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Isla Vista is the community that borders the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara. The area was developed primarily in the 1960s to provide housing for the rapidly growing university. The population of Isla Vista is approximately 18,000, within one-half square mile, making it one of the most densely populated areas in California. The community of Isla Vista is comprised mainly of students, but also includes middle class families and a large population of recent immigrants. Isla Vista first came to national attention during the violent protests against the Vietnam War that took place there in 1970. Known as the Isla Vista Riots, the most notorious event of this period was the burning of the Bank of America building on February 25, 1970. More recently, Isla Vista's reputation has been based on its libertine student lifestyles and large parties. Today, Isla Vistans grapple with the problems of overcrowding in substandard housing, cultural diversity, and the absence of local government.
The Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, UCSB, houses a number of collections that contain material relevant to the study of the Isla Vista community. The bulk of the material is from the latter 1960s and 1970s, but there is some more recent material as well. The collections cover a wide range of issues such as the Isla Vista Riots, the government of Isla Vista, and the environmental movement.
Additional printed material, including books, serials, government reports, and maps, is located in other parts of the library. Consult the UCSB Library Search for the location of specific items.
The processing, arrangement and cataloging of this material has been funded by a generous grant from the Neal J. Linson Family. For more information about the Isla Vista Resources Project, click here.