All SBPL locations will be closed on March 31 for Cesar Chavez Day and Central Library Closed Due to Construction March 31 - April 4.

Children's Library reopens

City of Santa Barbara Construction Project at Central Library Progressing - Children's Library Now Open

Authored on
November 17, 2022

The City of Santa Barbara's construction projects at Central Library at 40 E. Anapamu Street have progressed to the point that will allow families to access the Children's Library on the Lower Level beginning Friday, November 18, 2022. 

The Children's Library will have books and materials from all children's collections accessible for browsing, furniture and space for families with children to read, gather, and study, self-directed learning activities, and educational toys and manipulatives available for use in the Library. 

Some weekly youth services programming that has continued off-site in parks during construction will return to Central Library in the Faulkner Gallery in December, including Wednesday morning early literacy classes – Wiggly Storytime at 10:15 AM and Baby and Me class at 11:00 AM. Saturday morning Library Lab at 11:00 AM will move from Eastside Library to the Central Library Faulkner Gallery. Library staff will also add a weekly Thursday early literacy class, Music and Movement, at 10:00 AM. 

Weekly early literacy classes and school-age programming at parks will continue, including Friday Stay and Play at 10:00 AM at a different park location each week and the Thursday morning Music and Movement class at 10:30 AM at Shoreline Park. Weekly Science in the Park program for school-age children will continue on Thursday afternoons at 3:30 PM at Bohnett Park.

View the Library's calendar for complete details on classes and events. 

Santa Barbara Public Library has modified operations to maximize public access to the facilities, collections, and services during construction. Three simultaneous projects began in July 2022, including the renovation of the Library Plaza, the construction of a new accessible elevator in the center of the Library, and a new modern staff workspace on the Lower Level. 

Grading work continues on the Library Plaza project, and the retaining walls are in process. As part of the new elevator design, there will be a new mural spanning three floors that depicts the ocean, mountains, and landscape of the town with illustrations of landmarks, people, places, and elements that make Santa Barbara a vibrant community in a Modern American Folk Art style. SBPL will offer opportunities for members of the public to suggest details to include in the mural in person at the Library and on social media in 2023.

In the lower-level staff work area, new data and phone lines are being added to accommodate a modern workspace. Once the lower level staff area is complete, the public will be able to access the Upper Level and additional space on the Main Level of the Library. This is anticipated to be completed in late spring 2023. 

All three projects are expected to be completed in late summer or fall 2023. 

Santa Barbara Public Library is a department of the City of Santa Barbara. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library online at for information about programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.

Additional FAQs:

Can I still pick up holds at the Central Library? 

Yes! Pick up your holds as usual. The holds shelf has moved to an area in the center of the main level. Self-check machines are operable. 

I'm disappointed I can't access a book that shows in the catalog as on the shelf at Central Library. Why can't you just retrieve it for me? 

Depending on the current construction work and staff availability, we can't guarantee we will be able to access an on-shelf item immediately. Staff will use their discretion to determine if they can pull an on-shelf item that is not part of our browsing collection for you during a visit, but if they cannot retrieve it at that time, they will be happy to place it on hold for you.

Is the use of the microfilm machine and collection available?

This area is closed to the public due to construction, and the microfilm machine is unavailable. We are digitizing a portion of the microfilm collection in partnership with a research institution, so much of it is also unavailable. If you need assistance with accessing Local History or Microfilm collections, please reach out to us to make a Reserve a Librarian appointment, and we will work to find a solution. 

What if I need to use a computer, the internet, or print? 

We have laptops and hotspots available for checkout. Computers and printing will also be available at Eastside Library and Montecito Library. 

What are my options for study or workspace? 

When the Faulkner Gallery is not in use for a Library program or rented for an event, chairs and tables are available for work or study space. Visit the Eastside Library or Montecito Library for study and workspace during all hours of operation. 

Is art on display in the Faulkner Galleries? 

Yes! Art shows are ongoing in the Faulkner Galleries and can be viewed during Library hours as long as there is not a public meeting, private rental, or Library program occurring. Visit the Library's events calendar to plan your visit to the galleries. 

I need a new or replacement Library card. Can you help with that?

Yes, Central Library staff will be able to issue new or replacement Library cards. 

Will you be able to take payments for lost or damaged items or other outstanding account fees?

Payments may be made at Eastside Library or Montecito Library or in your online account in the Library catalog. During construction, staff will not have access to a cash register or credit card processor. Luckily, we recently forgave all outstanding charges on accounts for lost or damaged items when we migrated to a new catalog system, so few people have charges on their account at this point in time.