Much to the excitement of library staff and local kids, the Children’s Library inside Santa Barbara’s Central Library reopened Friday with most of the library still closed for construction.
The downstairs Children’s Library has books and materials available, as well as self-directed activities, educational toys, and space for families and children to read, gather and study.
Additionally, some of the weekly youth services programming that has been taking place off-site will return to the Faulkner Galley in the Central Library, such as Wiggly Storytime at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesdays, a Music and Movement class at 10 a.m. on Thursdays — in addition to the Music and Movement class that will continue at Shoreline Park at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays — and a Library Lab at 11 a.m. Saturday.
A full schedule of the library’s programming and events is available on the library’s website here.
Library staff, as well as children, have expressed their excitement to have the space open for kids again.
“People are excited to bring their kids back,” said Lisa Gonzalez, senior librarian of youth services. “I’m so grateful that our community rallied and built this space just for kids, because this is the biggest children’s library we have in the area and kids get down here and know it’s for them.”
Parents also said they’re happy to be able to bring their children to the library again.
“We’re definitely really excited to have the library back,” said Katie Crocker, who was visiting the library with her children. “When we have days off, it’s nice to come here and look for books. … It’ll be nice when [the library] is fully open again.”
The Central Library has been closed for construction projects since July, when three projects began — the renovation of the Library Plaza, construction of a new accessible elevator in the center of the library, and a new staff workspace on the Lower Level.
With the new elevator design, there will be a new mural across three floors depicting the ocean, mountains and “landscape of the town.”
“It will include illustrations of landmarks, people, places and elements that make Santa Barbara a vibrant community done in a Modern American Folk Art style,” the library said in a news release. “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.”
Once construction of the lower-level staff area is complete — anticipated to be in late spring 2023 — the public will be able to access the upper level and more of the main level.
All of the construction projects are expected to be completed in the late summer or fall of 2023.