing book? No problem. Just curl up in the reading area on an old-fashioned leather armchair and listen to the faint sound of cars passing through the cracked window, while you enjoy the local artwork adorning the walls. The library truly has everything to fulfill all your bookish needs.

My favorite spot in the whole building is the kids’ section. It’s nestled to the left of the front desk and is surprisingly spacious and packed with bodacious brightly colored picture books as far as the eye can see. There’s always some sort of game or puzzle out on the miniature-sized table, as well as teddy bears, toys, and figurines lining the top shelves. Some of my favorite memories were visiting the library after school when I was quite little, basking in row after row of endless possibilities. It was like hunting for treasure, each book seemed more captivating than the last. Even though I’ve outgrown the section, I love to peek in and see new kids laughing and exploring just like I used to. 

It’s comforting to think society has always prioritized free access to knowledge, stories, poetry, literature, art, etc. However, in this modern day and age, I find myself going to the library less and less. With access to what seems to be unlimited eBooks, images, articles, films, and television right in my pocket, what’s the point of going to the library anymore? I think we can all agree there is no substitute for a hardcover, physical, printed book. We all crave that anticipation of turning the next page on a frightening thriller, that satisfaction of snapping the cover closed when you finish a particularly enveloping novel, or the reluctance to place a remarkable book down at its roaring climax. All these sensations aren’t quite the same when reading through a blue-lit screen. Not to mention that very screen is constantly buzzing with distractions. Distractions that zap you out of an immersive dazzling story and right back into a more mundane reality. 

It’s well known that books are an essential part of human life; it has been that way for thousands upon thousands of years. Let’s honor and fulfill that need by visiting the Montecito Library today. The staff are phenomenal and are always open to converse and find you the perfect book to match your mood. In order to keep the library open, they need our support more than ever. The Montecito Library relies on 50% of their funding from donations through the Friends of the Montecito Library ( Any donations would be greatly appreciated and would help keep knowledge and resources open to all.

Now let’s read!


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