Treasures in the Library Basement

Visiting the basement or what we call the closed stacks is one of many things I like about my job here at the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library.

The closed stacks are located in the basement of the Santa Rosa Central Library which is next door to the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library. While hunting for an old copy of the Kenwood Press newspaper for a patron doing reseach on someone who is buried at the Santa Rosa Rural Cementery I came across two shelves containing several volumes of News Notes of California Libraries – the earliest being from 1906 and latest from 1993.

I pulled out the 1906 volume and looked up Petaluma and here is what is written:

"Petaluma Free Public Library. Miss Sara Frances Cassiday, Librarian. Established 1878. Total no. of vols., 9636 (June 30, 1905). Report from June 1906 not received.

The Petaluma Argus of May 11th states that the books, magazines and all reading matter of the Petaluma Free Public Library have been removed from the old building in the third story of the City Hall to the new Carnegie library buiding at Fourth and B Streets, where they will be stored until the new building is formally opened in a short time hence.

Owns lot 100 x 100, valued at $6,000, the money for which was partly ($3,500) received in private donations. Owns building, which cost $16,000; built in 1905; $12,500 of money for building was received from Andrew Carnegie, the balance from the city. Architect of building Brainerd Jones, Petaluma; style of architecture colonial; constructive materials brick and stone; two stories, four rooms."

Great information. Nearly every semester we get at least one San Jose State University library science student researching the history of a library – usually Petaluma or Santa Rosa. Now we have another resource for them to check out. Of particular interest to these students will be total number of volumes held by a library during a specific time period.

I can see that there is much more information to be gleaned from the News Notes of California Libraries. If this is a subject of interest to you, stop on by – you might even get a tour of the basement if you play your cards right!

About Katherine J. Rinehart

Katherine J. Rinehart received a MA in History from Sonoma State University in 1994. For the past 19 years, Ms. Rinehart has worked in various positions within the fields of Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation and is currently employed by the Sonoma County Library where she has worked in the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Department since 2002. Katherine is the author of Petaluma: A History in Architecture, a contributor to Celebrating Petaluma published by the Petaluma Sesquicentennial Committee and the Petaluma Visitors Program. Ms. Rinehart is an occasional contributor to the Press Democrat and is proud to be a Petaluma Good Egg.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Libraries, Petaluma, Photos. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Treasures in the Library Basement

  1. Laurie Thompson says:

    I lament the loss of the historic Petaluma City Hall.
    What a beautiful structure!
    Thank you for sharing this interesting library history!

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