Santa Barbara Public Library Expands Hours for Services at Central Library During Construction

By the Santa Barbara Public Library

Construction continues at the Central Library but the main level of the Library will be open for holds pick up and browsing collections of physical library materials, including children’s and teen books, fiction, nonfiction, Spanish, DVDs, and special collections.

Beginning September 6, regular hours will be Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Thursdays, the Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seating, public Wi-Fi, printing, and computer access are still unavailable. The expanded hours at Eastside Library will remain in effect, and Library on the Go van stops will also continue. 

During this time, three simultaneous construction projects at Central Library are underway. Outside the Library, crews are focusing on laying the groundwork for a new Library Plaza that will serve as a gathering space for Library programs and community events. The new space will be accessible and environmentally friendly with permeable pavers and drought resistant landscaping. This project is made possible with support from the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, which raised $5 million dollars in a capital campaign with donations from the community. The City of Santa Barbara also contributed $2,286,902 in capital funding to make this project possible.

In addition to the Plaza, a new, ADA accessible elevator is being built in the center of the Library that will provide access to the Children’s Library and Upper Level. The Library’s current elevator is more than 50 years old. Over the last several years it has been out of order for extended periods of time, limiting access and increasing the workload of Library staff, who must transport books by hand up and down the stairs when the elevator is out of service. The new elevator will not only allow for better access for people with mobility challenges, wheelchair users, and strollers, but will also be a beautiful modern, glass structure.

The final project underway is the lower level staff area renovation. Over the last several decades, upgrades have focused on improvements to the public spaces in the Library, but the staff area was in need of a renovation to reflect modern workflows and increased staff efficiencies. As part of this project, network equipment is also being relocated and the internet cabling in the building is being upgraded. This work will allow the Library to fully realize the improvements to the Wi-Fi network Library staff implemented earlier in 2022, funded by a California State Library broadband grant. Because of the cabling upgrade and network equipment relocation, the Library’s self-check machines and automatic returns machine are both inoperable at this time, but Library staff are working diligently to facilitate the borrowing of materials.

Construction projects often experience delays or unexpected challenges. Additional closure dates for construction related power outages and water shut offs are possible, but there is not a final schedule of when those interruptions will occur. Updates will be posted on the Library’s website, in the email newsletter, and on social media as they are available.

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.


Written by SBPLibrary

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  1. To be fair, when the construction first started they were still open for pickups during regular hours. The noise was so loud from all the construction, I felt sorry for the employees. They soon shifted to evening hours only to work around the noise, And there is work being done inside the library, so it wasn’t safe for the public. I’m glad to see we have access to the shelves again. And I mainly want books, real, physical, old fashioned books. Other offerings are fine, but don’t reduce the old-timey, paper and ink book budget. Please.

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