Hey, Santa Barbara!

TLDR version: I’m moving to Santa Barbara, California!

santa barbara

Last July, I went and stayed with my brother for two weeks in July. We had a long weekend in Newport Beach over the Independence Day weekend with family, then I camped out at his place in Burbank and mostly worked on homework for the summer class I was taking. But he took a day off during the week and said, “let’s do a day trip—where do you want to go?”

My immediate thoughts were: beach and wineries. So scouting out places that were about an hour from his place, I decided on Santa Barbara, which had an urban wine trail and a beautiful beach.

Little did I know how much this decision, almost one year ago, would change my life.

I fell in love with the coastal town. It has a vibrant downtown, we had lunch at a wonderful Mexican restaurant, we did tastings at a few wineries, and spent the afternoon lazing about on a mostly secluded beach reading books.

When we got home to his apartment in Burbank, I said, “I want to retire in Santa Barbara.”

He said, “Why don’t you just move there now?”

At that point, we knew my sister was moving to Northern California by the end of the year, and so the draw of being close to my siblings and weekend brunches and camping trips had a lot of appeal.

“Seriously. See if the library is hiring,” he said.

He actually pulled up the website for me, and sure enough, they had an opening for a youth services librarian position. When I got to looking, they’d just remodeled and opened a brand new children’s floor, and it looked like an exciting place to work. I applied more for fun than anything else, figuring I had nothing left to lose.

santa barbara public library

Months went by and I didn’t hear anything, then a phone interview, then a hastily purchased plane ticket for an in person interview, then nothing for what seemed like forever…

and I didn’t get that position. But they really liked me, and said they anticipated other openings…

Fast forward to this spring, and they did have an opening for a newly created position: programming and marketing librarian. Even though I have a concentration in librarianship for children and young adults, I’ve found that programming and marketing are really where my interests currently are. Only a couple weeks went by, and they were trying to schedule another interview, but it was just days before I was scheduled to go to Book Expo America and then vacation for two weeks. Plus, it was the day before Mother’s Day, and my brother was en route home and I wouldn’t have been able to stay with him, get a ride from the airport, borrow his car to go to Santa Barbara, etc.

library window

Instead, I did an interview over Skype, and then while I was in Chicago for BEA got the call that I just needed to do a background check. Luckily I already had the trip to California booked, and luckily I passed the FBI background check (I’ve never had more than a parking ticket, but of course I’m still nervous…).

Long story short, while I was staying with my brother, and on the evening before my birthday, they offered me the position.

santa barbara

Wow, was it a hard decision to leave. I hadn’t been actively searching for a new job (really, this is the only one I’ve applied for in like four years). I love Lawrence, and it’s very comfortable here. My co-workers are awesome. I could not work with a more laid back and fun group of people. And I feel like the library is really progressive and doing great things in the community.

But I’ve also felt a bit stir crazy lately. I work mostly at my desk, on the computer, which was what I hated about my career before going into libraries. I love collection development, and I’m really good at collection management, but what I get really excited about is going to visit the high schools for book club, helping a mom figure out how to download audiobooks for her son, or sharing great content online that gets people excited about the library. Those were all things I do at LPL, but weren’t technically in my job description.

And let’s face it, there was no potential for upward mobility in a job that I’m well suited for at LPL.

And politics in Kansas have had me seriously depressed.

I had the best (THE BEST) time with my brother and his wife, and living near them would be a dream.

Not to mention, I’ll be working 10 blocks from the beach.

santa barbara beach

This is a huge leap for me. I’ve never lived outside of Kansas. But everything just fell together, and it feels right.

I have the heart of a Midwesterner. I’m a Jayhawk through and through. But I’m going to be heading west to see if what adventures I can have on the California coast.

Wish me luck!

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  • Kelly Jensen

    exciting! congrats!

  • I know I’ve already ALL CAPS reacted to this news on Twitter, but seriously: CONGRATULATIONS BECAUSE THIS IS SO EXCELLENT AND EXCITING!!! And welcome to California. 🙂

  • How exciting!! Congratulations on the new job, and it sounds like it will be such an amazing adventure. What a gorgeous location too–this Kansas girl is a little jealous of your proximity to the beach!! Can’t wait to hear more about it!