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  • A Message From Erica Cuyugan, Director of Library Services


    Dear Library Community,

    As I reflect on 2022 and the opportunities our Library has experienced, I have been thinking about stories. How we tell our stories and weave them into the fabric of our lives. How stories are shared over and over, and how one can recapture a feeling just by telling a particular story.

    This year, many of our library stories center around resilience. We also heard stories about finding joy in learning and reconnecting with each other and our community.


    • There is Perla, our twenty-first graduate from Career Online High School. She received her high school diploma and a career certificate in Hospitality and Leisure, which will help her in her current position as a receptionist for a hotel. 
    • Celine, who told us that she successfully voted for the very first time in the United States and was grateful for the help and resources she received from our literacy team.
    • Theo, a student who was involved in our Tech. Teen program, shared news that he started M.I.T. He thanked our staff for supporting him through the program and providing a great recommendation letter, confident that this experience helped him get in. 
    • A senior resident at Greenway Meadows checked out our new Read, Engage, Discover (RED) Kit for Technology and received help with his assignments for a Santa Monica College class. Through this RED Kit pilot program, seniors enjoyed reviewing, discussing, and learning new technology, gardening and baking skills, and how to improve brain health.


    We have woven our experiences together to create a rich tapestry of hope. To me, that’s what it’s all about—why I love being part of this Library and this City. We have connected and broadened our worlds by lifting each other up, cheering each other on, and learning from one another.

    By this point in 2021, we had reopened the Pico Branch to in-person service, while maintaining in-person services at the Main Library. We evaluated a new self-service model, Open+, at the Ocean Park Branch and transitioned to a new integrated library system to enhance the user experience.

    Our journey to restoration continued in 2022. Thanks to support from our Library Board and City Council, we removed library overdue fines for all cardholders. We expanded library hours by 43%--from 81 hours per week in to 116 hours per week. We re-opened our fourth and final branch location, Fairview, with Open+ self-service. We welcomed more staff members back, restored Saturday service at two branch locations and expanded evening hours.

    I am proud of the way we are steadily restoring services and programs, even as we struggle through economic and staffing challenges. The many services and programs you experienced this year are thanks to support from our Friends of the Library and our Library team, whose creativity, hard work, and dedication to our community keep us moving forward. When you visit or call, please tell us what you think. Your feedback helps us grow and restore in ways that matter to you.

    Santa Monica, your Library is here for you, and we are listening. We look forward to being part of the fabric of your life.

    Happy New Year,
    Erica Cuyugan
    Director of Library Services
    Santa Monica Public Library 


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