Sonoma County Library

Sonoma County Library: State of the Library

State of the Library with photo

Value to Your Community

The privilege we have in this country to borrow books from our public libraries is quite wonderful, really — it empowers all of us to keep on learning and exploring throughout our lives. That’s very special, because life is all about growing, changing and opening ourselves up to new ideas and information.
Elizabeth Taylor


The Sonoma County Library provides invaluable services. Last year, your library system continued to serve more people in many different ways, including:

  • 3,760,100 checkouts, up over 30% over the last five years
  • 2,808,192 patron visits, or nearly six visits for every person living in Sonoma County
  • 1,929,005 visits to our Website, up over 100 percent in recent years; and
  • more than 389,018 hours of public computer use - that's more than 1,000 hours a day!

In 2011, nearly 260,000 residents had library cards—or 53% of the entire county population. Your library offered more than 2,200 free programs and workshops to more than 79,000 people of all ages.

But numbers don’t tell the whole story. The Sonoma County Library is more than a collection of statistics; we are a sophisticated, integrated Library system with 13 branches stretching from Petaluma to Cloverdale and from Occidental to Sonoma Valley. We offer a vast array of materials, including books, periodicals, CDs, DVDs and audio books, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for in our library system, we’ve partnered with other North Bay libraries to share collections.

In addition, we host a wide variety of programs, ranging from children’s story hour to author talks and book discussions to musical performances and gardening programs. We also have meeting rooms available for use by community groups.

We have two very special collections that maintain our community’s historical record to pass on to the next generation—the Sonoma County Wine Library in Healdsburg and the History and Genealogy Library in Santa Rosa. We are developing collaborative collections to preserve and promote our historical materials with several local history organizations throughout the County.

The Library’s literacy programs help open doors to a successful future for the many people who learn to read English as a second language.

We strive to encourage maximum self-sufficiency for all our citizens. Our resources and programs support success in:

  • Early literacy and school readiness
  • Ongoing academic achievement
  • Technology access and training
  • Economic advancement
  • Community building and civic engagement, connecting people and supporting democracy
  • Lifelong learning

Our partnerships with the larger community include co-sponsorship of the annual “community read” program, The Big Read, now in its sixth year, and with the annual Sonoma County Book Festival.

Regular art shows and musical performances at many of our libraries help Sonoma’s artists reach new audiences.

We offer Sonoma County residents the support they need to become better readers, better learners, better workers and better citizens. And we offer it freely to everyone — without regard to age, income level, political affiliation or any other demographic.

All of this adds up to Value for the Community as a whole. Residents who are able to read, and able to get the information they need, when they need it, will in turn be more active, involved members of the community.

Return on investment »