Obtain your Black Gold Cooperative Library System Library Card.
The first one is FREE!
You must bring your library card or the ID used to sign up for the card, to check out library materials. This card may be used at the following libraries and their branches: Santa Maria Public Library, Lompoc Public Library, Santa Barbara Public Library, San Luis Obispo City/County Library, Blanchard Public Library and Paso Robles Public Library.
Please report lost or stolen cards immediately! You are financially responsible for library materials checked out with your card. There is a $1.00 charge for replacement cards.
Adults must bring a valid government issued picture I.D and something showing their current address (if not on the picture I.D.) in order to apply for a card.
Children (under 18) must have a parent present to sign the library card application. Parents are responsible for children's fines and lost material charges.
Once your application is processed you will be emailed your library barcode number and then you can access online databases and reserve materials. Please read the application form carefully to understand the restrictions and requirements for activation.
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Your library card is your key to borrowing books, audio books, DVDs, compact discs, videos etc. at Santa Maria Public Library. Just present your card and library materials to the staff at the circulation desk. The privacy of your transaction with the library is protected by California Government Code Section 6267.
Don't want to wait in line? You can also check out books yourself with our "express self check out system"!
You may be blocked from check out for excessive fines, overdue items, or other notations on your account. In this event, go to the Registration Desk.
You may renew books and other library materials twice if there are no holds on the items. You can also renew items using the online library catalog under the "view your own record" option, or by calling (800) 354-9660.
You are responsible for:
- Returning borrowed materials within the check out period or paying a fine.
- Returning materials except videos and rental books within the three week check out period.
- Returning rental DVD's within three days.
- Returning videos within seven days.
- Returning rental books within one week.
- Reimbursing the library for lost or damaged materials.
Parents or guardians are financially responsible for items checked out on cards of their children 17 years of age or younger.
The Santa Maria Public Library has over 800 titles in its genealogy collection. We are especially strong in the area of Passenger Lists. In 2007 we added the Santa Maria Valley Genealogical Society's Collection to further enrich our holdings. The collection is housed in the northwest corner of the second floor past the Information desk. Our collection includes many genealogy subjects as well as several magazine titles.
While our collection is most valuable for experienced searchers, we have a variety of resources for beginners. Ancestry.com (Access from within the library only) is the world's largest online family history resource. Through it, you can research census, immigration, military, birth, death and marriage records, and other useful and relevant information sources.
Every Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. a member of the Santa Maria Valley Genealogical Society is available to assist with your research. They are also available by appointment if needed, just stop by the Information desk on the second floor for more details. We can also provide you with free copies of pedigree charts and family record sheets to get you started.
Users can consult a special list of our genealogical holdings arranged by ethnicity or country of origin, geographic regions (counties, states, or country), and/or a list of resources by subject (i.e. census, church records, military records, passenger lists, etc.) or utilize the online public catalog for materials. Patrons can reserve items on the Black Gold Library catalog free of charge, or request items from outside of our library system for $4.00 per item.
Other Internet resources include:
Local History Sources
The Reference Department staff can search for obituaries (for individuals who died in Santa Maria) and local interest articles in the Santa Maria Times by following the guidelines below. We have the newspaper on microfilm dating back to 1882.
What do we need? We will accept either emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or a letter written to the Library address at 421 S. McClelland Street, Santa Maria, CA 93454, attn: Reference Department or faxed to us at: 805-928-8012. We require the following:
- A return address to reply by mail or a fax number -- please include an email address if available
- A two week range of dates to search, but the exact date is always the most helpful
- Limit searches to only three items at one time. Available staff will handle all requests on a first come, first served basis. There is no fee for this service.
The Library also collects many years of the local city directory, telephone books, and high school yearbooks. Please remember to bring in your library card if you would like to view a high school yearbook. Follow the procedure above for these inquires.
The Reference/Information Department includes a vast array of materials for your information needs.
We feature OPAC stations (Online Public Access Catalog) which allow access to the library catalog through several interfaces, as well as a downloadable audio book and e-book service, Overdrive. The OPAC stations also link to many online databases which run products such as encyclopedias; genealogical, biographical, medical and business sources; as well as newspaper and magazine indexes with full-text articles. We also have workstations with access to the Internet, all online databases found on the OPAC stations, and a full suite of Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. We have workstations in our Career Center which have all the resources mentioned above, but are also dedicated to those who need to apply for jobs and fill out online applications. Two of our computer stations are ADA compliant and available for those who are visually or physically challenged.
Your search for library materials will usually begin with the Black Gold Online Public Access Catalog aka OPAC. Books, videos, DVDs, compact discs, book cassettes, and magazines available in all the public libraries within Santa Barbara and San Luis Counties can be found here, as can those materials in Blanchard Public Library in Santa Paula. (Materials found in the Ventura County Public libraries can be accessed by clicking on the Other Libraries link, then the Ventura link under the list of libraries).
There are many programs and services designed to assist working families in California. For information about these important resources visit www.weconnect.net. The website highlights programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), Golden State Advantage Cards, Lifeline Telephone Service, CARE for lower cost gas and electric, California's Low-Cost Auto Insurance, and College Savings Accounts. They provide information on job resources, education and training, money saving tips, coupons, and other resources to help you to achieve your dreams. This website is also available in Spanish at the WE Connect website.
Ancestry.com (Access is available only within the Library) - Discover your ancestors with the world's largest family history website. Start a family tree, browse census records and more online at Ancestry.com.
Basic ESL - Improve your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through a simple to follow, and proven curriculum. Students can learn English quickly and effectively on relevant topics including family, home, school, and more.
Brittanica Escolar - Age-appropriate Spanish-language encyclopedia for elementary and middle school students.
California Missions e-Books - Popular books for children about all California Missions published by Follett in electronic format. eBooks can be viewed online. When prompted, please enter the following Username and Password:
Username: ca missions
Password: ca missions
Please note that users will be automatically logged out after 30 minutes of inactivity.
California State Library Print Disability Web Portal - Free Braille and audio books, magazines, and playback equipment to all eligible Californians unable to read standard print. For assistance with program enrollment, use of the equipment and media, and detail on the assistive technology available in the Santa Maria Main Public Library, call (805) 925-0994 ext. 2503.
Duolingo - A free resource for learning English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and many more languages. Create a profile to save your work. Select your native language and then select the language you wish to learn.
Encyclopedia Brittanica (School edition) - age-appropriate English-language encyclopedias for elementary, middle, and high school.
Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media - A premier media directory containing thousands of listings for radio and television stations, cable companies, print and broadcast media.
Gale Virtual Reference Library - A collection of e-books that are available online on a 24/7 basis. The e-books encompass varied topics including reference and research, and are used/read online. All GVRL titles are accessible from computers within the library, remotely from home (access requires library card), or on portable, handheld devices such as iPads or other tablet computers (also requires library card).
General OneFile - A one-stop source for news, magazine, and periodical articles across a wide range of general interest topics and academic disciplines.
Homework Help Resources
NASA links to free eBooks for adults on NASA Aeronautics, History, and Science; NASA Kids Club and Space Place with Information, activities, lessons, and games for children; NASA Resources for Educators.
NoveList - A fiction reader's advisory database. Find books by the same author, or similar books by another author. Browse by subject, genre, and theme for over 150,000 titles. Reviews, book discussion guides and annotated book lists constantly updated.
Permit Practice Tests - Get ready for your DMV test with these permit practice tests,
read handbooks, and see the California DMV frequently asked questions.
RBdigital – the digital magazine service and the world’s largest newsstand, that offers full color, interactive digital magazines for your enjoyment.
Reference USA -The database product is used for business and consumer research; by job seekers to locate and research companies, students to do research for class projects, movers to find schools, churches, medical care or other services, and others in need of business and consumer reference and research information.
Santa Maria Times - The Santa Maria Times is available on microfilm dating back to April, 1882. The link (available only within the Library) provides access to digital newspapers for 2008-2011 for each day of publication within the date range. The Library retains paper copies through the current date in Reference.
Social Security - Request a replacement Social Security card, apply for Social Security benefits, get your Social Security statement and more, online.
Toucan Social Studies fact cards. Facts Cards cover California, the United States, and World topics included in the social studies curriculum for California students in grades four through eight.
Tuition Funding Sources - a website designed to help students find scholarships, college and career information. Information includes: Scholarships, College Search, Career Guidance, Financial Aid Info, Online Degrees, and Student Loans.
USA Learns - Learn English and prepare for the U.S. Citizenship course.
Veterans Resources: The California Department of Veteran’s Affairs website provides educational, employment, healthcare, housing, advocacy and claims information. See also the California Veteran’s Resource Book, a complete guide to State and Federal resources and benefits.
Access to these databases is FREE in the Reference Services Department.
Santa Maria Public Library's special collections include genealogy, travel, law books, jobs and career information, test books, college research books, car, motorcycle, and truck repair guides, small business resources, and song books.
Some important information is not listed in the OPAC. This includes government documents, pamphlets, telephone books, and microfilms. Library staff also maintains several in house databases such as a local history file consisting of over 8,400 newspaper clippings covering the Santa Maria Valley and the Central Coast region, an obituary file providing access to more than 64,800 records and a local clubs and organizations file. If you can't find something, please ask at the Information Desk upstairs.
Effective July 1, 2014, there will be no charge for holds placed on Black Gold System items. There will however, be a maximum of 10 concurrent holds allowable at any time, for any Black Gold library patron.
If the item you want is on loan to someone else, or not immediately available at your library, you may ask the reference staff to place a hold for you. You may place the hold yourself at the library OPAC or from your home computer via the Internet.
To place a hold on an item, follow these instructions:
- Click the "Request" button at the top of the screen for the title you wish reserve.
- Select the location where you want to pick up the item from the drop down menu.
- Type in your COMPLETE BARCODE NUMBER from your library card and press the tab key.
- Your default password is your last name (unless you have arranged/opted to assign a different one to your patron account).
- Click the "Submit" button
You will be notified when the item is available, either by e-mail or by telephone, depending on which option you selected when you applied for your card, or by updating the information at the Library's Registration Desk. This service is available for both overdue notices and holds notification.
Interlibrary Loans from Outside of Black Gold:
If you need a book that is not available from one of the Black Gold member libraries, you may ask the Reference/Information staff to try to borrow the title from a library outside of the Black Gold System. We can search for it in libraries from all over the country. There is a charge of $4.00 per item, and this fee is payable upon making the request. If we are able to obtain the book for you, we will telephone you when it arrives. The lending periods for these books are often less than the other titles in our collection. Other restrictions required by the lending library may also apply.