Library News

  • 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.

  • Literacy image

    1000 Books Before Kindergarten helps parents and caregivers give young children the confidence necessary to become strong readers and be successful in school and life. Pictured: Healdsburg Library.

Sonoma County Library Launches New Early Literacy Program

Read to a kid and you’ll prepare them for a lifetime of reading. In an effort to promote strong literacy skills, the Sonoma County Library is encouraging parents and caregivers to read 1,000 books to their newborns, infants, toddlers and preschoolers before they start kindergarten. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is a nationwide initiative and officially launched in all Sonoma County Library branches on October 28.

Participants can track their reading and participation in the program online at and through the Beanstack app. Paper logs are also available at each branch. Children will receive recognition for each 100 books they read and various prizes throughout their reading journey.

Sonoma County Library patron Autumn Ashforth and her husband have been reading books to their son, Bromley, since he was born.

“Now at 14 months of age, [Bromley] loves to bring us several books at a time and listen to us read to him. We are incredibly excited for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative,” Ashforth said. “Not only do we love a challenge, especially one that brings about positive outcomes, but we will be building a foundation for early literacy and learning in school. We want Bromley to love to read not just because it’s fun, but because he can let his imagination run wild!”

1000 Books Before Kindergarten image

Town of Windsor Montessori Preschool Teacher Michelle Vassallo supports the program as well and encourages parents and caregivers to participate in the initiative to read 1000 books to their children before entering kindergarten.

“The benefits are immeasurable,” Vassallo said. “Reading to preschoolers promotes cognitive skills at a fundamental time of development; receptive and expressive language skills; an ability to relate to characters and develop a sense of empathy; knowledge, imagination, curiosity, concentration, enjoyment and creativity; a bonding experience between parent and child; and success in school and life.”

Each 1000 Books Before Kindergarten participant will receive a free book bag and milestone sticker at their first 100 books and participating children’s names will be displayed at their branch and recorded in Beanstack for every 100 books logged. At 1000 books, children will receive a certificate of completion and a free book.

Sign up for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at or by visiting your local library branch. The program is free and open to all. 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is made possible by the Measure Y sales tax, the community’s investment in free public libraries.

  • 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.

  • Walden book cover

    2019 Sonoma County Reads Walden

"Walden" Chosen for 2019 Sonoma County Reads Title

Few voices in American literature have been as bold and influential as that of Henry David Thoreau. Published in 1854, Walden is viewed not only as a philosophical treatise on labor, leisure, self-reliance, and individualism but also as an influential piece of nature writing.

For more information click here.

Librarians Share Recommendations for TEENtober - a new teen celebration

Last year we had "Teen Read Week".... this year we have TEENtober! TEENtober is a new-in-2019 nationwide celebration hosted by libraries across the country every October to celebrate teens and teen library services.

To support our local teens and share our passion for teen literature, we're bringing back our BOOKCHATS - staff recommendations of their favorite teen reads. Read on for some great ideas of what to read next!

man holding book "Thunderhead" by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead, by Neal Shusterman

"This TeenTober I am recommending "Thunderhead," the sequel to Neal Shusterman's “Scythe.” “Thunderhead” follows Scythe Anastasia, formerly known as Citra, fighting against a growing wave of scythes who delight in gleaning (permanent killing). This is done because in a future in which this story takes place, sickness and death can be prevented or even reversed with science and permanent death is determined by scythes.  Meanwhile, her former co-apprentice Rowan has begun masquerading as Scythe Lucifer and is gleaning corrupt scythes while on the run from authorities. This novel is a must-read for fans of the first novel or anyone looking for action-packed science fiction."

~recommended by Teen Services Librarian Stuart W., from Guerneville Regional Library

woman holding book "I hate everyone but you" by Gaby Dunn and Alison Raskin

I hate everyone but you, by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

"Best friends Ava and Gen are in for the hardest long-distance relationship of their life when they start college on opposite coasts. Through texts and emails, they share a semester of controversial journalism, broken hearts, and sorority dinners, with (sometimes brutal) honesty. Exploring the complexities of mental illness, sexuality, and female friendship, I Hate Everyone But You is semi-autobiographical, told by real-life best friends and comedy duo Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn."

~recommended by Children's Services Librarian Gigi G., from Petaluma Regional Library

woman holding book "How to be an antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

"Calling all young adult activists... and also, everyone who cares about other humans. "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi, is an essential book for anyone interested in working towards a just and equitable society.  No matter who you are or what you believe, this book will challenge your views on race. Check it out."

~recommended by Teen Services Librarian Rosalie A., from Sebastopol Regional Library

woman holding book "Like a Love Story" by Abdi Nazemian

Like a Love Story, by Abdi Nazemian

"Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian is set in New York City in 1989 at the height of the AIDS crisis. The main characters Reza, Art, and Judy navigate friendship, love, fear, death, racism, and Madonna during a critical point in LGBTQ history and activism. This book has so much heart it's nearly unbearable, but in the best way. 

Amazing. Loved it. Cried. Loved it some more."

~recommended by Teen Services Librarian Terra E., from Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library

woman holding book "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

It's Sci-fi meets fairy tales in this first book of the Lunar Quartet. Filled with action, dystopian twists on classic fairy tales, daring heroines and a touch of romance, you won't be able to put this book down. Beside the 4 books in the quartet, there are also two short story volumes and two graphic novels in this universe. 

~recommended by Library Associate Shannon B., from Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library

woman holding book "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

A retelling of The Jungle Book, Nobody Owens is an orphan child raised by ghosts and other supernatural beings. Living in the graveyard protects him from the man who killed his family, but Bod is lonely and wants more from life.

~recommended by Librarian Karen B., from Petaluma Regional Library

 woman holding book "Shadow & Bone" by Leigh Bardugo 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow & Bone is one of my favorite YA Fantasy books! This is the first book that takes place in the Grishaverse, and it is the perfect escapist read.  A Russian inspired dark fantasy, this book has it all: an engaging plot, interesting characters, robust world building, MAGIC!, romance, and some major twists and turns. Soon to be a series on Netflix! 

~recommended by Librarian Melissa C., from Northwest Santa Rosa Regional Library


  • Sonoma County Library expands Menstrual Equity Program

    Menstrual Equity Program Expanded to All Branch Locations

Sonoma County Library expands Menstrual Equity Program

Sonoma County Library has expanded its Menstrual Equity Program to all library locations, providing patrons who menstruate with equitable and free access to menstrual hygiene supplies, the same way other restroom supplies like toilet paper and soap are freely available. The move coincides with the world’s first-ever National Period Day on October 19.

 “Providing free menstrual supplies in public spaces like our libraries is just the right thing to do,” said Dr. Lisa Ward, Chief Medical Officer for Santa Rosa Community Health (SRCH).

SRCH provides primary care to over 40,000 people with low incomes every year in Santa Rosa, 56% of whom are women, so they are keenly aware of the need.

“Periods are a fact of life. We are all here because women have them! We’re inspired that the Sonoma County Library is taking the lead to make it easier for women, especially those with low incomes, and helping them feel more supported and comfortable by having supplies easily available in every restroom,” Ward said.  

In September 2018, Young Adult Services Librarian Rosalie Abbott and the team at Sebastopol Regional Library proposed a pilot program centered on menstrual equity for five of Sonoma County Library’s branches—Central, Healdsburg, Rincon Valley, Sebastopol and Sonoma Valley. The pilot was a success and a decision was made to expand the program to public and staff restrooms at all library locations.

According to, 86% of people who menstruate have reported that they have started their period in public without the supplies they need. The library is doing their part to alleviate this inconvenience.

The Menstrual Equity Program is made possible by the Measure Y sales tax, the community’s investment in free public libraries.

NPR book critic and author Maureen Corrigan shares top book picks

National Public Radio (NPR) book critic and author Maureen Corrigan—who spoke at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library on July 20 as part of Sonoma County Library’s Distinguished Speaker Series—has shared a list of her recent top book picks, all available with a Sonoma County Library card.

Booklist photo

The books are as follows:

  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
  • Impatient with Desire by Gabrielle Burton
  • Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman
  • Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz
  • Conviction by Denise Mina
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Most titles can be found by searching online at Impatient with Desire is available through LINK+ service, at

Corrigan is America’s most trusted and beloved book critic. For more than 20 years, she has been the book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air. She is also a columnist for The Washington Post and The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University where her courses are very popular.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is one of many events and activities offered by the library through the 2019 Adult Summer Reading Program. The Distinguished Speaker Series is funded by Measure Y sales tax, the community’s investment in free public libraries.

  • Intern Cortunay Minor and Special Collections Librarian & Archivist Joanna Kolosov photo

    Photo: Intern Cortunay Minor and Special Collections Librarian & Archivist Joanna Kolosov traveled to Washington D.C. for the internship program’s wrap-up event held September 20 to 22

Sonoma County Library completes national summer internship program

This summer, the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library in Santa Rosa joined 48 libraries across the U.S. by serving as a pilot site for a new internship program intended to help attract young people to careers in librarianship. The library hosted Santa Rosa High School graduate Cortunay Minor as part of the Public Library Association’s Inclusive Internship Initiative (III).

“From my coworkers, to my mentors, to other mentors in the program, to all the interns I got to befriend and beyond, I am much more attuned to the expansiveness and complexities of librarianship,” Minor said. “Not only has my support system expanded, but as has my circle of friends and my fond, respect-full adoration for our Sonoma County Libraries.”

Minor began her internship in June and worked closely with her appointed mentors at the History & Genealogy Library: Special Collections Librarians and Archivists Zayda Delgado and Joanna Kolosov. The trio completed a connected learning project that concluded with a wrap-up presentation of Minor’s experiences at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on September 21.

“It was important for the History & Genealogy Library to host an intern from the Roseland community, who is a Spanish speaker and from a younger demographic than our typical visitors,” Delgado and Kolosov said. “[Minor’s] perspective illuminated points of view that we had previously overlooked. Her passion and vision are very much in line with our goals to better document underrepresented communities, particularly LGBTQ and people of color.”

The Inclusive Internship Initiative is funded by PLA with support from a pre-professional Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant (grant RE-00-17-0129-17) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.