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(March 2022) Santa Barbara, CA – Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Santa Barbara community, and the tireless work of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, the new Michael Towbes Library Plaza will break ground on May 4th, 2022. The Foundation achieved its final $5 million fundraising goal to allow for construction to begin on the new plaza, which includes 10,000 square feet of programmable space in the heart of Downtown Santa Barbara between the Library and the Museum of Art. The City of Santa Barbara will award the bid for the Library Plaza Project at the March 29th City Council Meeting.

Anne Towbes has shared, “The new Michael Towbes Library Plaza will be an educational and cultural hub for our community in the heart of the Cultural Arts District, a center for several of the nonprofits that were near and dear to Michael.”

Honoring Santa Barbara’s historic, cultural and architectural significance, this vibrant new plaza enables the Library to move programs outside and allows passers-by to recognize the Library as a center for dynamic, enriching, and engaging activities — not just a repository of books. The Santa Barbara Public Library partners with over 60 local community organizations to host free programming and the new Library Plaza will be a site for safe and accessible civic forums, storytellers, theatrical performances, job fairs, volunteer expositions, movie screenings, community music programs, art installations, city festivals and events like Juneteenth and SB Reads. 

Foundation Director, Lauren Trujillo anticipates, “The new Library Plaza will be a venue and gathering place that will even further cement the Library’s place in the heart of our community. We have so much to celebrate, but our work is not done.”

You can still support the Library Plaza in a number of ways.

  • The Library Plaza Endowment: Featuring exclusive Wish List naming opportunities to help endow and sustain the Plaza for future generations. 
  • Buy A Brick: A very limited number of customizable bricks are still available to help pave the way to the new Library Plaza. Purchasing a brick is a meaningful way to remember a loved one, honor someone special, show community support as a business, or commemorate one’s family name in stone for decades to come.

For over 100 years the Santa Barbara Public Library has continually grown to meet the evolving needs of the community. It has served as a hub for lifelong literacy and civic participation, a gathering place for children to learn, a catalyst for imaginations of all ages, and a virtual refuge. “The new Library Plaza will enable the library to continue its critical role in community building, while opening doors to expanded experiences in literacy, learning, and adventure!”- Library Director, Jessica Cadeiente.

The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation supports the Santa Barbara Public Library by funding large-scale initiatives. To learn more about the foundation and the projects it supports, please visit


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