Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 5:39 pm | Fair 77º


Central Library: A Century of Community Service

City books summer/fall activities in celebration of building's centennial

A black-and-white photo, circa 1917-18, shows the Central Library (built as a Carnegie Library in 1917) from the corner of Anacapa and Anapamu streets.
A black-and-white photo, circa 1917-18, shows the Central Library (built as a Carnegie Library in 1917) from the corner of Anacapa and Anapamu streets. (J.W. Collinge)

In 2017, the Santa Barbara Public Library will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building of the landmark Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., with six months of events for families and adults.

Ornate doorway marks the old main entrance to the Central Library. Click to view larger
Ornate doorway marks the old main entrance to the Central Library. (Santa Barbara Public Library)

Starting June 10 and continuing through November, the library will host local history talks, library tours, musical performances, children’s programs, and a 100th birthday party for the Central Library. For a complete list, see

The first event, a fundraiser hosted by the Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library at 7:30 p.m. June 10, is a launch party for Library Book, an anthology by noted writers. The kick-off party is at the library.

More than 70 new essays were commissioned for the anthology, which will be available for sale.

For more information, visit

June also brings the launch of the Summer Reading Program, with the 2017 theme Build a Better World, and the Library’s Curiosity Club and Makerspace, which will encourage children to design the library of the future.

On Sunday, Aug. 27, children and adults are invited to celebrate the Central Library’s 100th birthday. That day will mark exactly a century since the building opened to the public. Music, special events and birthday cake will be free to all who attend.

From June through November, local historians and architects will present Sunday afternoon talks on local history, including:

Santa Barbara in 1917, the architecture of the library and local landmarks, Santa Barbara’s Golden Era of art in the 1920s, local notables including Pearl Chase and librarian Frances Burns Linn, and the earthquake of 1925.

Talks will be followed by building tours, featuring the history and future of the Central Library.

The Central Library lobby will feature displays of historical photographs and artifacts of the library starting in August.

Wrapping up on Nov. 4, the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation will host a fundraising evening event as a capstone to the centennial.

Built as a Carnegie Library in 1917, the Central Library was designed by architect Francis Wilson and remodeled several times over the past century.

The Central Library's story begins with Library Director Frances Burns Linn and the community that rallied behind her to build the library at the corner of the Anacapa and Anapamu streets.

Information about Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, events and programs is available at All library programs are free and open to the public.
— Molly Wetta for city of Santa Barbara.


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