Charlotte Doyle Davis loved books. She loved getting lost in novels, uncovering facts in biographies and diving deep into research about anything and everything. The one thing that she loved more than books, however, was investing in education. She became the head of the Santa Barbara County Education Office’s (SBCEO) Student Library and led the development of various programs, such as Breakfast with the Authors, to inspire children to get excited about reading. Over 60 years later, Doyle Davis’ legacy lives on in programs, like Breakfast with the Authors, and through the $600,000 that she left in a fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation for the purpose of hiring a traveling librarian for rural school districts in northern Santa Barbara County.
“The Doyle Davis Grant is special because Charlotte, who was actually one of my predecessors in this position, truly understood the importance of providing library services to all,” said Matt Zuchowicz, the Director of Education Technology Services at SBCEO. “Thanks to this funding, thousands of students have had the opportunity to learn how to do research, validate information and enjoy reading, in ways they wouldn’t have previously.”
In 2005, the funds from the Doyle Davis Librarian Grant were allocated to the SBCEO to hire an itinerant librarian to provide library and literacy support services to rural school districts, including: Blochman Union School District, Buellton Union School District and Guadalupe Union School District. This travelling librarian not only teaches lessons on how to do research and on various topics and genres, but also creates competitions and programs to get children excited about reading. For example, Nicole Harbour-Ramos, who filled this role from 2010-2015, hosted book clubs for students in the Blochman Union School District and wrote grants to get financial support to improve the libraries in the Guadalupe Union School District, among many other things. The Guadalupe Union School District saw what an immense impact that she was having on their students and decided to hire her full time, despite budget cuts and financial constraints.
“Guadalupe Union School District’s hiring of Nicole not only shows how much they value and prioritize this particular position, but also shows our valuable partnership with the school districts,” said Zuchowicz. “I have the opportunity to travel across the county to see all of the wonderful things that are happening in our schools and I am so proud of the work that the teachers and administrators do as our partners, in conjunction with our librarians.”
While the Doyle Davis Fund was scheduled to be distributed over a six-year period ending in 2011, the fund’s valuable impact prompted SBCEO, participating Districts and the Santa Barbara Foundation to create an endowed fund that allowed funding for the itinerant librarian position to last longer.Thanks to this funding, thousands of students have had the opportunity to learn how to do research, validate information and enjoy reading, in ways they wouldn't have previously.Matt Zuchowicz
“The Santa Barbara Foundation has always provided us with outstanding service when it comes to helping us with all of the options and caveats that came with this fund and making sure that we get the maximum impact,” said Zuchowicz. “I want to thank the foundation for investing in the children of Santa Barbara County because there is no better investment in our future than that.”
As the Doyle Davis Fund continues to provide the funds for the traveling librarian, SBCEO hopes to continue to expand library services in additional rural communities.
“The most important thing that we need to do now is get the message out that libraries are the vibrant hubs of schools,” said Zuchowicz. “Librarians help children understand how to ask questions, synthesize information and provide personalized help to children who are struggling, which is the first step to making even just a small change in fixing the inequities in our education system and just what Charlotte would have wanted.”
You, like Doyle Davis, can leave a lasting legacy on our community by leaving a gift to the Santa Barbara Foundation today. For more information about setting up a fund or planned giving, please contact Jessica Sanchez, Director of Donor Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lynette Dunn, Director of Development, at email@example.com.