The tiny library movement — the delightful practice of folks planting wee wooden boxes in front yards and filling them with books to borrow — has already conquered Santa Barbara neighborhoods, and now it has infiltrated State Street. Through mid-October, State Street amblers can peruse a potpourri of titles for the taking from six downtown repositories, which are in the form of punctuation marks created by area artist Douglas Lochner.
Initiated by the County Office of Arts & Culture, the project was “inspired by Santa Barbara’s literary roots and community, such as the City’s Central Library Centennial and Poet Laureate program, as well as our residents’ deep love for their little libraries all over town,” said Sarah York Rubin, SBAC executive director.
The Public Library has not only stocked each of the tiny libraries with tomes — which people are free to keep or borrow; book donations are also accepted — but they will also be offering pop-up programs on State Street that include book recommendations, poetry readings, and story time. “This project has been elevated by the active participation and enthusiasm of the Santa Barbara Public Library,” said York Rubin.
Education is also a part of the tiny libraries project: Lochner’s sculptures add an eye-pleasing element of public art to the equation; the S.B. Education Foundation will be promoting youth literacy; artist Simon Kiefer will hold interactive typewriter events; and Print Power Collective will give print demonstrations. “[It’s an] exciting opportunity to energize downtown, engage residents, promote literacy, celebrate local literary heritage, and advance public art,” said York Rubin.