$5 million Goal Raised for Michael Towbes Library Plaza- We Did it!

$5 million Goal Raised for Michael Towbes Library Plaza- We Did it!

On March 29, 2022, the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation celebrated its efforts to renovate the Santa Barbara Public Library Downtown Library Plaza. A project that has been years in the making, the Santa Barbara City Council approved the contract to begin construction of the downtown Library Plaza, the new ADA Elevator project, and the Lower Level staff area update. This joyous occasion gained notable news coverage by publications such as the Santa Barbara News Press, Noozhawk, and The Santa Barbara Independent.

The Santa Barbara Central Library Renovation Project will cover a 10,000-square-foot plaza with space for festivals, events, and more. The library plaza will be named, “The Michael Towbes Plaza” in dedication to Towbes’ memory for his philanthropy towards the city of Santa Barbara. Construction for the Plaza will begin as early as July 2022.

With the support of the City Council, The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation led the Library Plaza Campaign and raised $5 million dollars towards the funding of the project. Our Foundation Board Member and Co-Chair of the Campaign for Library Plaza Cabinet, Jim Jackson, presented the $5 million dollar check to the Santa Barbara Public Library Director, Jessica Cadiente, at the city council meeting on Tuesday.

“This is probably the happiest day in my career here at the city of Santa Barbara,” Cadiente said.

Notably, City Council members Alejandra Gutierrez, Kristen Sneddon, and Eric Friedman expressed their admiration for this campaign as the Library is an essential community resource that must be preserved and celebrated for its role in promoting community building and civic participation.

The Plaza will be a hallmark for the community and make the Library more educational, inviting, and accessible to the community through its vibrant outdoors space in the heart of Downtown Santa Barbara’s arts district. Candiente notes that the plaza will host community events, graduation ceremonies, various fairs and more due to the 10,000 square footage of space that can host up to 1,200 people. The approved city contract also includes renovations to the lower-level staff area of the Library and a new ADA-compliant elevator to make the building more accessible to wheelchair users.

As we celebrate this monumental occasion for the Library, we will continue our efforts to grow and meet the evolving needs of the Santa Barbara community in the 21st century while simultaneously paying homage to the city’s historic, cultural, and architectural significance.

Posted by SBPLF Intern Natalia Hernandez-

Natalia is from La Mirada, CA and is a fourth-year Political Science major at the University of California, Santa Barbara pursuing a professional writing minor in Civic Engagement. She will be pursuing a masters degree in Social Work this fall at USC.