Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Board at 2022 Library Plaza Groundbreaking
Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation Board at 2022 Library Plaza Groundbreaking (Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation photo)

Make the most of your charitable giving this holiday season and end the year by giving back to one or several of your favorite nonprofits. Join Noozhawk on #GivingTuesday and donate to one of the local nonprofits listed in our Giving Guide!

Noozhawk is teaming up with local nonprofits to encourage you to take part in this international day of giving, which takes place on November 29th, 2022.

It is no secret that these past couple of years have been full of challenges and thats why local nonprofits need your support now more than ever. Our Good for Santa Barbara Nonprofit Section provides all the resources you need to donate this holiday season!

In this interview, Noozhawk spoke with Lauren Trujillo, Foundation Director at Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation to learn more about how the nonprofit is dedicated to supporting the Santa Barbara Public Library by funding large-scale initiatives.

Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation

Question: What is the name & mission of your nonprofit?

Answer: The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation supports the Santa Barbara Public Library by funding large-scale initiatives.

Q: How long has your nonprofit been in service and whom was it started by?

A: The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation (SBPLF) was founded in 2012 as an independent non-profit funding organization to serve the Santa Barbara Public Library. The Foundation raised over $4.6 million for its first project, to support the construction.

Q: What was the inspiration behind your nonprofit?

A: This mission of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation follows the successful Children’s Library Capital Campaign which raised over $4.6 million to create a new Children’s Library at the Central Library and an accompanying $2 million endowment.

Q: How is your nonprofit primarily funded and what are your greatest needs?

Library on the Go outreach van

Library on the Go outreach van serving Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation photo)

A: The City of Santa Barbara is the main funding arm of the Santa Barbara Public Library. However, on average, each year 15% of all funding to support Santa Barbara Public Library comes from private dollars and grants. In fact, the majority of Library programming is grant funded and at risk of long-term support. The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation funds large capital projects that are not included in the annual operating budget and can provide support to supplement grant-funded programs.

Without the public-private partnership in funding made possible by the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, the Public Library would be limited in its scope and our entire community would lack the critical infrastructure that provides educational, technological, and cultural resources that everyone can access free of charge.

Libraries are more crucial than ever in the digital age, providing real connections, education and resources as people are more isolated in inhabiting the virtual world. Libraries are more than books – they also provide digital resources, access to information, and educational services. Libraries have become the “third place” and an active community center. Now is the time to support your Santa Barbara Public Library and Open Doors with the Santa Barbra Public Library Foundation to new possibilities.

Q: In what ways does your nonprofit utilize it’s funding?

A: The Santa Barbara Public Library depends on private donors to sustain and grow its infrastructure and programming. Just as our local public schools rely on parents to bring in STEAM programs, hire art teachers, and expand their capacity, the Santa Barbara Public Library must have the support of generous community donors whose contributions supplement the civic budget and allow our librarians to develop spaces and programs that benefit our entire community.

You can make a lasting difference to the character of downtown Santa Barbara, to the benefit of Library patrons, local businesses, tourism, and the community at large. Public libraries are the backbone of democracy and one of the last public spaces where all are welcome, all are equal, and all can learn—free of charge.

Q: What types of fundraisers and/or programs does your nonprofit run?

A: We are thrilled to share our recent success in raising $5 million for the construction of the new Michael Towbes Library Plaza with the support of the community. Library Plaza will be a beautiful and integral part of Santa Barbara’s Cultural Arts District providing programs and events that make the Library and downtown come to life beyond an attractive outdoor space.

What’s next for the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation? We are working to secure a $1 million Library Plaza Endowment to help provide a future funding stream to ensure that our community vision for the Library Plaza is realized. We are also committed to providing support to continue to support SB Reads and the Library on the Go.

Other capital projects on the horizon include a new Teen Center at the Central Library featuring the latest in 21st-century digital and physical Library resources designed by teens for teens. In addition, we will work to restore the Second Floor Patio. This hidden gem will be available for use by Library patrons as well as for special events.

Q: Describe your organizations staffing models and internal operations. Has anything changed since the start of your nonprofit?

A: Our Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation is made up of a volunteer board of directors, an emeritus board, an advisory board, and one Foundation Director. The Foundation Director coordinates the fundraising goals, mission, and strategic plan by securing capital resources, and managing the development plan, special events, communications, board support, and finances.

The Board of Directors is a diverse group of active community members who are passionate about supporting the growth of our local community by strengthening our public libraries.

Q: How do people get involved/volunteer for your nonprofit?

A: If you are interested in supporting Foundation fundraising efforts with your time, treasure, or talent please call 805-689-2448 or sign up here.

The Santa Barbara Public Library is also recruiting tutors. Visit to learn more.

Q: What makes your nonprofit different from others?

A: The Santa Barbara Public Library is a critical community resource in Santa Barbara.

Our Library circulates over 1 million books each year, but that activity goes beyond books: community members visit Central Library over 600,000 times each year seeking modern resources from digital books to career resources and civic forums to language classes and citizenship classes to robotics and drone programming.

The Library is the place where anyone can access educational experiences and resources. Jessica Cadiente, Library Director, and her staff are working to transform the Santa Barbara Public Library from a good Library to a great Library at the heart of Santa Barbara.

By supporting the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation you can help transform our Santa Barbara Public Library.

Q: What is one best kept secret or fun fact about your nonprofit that not everyone knows?

A: The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation works to elevate the Santa Barbara Public Library and share the new and exciting programs they offer our community, like the Library on the Go!

The Santa Barbara Public Library is bringing the Library to you! The new Library on the Go outreach van provides Library services and programs to neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Summerland.

This Library can provide a number of Library services from our outdoor Library space such as:

  • Materials check out
  • Free public Wi-Fi
  • Laptop computer use at select stops
  • Document printing at select stops
  • Library card registration
  • Events for various ages at select stops
  • Assistance with Library accounts, use of the Library catalog, and placing requests

Check the Library Event Calendar at to find out when the Library on the Go Van will visit a location near you!

Q: Can you share one or two stories of individuals whose lives have been changed because of your organization?

A: In the children’s area a mom, 2 feet behind her son, told her child in Spanish “Ask the librarian where you can find the book your small brother wants to read” when a librarian answered the child in Spanish, the mom immediately approached him with a smile and said in Spanish “I am really happy that every day I see more Library staff who speak my own language. Before, I had to wait for my children after school to come to the Library. Now I know that I can use the Library for myself.”

Mary was a patron looking for help finding a job and found the SBPL Works! program. She had been off work for several years with a series of serious surgeries. Then she decided to go back to work and came to the Central Library. For several months she came in daily to learn computer skills. She started the job search, and she got a sales job a year ago. Last week she came in to show us a text she received from her supervisor congratulating her for making a $10,000 sale, and for helping the Santa Barbara branch place #4 among all the stores in the chain.

One of the Santa Barbara Public Library Career Online High School graduates thanked the Library for offering such a great program stating, “I really wanted to get my diploma, but I couldn’t work and do it at the same time if it wasn’t for this program. When I finished, I got a pay raise! Now, I’m thinking about going to City College. This is such a great thing you’re doing for the community.”

Q: How does the work of your nonprofit get communicated to the public?

A: Currently, the Foundation reaches out to the community via Newsletters, mailers, and social media. While these outlets are sufficient, our reach is limited to our viewership or those who are already engaged with the Library Foundation.

Q: Why should donors trust your organization and are there other ways to help outside of donations?

A: “A free public library is a revolutionary notion, and when people don’t have free access to books, then communities are like radios without batteries. You cut people off from essential sources of information — mythical, practical, linguistic, political — and you break them. You render them helpless in the face of political oppression.” Anne Lamott

Including Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation in your estate planning provides gifts that are an indispensable source of support for empowering the exceptional difference that the Library, Foundation, and you make possible. These can include bequests in wills and trusts, or designating the Library Foundation in your retirement and life insurance plans.

Gifts of Securities

If you donate securities or similar assets that you have owned for more than one year, you are entitled to a charitable income tax deduction based on their current value. You also avoid the capital gains tax that you could have paid if you sold the stock.

Registered securities, together with a gift letter, should be sent unassigned to our office. Stock powers or bond powers, endorsed with a signature guaranteed by a bank or broker, should be forwarded under separate cover. Of, if you choose, you may simply ask your broker to contact our office for easy transfer instructions. For stock transfers, please contact us at 805- 689-2448 or

Real Estate

Make a gift of real estate during your lifetime, and enjoy immediate and significant tax benefits while continuing to live in your home for life. Send a deed, naming “Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation” as the owner of the property, by registered mail to our office.

Ira Charitable Rollover

Gifts from your IRA are a smart way to support the Santa Barbara Public Library and may have significant additional tax benefits.

Charitable Life Income Trusts

Through a charitable lead trust, you enable the Santa Barbara Public Library to access a trust which contributes yearly, up to 20 years. Your family receives the trust remainder at substantial tax savings. Contact our office for assistance in the establishment of a tax-saving charitable remainder trust that will pay you or a beneficiary income for life.

Suggested Wording For A Bequest By Will

You can ensure a sustainable future for the Santa Barbara Public Library by including us in your estate plans.

“I bequeath $___ or ___% of my estate to the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, 40 E Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.”

Q: Can you tell us one short-term goal AND one long-term goal that your nonprofit has for the next year?

A: Short-term goal- Grow a $1 million Library Plaza Endowment to help ensure our vision for a lively Michael Towbes Library Plaza community space for innovative 21st-Century Library programming and community building.

Long-term goal- Continue to educate the community about the critical services our Santa Barbara Public Library provides learners of all ages and grow large-scale initiatives.

Q:  Is there anything else you would like to share about your nonprofit that has not been mentioned above?

A: We are so thankful to all of our Michael Towbes Library Plaza donors and invite you to see our extraordinary list of supporters on our website. Thank you for making the Library Plaza and our public-private partnership possible!

Click here to support the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation’s mission to make the Library the cultural heart of Santa Barbara community life, where all are welcome.

Check out Noozhawk’s Guide to Giving for a full list of nonprofits to donate to this giving season.