Gather, Learn, Grow

By Lynda Millner   |   December 28, 2021
Janet Garufis, Anne Towbes, and Jim Jackson at the library celebration for the Plaza campaign

“A library outranks any other thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.” – Andrew Carnegie

In case you think libraries are not exciting or boring, wrong. A group of donors and patrons recently gathered in the Faulkner Gallery for cocktails, moving on to the Santa Barbara Main Library for wine, bites, and a program – “Gather, Learn, Grow.”

It was time to celebrate the completion of the Michael Towbes Library Plaza Campaign led by Janet Garufis and Jim Jackson, who raised about $5 million. They hope to start construction in January 2022. The Plaza would be the area behind the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, across from the parking building and by the library. 

Santa Barbara Public Library Board Foundation President Anne Howard greeted the guests as we sat at tables and nibbled on yummy hors d’oeuvres from The Lark, Loquita, and La Paloma Café. Library director Jessica Cadiente spoke about “Gathering.” We learned there are more things to be checked out besides books.

As to “Learning,” Foundation director Lauren Trujillo introduced author Susan Orlean, who has written a book about libraries called The Library Book. Library Services manager Molly Wetta did a Q&A with her, diving into Susan’s wealth of information because of all the research she did while writing the library book called On Animals.

The “Growing” part of the evening was hearing from the campaign co-chairs, Janet and Jim. As they said, “We ask for money. That’s what we do.” One way to raise some is to buy one of 250 bricks. Your engraved brick paver stone will be an opportunity to add your name to the future Library Plaza. The bricks will line the revitalized paseo connecting our community in the heart of the Cultural Arts District. For more information, visit their website

Foundation Board President Anne Howard, author Susan Orlean, Foundation Director Lauren Trujillo, and Library Director Jessica Cadiente

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