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Grand Opening: Ribbon Cutting Party a Fabulous Success!

Five hundred ice creams and lemonades were gone within an hour at the Grand Opening on September 13th! The Library’s Faulkner Gallery and entrance lobby filled to overflowing as Mayor Helene Schneider and Congresswoman Lois Capps cut the red ribbon to officially open the Children’s Library and improved main Library floor.

From facepainting, caricature, juggling, and balloon art to  music, singing, dance, and Zoo-to-You, children young and old enjoyed an afternoon packed with entertainment. Naturally, children and their families could also listen to stories, and meet some of their favorite story book characters.

The brand new Library proved a hit for all ages with books flying off the shelves, computers streaming alphabet games, and puzzles, blocks and bricks in action in busy little hands. A better opening on such a lovely Santa Barbara day would be hard to imagine! THANK YOU to all who made it such a success!

Children’s Library Opportunity Prize Drawing

THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the Children’s Library Prize Drawing! Winners were drawn at the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on September 13th. Click here to see the top prizes. Thank you, too, to the many local business owners and managers who contributed prizes:

NeckKandy – Carolyn Merovick, Montecito Inn, Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Emily Hart-Roberts Photography, Upham Hotel, Macy’s


Olio e Limone Restaurant, Fig Grill, PizzaRev (Paseo Nuevo), Fine Fabrics, Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, Paper Source, Whole Foods Market, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Mother Sterns Candy Co. Evelyn Jacob, Pierre Lafond, Nugget Bar & Grill


Granada Theatre, Ensemble Theatre Company, Peanuts Maternity & Kids, Rusty’s Pizza Parlors

Metropolitan Theatres Corp.

Ann Chevrefils, Wolfgang Hietzke, Mary Chidester

Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond, Coffee Cat

Jedlicka’s Saddlery, Grassini Family Vineyard

Salt Caves Spa & Shop, Green Star Coffee


Goleta School of Ballet, Lassen’s (Magnolia Center)

Trader Joe’s (De la Vina St.), Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum


Southcoast Railroad Museum, Granada Books

Art Essentials, Chaucer’s Bookstore, Circle B Bar Guest Ranch


Santa Barbara Zoo, Mesa Café, Chocolats du Cali Bresson

Crushcakes & Cafe (SB), Blenders

Cleveland Students Raise Money for Downtown Children’s Library

Santa Barbara Unified School District eNews: 

On April 24, the students of the Cleveland A-OK Program visited the Santa Barbara Public Library to present a donation to the new children’s library under construction at the central branch. The students raised $115 for the children’s library campaign. Upon request, Union Bank then matched these funds for a total donation of $230. In turn, that total of $230 was matched by the Cheeryble Foundation for a grand total of $460 to the children’s library campaign.

Challenged to devise a way to give back to the community that supports the students, Cleveland ASES/A-OK program collected pennies and other coins over several weeks. In reviewing which charity to support they decided to support their local library, especially the Santa Barbara Public Library Childrens’ Department, which has visited Cleveland several times to host the Reading Ambassadors Program.

Representatives from each grade level and A-OK Site Coordinator Steve Fancher were offered an exclusive tour of the new space under construction as the bottom floor of the library becomes the new children’s library in June 2015. The students presented their check to Senior Librarian-Youth Services Gwen Wagy.

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The Children’s Library Project Has Begun!

Work began Monday, February 23 on the long-awaited Children’s Library on the lower level of the Santa Barbara Central Library.

The project will transform the former Periodicals Room and Townley Room into a 6,000 square foot space devoted to children’s books and other materials, reading nooks and homework tables, computers for reading and play activities, and an area just for storytimes and other children’s programs.

The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation has raised 75% of the goal of $5,624,000 for the project, with significant funding from the City, and is seeking the remaining funds needed. Construction is expected to be completed this summer. The move of the Children’s department to the lower floor will free up space on the main level to accommodate the Adult Literacy center, a computer lab, and a redesign of service desk and work areas, as well as book displays. The Library continues to be open its regular hours during construction.

Children’s Library Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign

Kitty and Dave Peri have been going to the Santa Barbara Public Library’s downtown branch for almost 70 years — as children, with their children, and now, gleefully, with their grandchildren. So when they heard the library was planning to remodel its small children’s section, Kitty and Dave donated before the fundraising campaign even began. “This library holds our childhood memories,” said Kitty, “and it’s an excellent cause.”

On Friday night, the library held a fundraising event, and the Peris donated an additional $1,000. Over 150 people filled the basement of the downtown branch — the Children’s Library’s future location — and raised $150,000 toward the $1.7 million still needed for the $5.6 million remodel.

 Irene Macias, Mayor Helene Schnieder, Children's Library Campaign Committee member Jim Jackson, and Dianne Duva with the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Board

Irene Macias, Mayor Helene Schnieder, Children’s Library Campaign Committee member Jim Jackson, and Dianne Duva with the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Board

Photo by Paul Wellman

Irene Macias, Mayor Helene Schnieder, Children’s Library Campaign Committee member Jim Jackson, and Dianne Duva with the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Board

“The Children’s Library is something that we’ve dreamed about for many years,” said Library Director Irene Macias. “In fact, when the library was remodeled in 1980 and the Children’s Library sort of got short shrift, there was a big outcry in the community. But about four years ago, we decided to just raise the funds and reach out to the community.”

Construction on the new library will begin in the next couple weeks and is scheduled to be completed this summer, hopefully in time for the summer reading program, said Macias.

The remodel will transform the basement that used to hold periodicals, old magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and microfiche into an open space with reading nooks, a computer lab, and reading tables for parents and children.

Veronica Ocejo, 26, said she brings the three children she babysits to the current children’s section only rarely. “The last time we came, the children’s area just seemed very small,” she said. “With this new children’s section, we probably will come much more often, and it hopefully will get the kids reading more.”

The current children’s area is also overcrowded and unsupervised and has high shelving and little natural light. Bev Schwartzberg, the library’s adult literacy coordinator, said the new area will be designed specifically for children and will be modeled after the natural environment of Santa Barbara, with waves painted on the walls, natural light streaming through the reading nooks, and the Channel Islands stitched in the blue-striped carpet.

Janet Garufis, the fundraiser’s emcee and board president of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, said she thought the event was successful and is confident the library will have no trouble raising the remaining money.

“People have a special remembrance of libraries and their own experience of libraries, and so I think it’s something that touches us all,” said Garufis. “Now what we want to do is to reach out to the entire community and give everybody a chance to participate.”

The library is now taking donations at its website:

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