Sonoma County Library

Sonoma County Library: State of the Library

State of the Library with photo

State of the Library

A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
Industrialist, Businessman, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist


In today’s uncertain economic times, public libraries are under siege. Across the country, libraries are cutting programs, reducing hours of operation and, in some cases, closing altogether. Unfortunately, the Sonoma County Library is not exempt from these trends.

While library budgets are being reduced, demand for library services continues to increase. More and more people are turning to us to upgrade their computer skills; search and apply for new job opportunities; access books, magazines, movies, CDs and online databases; and meet their daily informational and recreational needs.

If you look at trends in the Sonoma County Library over the past 5 years:

  • Demand for library services has consistently grown faster than revenues.
  • Use of services has increased by up to 120 percent, while revenue is up less than two percent.
Growth 2005 - 2010: Chart
Click to view larger

While these trends are a testament to effective and efficient management, they are not sustainable. Therefore, the Library took a number of difficult but necessary steps to address economic reality.

For the past three years, Library staff have graciously agreed to salary and benefit reductions to help balance the Library’s budget. Here are some of the other ways the Library has reduced costs:

  • reducing Library hours
  • closing all libraries on Mondays
  • standardizing Library hours County-wide
  • holding some vacant positions open
  • reducing materials expenditures by $50,000
  • reducing other operating expenditures by a net 3.5%.

Sonoma County Library's value to the community »