Kids News

Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Should libraries be open during a pandemic?

On March 13, in response to the rapidly growing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Sonoma County Library made the difficult decision to cancel events taking place in our libraries. A few days later we closed all library facilities, in compliance with the county shelter-in-place order.

No library director ever wants to close a library. It’s a heartbreaking choice, but staying closed is the right thing to do, to protect the public and our staff. The closure is all-encompassing. We are unable to offer curbside pickup for books and other materials, or accept returns of borrowed materials (although all due dates have been extended).

The County of Sonoma agrees. We discussed this matter with the county health department, and they support our decision. There are too many unknowns at this point for us safely receive and redistribute potentially contaminated materials. We don’t want to unknowingly help spread the virus, and we can’t justify using masks, gloves, sanitizers and other protective equipment when they are desperately needed by health care workers.

The county’s Emergency Operations Center agrees as well, and issued a statement. It reads, in part: “Librarians should be home and sheltered in place. They are not essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Library staff are not equipped to safely handle physical books and interact with the public. We must weigh our desire for the pleasure of reading with the health risk to the librarians. Library patrons are reminded that there are books available electronically through our public library system.”

Sonoma County is not alone in this regard. The largest library associations in the nation, including the American Library Association and the California Library Association, are strongly recommending that libraries suspend operations during this time, while we do our part to slow the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the Sonoma County Library is working diligently to plan how to reopen quickly and effectively when it is safe, and we are adding new and exciting materials to our 24/7 online library. Visit to access tens of thousands of electronic books, audiobooks, TV shows, movies, magazines, instructional videos, research databases and more. Your kids can even watch cartoons and animated storybooks. We have Spanish-language resources as well.

We thank everyone who misses their library. We miss you, too and we will be so happy to see you in our branches when we reopen! Being able to come back to the library, chat with a librarian, bring your children to a storytime, browse books and other materials, or use our free WiFi will all be proof of our local and national effort to contain a serious public health crisis.

Ann Hammond, Sonoma County Library Director

  • todos los edificios de la Biblioteca del Condado de Sonoma están cerrados al público

Todos los edificios de la Biblioteca del Condado de Sonoma están cerrados al público

Efectivo sábado 14 de marzo del 2020 a las 6pm, todos los edificios de la Biblioteca del Condado de Sonoma están cerrados al público hasta el 31 de marzo.

Esto nos dará más tiempo para evaluar los próximos pasos y esperar por más direccion del Departamento de Salud del Condado de Sonoma. Es posible que cerremos por más tiempo, después de aprender más.

Esta decisión fue difícil. La decisión viene despues de una semana de avisos más y más estrictos. Continuaremos a cumplir con las recomendaciones de los oficiales del condado de Sonoma y del estado de California, y abriremos cuando nos digan que es seguro a abrir.

Las cajas de regresar libros cerrarán. Ustedes pueden usar y disfrutar los materiales de la biblioteca. Las fechas de regreso serán extendidas para todos los materiales de la biblioteca, incluyendo tecnología como hotspots y chromebooks. Nuestros recursos digitales están disponibles 24/7.

Estoy segura que sobreviviremos esta crisis juntos, y el apoyo para nuestras bibliotecas me consuela en este tiempo incierto.

Ann Hammond, Directora de la Biblioteca del Condado de Sonoma

Coronavirus and your library

Coronavirus and your library

The Sonoma County Library is carefully monitoring information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the recommendations of the County of Sonoma Health Services Department. We are mindful of impacts on our patrons and staff of being in public spaces together and are taking steps to keep everyone safe.

  • Staff and patrons are encouraged to stay home if they don’t feel well.
  • News and information are monitored daily.
  • We have increased cleaning measures in all public areas.

It is important to seek trusted, factual advice about COVID-19 and not be taken in by fake news and rumors circulating on social media. Local information and updates are available at the county health department webpage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers updates and advice.

The Sonoma County Library has cancelled all public events and programs, at all library branches, through March 31. This is a precaution to protect our public and our staff. All library branches will stay open for check-outs, returns and day to day activities. You can also access our wide range of digital resources from home, including access to eBooks, eAudiobooks, audiobooks, TV, movies, magazines, newspapers, and online learning and research tools. For information about library services and schedules, visit our website,, or call your local branch.

To keep yourself and others safe:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing “Happy Birthday”).
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face. If you do, wash your hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu.

Ann Hammond
Sonoma County Library Director


El coronavirus y su biblioteca

La Biblioteca de Condado de Sonoma está monitoreando cuidadosamente la información sobre el nuevo coronavirus (COVID-19) y está siguiendo las recomendaciones dadas por el Departamento de Servicios de Salud del Condado de Sonoma.

Somos conscientes de los impactos para nuestros clientes y personal de estar juntos en espacios públicos y estamos tomando medidas para mantener a todos a salvo.

  • Se anima al personal y a los clientes a que se queden en casa si no se sienten bien.
  • Todos los días monitoreamos las noticias e información.
  • Hemos incrementado las medidas de limpieza en todas las áreas públicas.

Puede encontrar información local y actualizaciones ingresando a la página web del departamento de salud del condado:

Es importante buscar consejos confiables y objetivos sobre el COVID-19 y no dejarse engañar por noticias falsas y rumores que circulan en las redes sociales.

Como precaución contra COVID-19 (nuevo coronavirus), todos los eventos de las sucursales de la biblioteca se han cancelado hasta el 31 de marzo.

También puede acceder nuestra amplia gama de recursos digitales desde su hogar, incluyendo acceso a libros y audiolibros electrónicos, TV, películas, revistas, periódicos, y herramientas de aprendizaje e investigación en línea. Para conocer sobre los servicios y horarios de su biblioteca, visite nuestra página web,, o llame su sucursal local.

Para mantenerle a salvo a usted y a los demás:

  • Evite el contacto con personas que estén enfermas.
  • Lave seguido sus manos con agua y jabón por al menos 20 segundos (el tiempo suficiente para cantar “Feliz Cumpleaños”).
  • Cúbrase cuando tosa o estornuda, luego lave sus manos.
  • Evite tocarse la cara. Si lo hace, lávese las manos.
  • Permanezca en casa si se encuentra enfermo.
  • Vacúnese contra la gripe para protegerse de ella.

Ann Hammond
Directora de la Biblioteca del Condado de Sonoma


  • There are no Bears in this Bakery cover image

Mock Caldecott 2020 Results

The votes are in! Sonoma County has chosen the best picture books of the year!

Drum roll please . . . The Sonoma County's Mock Caldecott Winner is...There Are No Bears in this Bakery, by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

Every year, children’s book illustrators hold their breath as the Caldecott committee members read, examine, and critique the best illustrated children’s books of the year to finally determine which one deserves the highly regarded award.

For the fifth year in a row, you let us know which books you thought would win by voting in our Mock Caldecott contest.

The children's librarians of Sonoma County Library read hundreds of picture books published in 2019, narrowed their favorites down to 8 (not an easy task!), then left it up to you to choose our winner by voting for your favorites either online or at the library.

The numbers were close, but the following titles are our three Honor Books for the year.  

A Stone Sat Still

 A Stone Sat Still

By Brendan Wenzel

Dancing hands

Dancing hands: how Teresa Carreño played the piano for President Lincoln 

by Margarita Engle and Rafael López

Lubna and Pebble

Lubna and Pebble

by endy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus, illustration

  • Winter Break 2019 image

Winter Break Activities at the Library

Beginning Saturday, December 21 through Saturday, January 4, the Library is offering free programs ranging from winter crafts, Build Clubs and Read to a Dog events, to Magician Mike Della Penna, Animal Music, holiday puppet shows, kids' yoga and zumba, virtual reality, and more!

All events are free.

For more information, check the library’s online calendar at, or Ask A Librarian.

Mock Caldecott 2020

It's almost time to choose our favorite picture books of the year!

Every year, children’s book illustrators hold their breath as the Caldecott committee members read, examine and critique the best illustrated children’s books of the year to finally determine which one deserves the highly regarded award.

For the past five years, Sonoma County Library has been hosting our own Mock Caldecott Contest, where we select the books WE feel are the best illustrated children's books of the year. Below, you will see the eight books we think are worth considering. These books, selected by Sonoma County Library staff, all fit the criteria of books to be considered for the Caldecott Medal. You can find copies of these books at your local branch.

Let us know who YOU think will win by voting for your favorites—either online or at the library. Voting will be open from January 2 through January 23.

Sonoma County's winners will be announced in your local branch and online Jan. 25!

My Papi has a Motorcycle book cover image

My Papi has a Motorcycle

by Isabel Quintero
and Zeke Peña

Saturday book cover image


by Oge Mora

There Are No Bears in this Bakery book cover image

There Are No Bears in this Bakery

by Julia Sarcone-Roach

How is a Window book cover image

Home Is a Window

by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard,
and Chris Sasaki, illustration

Lubna and Pebble book cover image

Lubna and Pebble

by Wendy Meddour
and Daniel Egnéus, illustration

Planting stories book cover image

Planting stories: the life of librarian and storyteller Pura Belpré

by Anika Aldamuy Denise
and Paola Escobar, illustration

A Stone Sat Still book cover image

A Stone Sat Still

by Brendan Wenzel



  • Native American Heritage Month image

Library celebrates Native American Heritage Month in November

Sonoma County Library is showcasing the rich history and traditions of Native Americans in Sonoma County by celebrating National Native American Heritage Month with a series of events in November.

National Native American Heritage Month events take place throughout November with presentations, Meet the Illustrator events, and traditional basket making/weaving classes at several participating branches.

“We welcome and celebrate all cultures at Sonoma County Library,” said Sonoma County Library Events Specialist Megan Backus. “We look forward to recognizing the history and heritage of this important part of our Sonoma County community every November during National Native American Heritage Month, as well as throughout the year.”

Sonoma County is home to a number of Native American Tribes dating back to over 12,000 years. From the Coast, Miwoks; in the norther near the Mayacamas Mountain Range dwelled Wintuns, Wapo and Miyakmahs; in the lower Valley, Pomos; near the edge of San Pablo Bay, Koskiwok; and in the southeast corner, Patwins; to name a few.

National Native American Heritage Month events are free and open to all.

  • text: trick or treat in the library, with images of children in costumes

Petaluma and Rohnert Park-Cotati libraries to host Halloween events

Unsure of where to take your kids for Halloween? All are invited to Trick or Treat in the Library on Thursday, October 31, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Petaluma and Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Libraries. Join your favorite library staff for a not-so-spooky Halloween event featuring stories, songs and silliness.

“In light of the widespread evacuations and poor air quality throughout Sonoma County, and after observing uncertainty from community members about where to take their kids trick or treating, we will be hosting indoor trick or treating events at our Petaluma and Rohnert Park-Cotati branches on Thursday, October 31,” said Library Director Ann Hammond. “We hope these events bring a semblance of normality to our families during this challenging time.”

Some Sonoma County Library branches had existing plans for Halloween events that had to be canceled due to branch closures. Library staff in closed branches have been re-deployed to open branches, ensuring that community members have a place to go with electricity, WiFi and charging stations.

Trick or Treat in the Library events are free and open to all. Attendees are welcome to come in costume, although not required.

  • Sonoma County Library launches virtual reality program

Sonoma County Library launches virtual reality program

Surf in Angola, hike in England, dive with sharks in Cuba, fly over Manhattan, or hike the canyons of Arizona, without ever leaving the library!

The Sonoma County Library is officially launching its Virtual Reality at the Library program, with an inaugural party for the public at Central Santa Rosa Library on Monday, October 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Attendees will be able to try virtual reality (VR) equipment and a variety of different programs at the party. VR equipment is also available at the Petaluma, Central Santa Rosa, Rincon Valley and Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library branches. “We’re delighted to provide access to virtual reality technology and educate patrons on the extensive uses and purposes of VR,” said Sonoma County Library Digital Literacy Specialist Bridget Hayes. “We invite community members to immerse themselves in the world of virtual reality at our upcoming launch party.”

Sonoma County Library recently added VR headsets Oculus GO, Oculus Quest and ClassVR to its ever-expanding VR lineup. The library has provided opportunities for the community to experience VR since 2017 and plans to utilize the updated VR program to focus on the benefits of immersive learning.

The October 14 launch party at Central Santa Rosa Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. is free and open to all.

Jay Cobb tests a virtual reality headset at a library outreach program with the Kiwanis Club of Oakmont on July 18, 2019. Photo by Bridget Hayes

The theme for the party is Travel for free! Immerse yourself in another world with Virtual Reality.

Age restrictions and permission forms apply to some devices. Learn more about Sonoma County Library’s VR services. Access to the library’s VR technology is free and open to Sonoma County Library cardholders.

Virtual Reality at the Library is made possible by the Measure Y sales tax, the community’s investment in free public libraries. Additional VR equipment was funded through a California State Library grant.

Jay Cobb tests a virtual reality headset at a library outreach program with the Kiwanis Club of Oakmont on July 18, 2019. Photo by Bridget Hayes.

  • September 2019 Library Card Sign-Up Month

    Sign up for a library card!

Celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month!

This September, Sonoma County Library joins the American Library Association (ALA) and public libraries nationwide to celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month and remind everyone that libraries can be the key to academic success and lifelong learning.

Library cardholders have access to a wealth of free resources that support academic achievement, overall education and personal development.

Sonoma County Third District Supervisor Shirlee Zane believes that libraries are crucial to the community. “[Libraries] serve people of all ages, from the very young to the very old. They are a cornerstone of support for literacy, culture and education, providing invaluable resources to those who use them,” Zane said.

Today’s libraries aren’t only a place of quiet study, but also creative and engaging community centers where patrons can collaborate using new technologies, learn coding, dive into the realm of virtual reality and 3D design, or just relax with peers. With a Sonoma County Library Card, patrons have access to a variety of digital resources including:

  • eBooks and audiobooks through OverDrive and the Libby app
  • Consumer Reports
  • LearningExpress Library
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Mango Languages
  • RBDigital Magazines
  • Tutor.Com

Patrons can also check out Wifi hotspots and Regional Parks Discovery Packs—a backpack containing a Regional Parks parking pass and other goodies to help them enjoy self-guided adventures in the parks. Of course, the library also has a collection of some 650,000 books.

“Sonoma County Library brings joy to patrons of all ages,” said Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond. “We offer early literacy and digital resources for children, we provide use of technology and digital tools for teens and older students and we have job skills workshops, book clubs and more for adults. Cardholders also have free access to online tutoring and essay or resume review in English and Spanish.”

If you don't already have a library card, now is the time to get one. For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit any Sonoma County Library branch in person or visit us online here.  

Library Card Sign-up Month is held across the nation each September to mark the beginning of the school year, a tradition since 1987. Throughout the month, the ALA and libraries unite in a national effort to encourage everyone to sign up for a library card.