Library News

  • 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 submit a request through our eCard online form. For more information: 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.

  • Photo caption: Library staff and other organizations participate in the WESTPAS Protecting Cultural Collections

    Library staff and other organizations participate in the WESTPAS Protecting Cultural Collections: Prevention, Preparedness, Response & Recovery Workshop at Central Santa Rosa Library on November 29, 2017. (Front: Sonoma County Library Head Cataloger Geoffrey Skinner and right, WESTPAS co-coordinator Julie Page.)

Sonoma County Library awarded grant to protect special collections

Sonoma County Library has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation Assistance Grant. The award will aid in the continued care and protection of the library’s historical materials through the purchase of equipment and supplies that support proper environmental monitoring and storage as well as disaster prevention and recovery for its irreplaceably valuable collections. The staff of the History & Genealogy Library, located in downtown Santa Rosa, will lead the project with support from the library’s facilities team.

“This award will fund the purchase of environmental monitoring units, shelving for oversized archival materials and disaster recovery supplies that can easily be mobilized during an emergency,” said Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library Manager Katherine Rinehart. “As caretakers of Sonoma County’s history, we are pleased to be able to further ensure the care and protection of our unique special collections.”

The grant’s period is from September 2019 to February 2021 and is in the amount of $7,663.

The October 2017 fires directly threatened the library’s off-site storage of county government records. As part of a larger community effort to find a new home for the archive, library staff sought funding to improve collection management and enhance rapid response to threats to special collections held at the off-site archive, the Wine Library in Healdsburg, the Petaluma History Room and the History & Genealogy Library.

The library’s special collections and archives span from the early 19th century to the present and are particularly strong in the areas of local government, architecture and urban development, agriculture, Native history and culture, women’s history, transportation, arts, immigration and the history of settlement in Sonoma County.

The NEH grant proposal was designed to implement recommendations from a 2018 preservation needs assessment funded by the California State Library’s Preservation Program, as well as best practices outlined in a series of disaster preparedness and recovery workshops.

The grant compliments other efforts Sonoma County Library has made to expand documentation of the county’s history, including a web archiving project, North Bay Fires 2017, that is part of a national public library web archiving initiative led by Internet Archive.

History Event

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this news post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Volunteer to help kids with homework at your library

Are you ready to help a young person be successful in school? Does helping kids with homework sound like a fun way to spend your afternoon? Are you excited about reading and math?

Consider joining our team of dedicated volunteers helping K-12 students succeed in Sonoma County. The Sonoma County Library is recruiting volunteers for Homework Help at the Petaluma, Northwest Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Rincon Valley Library branches for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Our dedicated volunteers love engaging with families and sharing their unique skills to help kids learn. This weekly commitment is a great way to become involved in your community and help your library thrive!” said Cailin Yeager, Children’s Librarian at Petaluma Regional Library.

You can help children and teens throughout the school year, with homework assignments and literacy and mathematics skills. You will be helping students of all ages individually, or in small groups on a drop-in basis. The library will train you. A criminal background check (paid for by the library) is required for volunteers 18 and up.

Take this opportunity to make homework more fun for young people, gain education and library-related experience and have a great time. To apply, please contact the librarian in charge of Homework Help at your branch:

Cloverdale Regional Library: Donna Romeo: (707) 894-5271

Petaluma Regional Library: Gigi Gilbert-Igelsrud: (707) 763-9801

Northwest Santa Rosa Library: Kim Popenuck: (707) 546-2265

Rincon Valley Library: Bill Coolidge: (707) 537-0162

Sebastopol Regional Library: Rosalie Abbott: (707) 823-7691.

To stay up to date on what’s happening (library events, services and updates) at the Sonoma County Library, visit and connect on Facebook at

  • LINK+ borrow more items

    LINK+ borrow more materials from more libraries

Borrow More Materials from More Libraries with LINK+

Not finding what you are looking for at your local branch? You now have access to a single, online searchable catalog of over 70 California and Nevada libraries; all you need is your Sonoma County Library card. With this new free service, called LINK+, patrons can request books, DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs and more to be delivered to their local branch. LINK+ is known for its quick service, with most items arriving within a week.

“We’re so excited to leverage the massive collections of other libraries and make over nine million additional items available for checkout,” said Jaime Anderson, Sonoma County Library Collection Services Division Manager. “LINK+ expands on the spirit of libraries to freely share resources and will greatly benefit our patrons.”

When the Sonoma County Library catalog does not have the item that a cardholder would like to check out, they can search the LINK+ catalog. Most materials loan for 21 days, with one renewal (subject to approval of lending library). Patrons can place requests online and monitor the progress of requests any time through their LINK+ account.

Check out LINK+ at or navigate through the Books and More page of the website. LINK+ is free and open to all with a Sonoma County Library card.

  • Picture of Zayda and Cortunay at Chicago internship kick-off event

    Intern Cortunay Minor (middle, foreground) and Special Collections Librarian & Archivist Zayda Delgado (right, background) traveled to Chicago for the internship program’s summer kick-off event held June 13-15.

Sonoma County Library joins 50 nationwide libraries in hosting interns from diverse backgrounds

The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library in Santa Rosa is hosting a summer intern, Cortunay Minor, as part of the Public Library Association’s Inclusive Internship Initiative (III). Minor was one of 56 applicants to the program. She graduated in the top 10 percentile with Summa Cum Laude Honor Roll distinction from Santa Rosa High School.

“We anticipate learning as much from [Minor] as she will about the unique opportunities that come with working with special collections in a public library setting,” said Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library Manager Katherine Rinehart.

Minor has been in her role for a few weeks and is finding the experience to be enjoyable and rewarding. “My critical thinking has expanded, my local historical awareness is developing, my social identity vocabulary is maturing and the overall open-mindedness I try to maintain has stretched even wider,” Minor said. “Guided by the structure of the internship, I plan to keep working in this direction of reconsideration and redefinition, if only to help authentically document those who have been historically under-documented.”

Through the initiative, PLA is sponsoring paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds. With individual guidance from a mentor, each intern will engage with multiple facets of library life. Over the course of the summer, interns and mentors will develop and complete a connected-learning project. III will have an immediate benefit to the libraries and student participants. Library staff will better understand early career pathways to librarianship and gain appreciation for their role and impact in supporting diversity along those paths. Students will better understand how librarians positively serve their communities, and gain the tools to make decisions about the educational directions that will lead them into library service and leadership. Interns will have opportunities to connect with one another and mentors across the country to share what they are learning and doing.

Minor began her internship in June and has been working closely with her appointed mentors at the History & Genealogy Library; Special Collections Librarians and Archivists Zayda Delgado and Joanna Kolosov. The trio is working on a connected learning project that will conclude with a wrap-up presentation of Minor’s experiences in Washington, D.C. Delgado and Minor recently traveled to Chicago for III’s summer kick-off event from June 13-15.

This fall, Minor will head to Seattle to continue her academic and artistic studies at Cornish College of the Arts, where she is majoring in theater acting. She is particularly interested in promoting cultural tolerance and competency among local populations. She plans to target teens and young adults, but is hopeful that any long-term impact will reach beyond these groups.

III 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.

  • Fine Free library image

    Fine Free library image

Library to eliminate fines for 80,000 patrons

On July 1, the Sonoma County Library went “fine-free” and eliminated overdue fines for items returned late, as well as forgiving past fines. In all, more than 80,000 people — 30 percent of all library borrowers — had their overdue fines waived.

“Research shows that charging fines doesn’t make a difference in whether people bring back books on time,” said Sarah Vantrease, Public Services Division Manager for the library. “Instead, we see that fines drive people away.”

While overdue fines are on their way out, some fees will remain. “We will no longer track and collect fines for overdue materials, but you still have to bring them back,” Vantrease said. Books, CDs, DVDs and other items that are kept more than 42 days after their due date will be considered “lost” and a replacement fee will be added to the borrower’s account. Returning the lost item in good condition will result in the fee being removed.

Library fines can be an extra burden for a family that may be struggling to manage the high cost of living in Sonoma County. “People want to be responsible and do the right thing, but sometimes have to make choices about which bills to pay,” said Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond. “Thirty percent of our patrons owe fines right now, and that’s not a good way to do business.”

“Eliminating fines and making it easier to use the library is the right thing to do,” Hammond said. “We are not in the business of collecting fines, we are in the business of sharing books and other materials to help the people of Sonoma County discover, learn and share ideas and information.”

Going fine-free is part of a plan to increase access to libraries. In addition to eliminating all past fines and not charging new fines, we are changing our library card policy. The library will still require photo identification to get a library card, but the requirement to provide proof-of-address will be eliminated, to better serve displaced, shelterless and seasonal residents.

To review our revised circulation policy, click here.

  • Meet the Director

    Meet the Director

Library reinstates system-wide "Meet the Director" series

Beginning in July 2019, the Sonoma County Library is reinstating its “Meet the Director” (formerly “Coffee with the Director”) series to give the community a chance to get to know Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond, who began her leadership role in March of this year. These monthly meetings provide a safe space for community members of all ages to gather and learn about library news, ask questions and share suggestions. The Meet the Director series will be held at each of the Sonoma County Library branches, giving residents across the county the opportunity to participate.


“Meet the Director encourages open communication between community members and library staff,” Hammond said. “The library belongs to everyone and I want to ensure that patrons are aware of the wide variety of resources we offer across our branches. I’m also eager to answer any questions and hear recommendations that people may have for the library.”

Hammond has experience with similar events in her previous roles as a library executive in California and Kentucky.

Meet the Director events are free and open to all.  For more information, call 707-545-0831 x 1553.

Library offers free summer lunches to youth

The library is feeding more than hungry minds this summer.

From Monday, June 3 to Saturday, August 10, the Sonoma County Library is running its Lunch at the Library program for youths at eight library branches, thanks to a partnership with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, the California Library Association and the California Summer Meal Coalition. The library will distribute free meals to those aged 0-18 at the following libraries:

  • Central Santa Rosa  Monday-Friday, June 3 - August 9, 12:00-12:30 pm
  • Cloverdale      Monday-Friday, June 10-July 12, 12:00-12:30 pm (no service July 3-5)
  • Healdsburg   Monday-Friday, June 10-August 2, 12:00-12:30 pm
  • Northwest     Monday-Friday, June 3-August 9, 12:00-12:30 pm
  • Petaluma    Monday-Friday, June 3 - August 2, 12:00-12:30 pm
  • Rohnert Park     Monday-Friday, June 10-August 2, 12:15-12:45 pm
  • Sebastopol    Monday-Friday, June 10-August 2, 12:15-1:00 pm
  • Sonoma Valley   Monday-Friday, June 10-August 9, 12:00-12:30 pm

The Lunch at the Library program coincides with the library’s Summer Reading Program. “This is the fifth year we’ve enhanced our Summer Reading Program by providing meals to kids in our community,” said Education Initiatives Librarian Rachel Icaza. “We’re excited to collaborate with our partners to combat both summer learning loss and hunger.” 

Studies show that malnourishment can diminish a child’s overall learning potential. Of the Sonoma County children who are eligible for free lunches during the school year, most do not have access to a similar program during the summer. Additionally, children who do not read over the summer can lose months of academic progress. Through August 10, the library is hosting a range of free activities for children, tweens, teens and adults to encourage a love of reading. For more information about the Summer Reading Program, visit

The Lunch at the Library program will span the length of the summer, ending August 10. Start and end dates vary between library sites. For more information about Lunch at the Library, including menus, visit This program is free to youths 0-18 and nutritional meals are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no income requirement to participate and all are welcome.


  • Archives Unbound

    Archives Unbound

Digital Resource on Local and National History Launches

We’re excited to announce that Sonoma County Library cardholders are now able to dig into virtually every nook and cranny of U.S. and California history, thanks to an extensive digital resource known as Archives Unbound.

With Archives Unbound, library patrons have free access to 296 collections of historical topics in categories including:

  • African American Studies
  • Business History
  • U.S. History
  • County and Regional History
  • Cultural Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Law and Legal Studies
  • Native American Studies
  • Social History
  • Women’s Studies
  • And much more!

The content spans 12 million pages of primary source materials and is available online 24/7. Archives Unbound is geared towards scholars engaged in serious research and students at the college and university level, but is available to all.

Additionally, users can conduct general searches and view documents including newspapers, manuscripts and monographs. Users can also create an account to save documents of interest.

Check out the new resource here: Archives Unbound.


  • All Are Welcome

    All Are Welcome

Read with PRIDE during the Month of June

The month of June celebrates a rainbow of diversity and commemorates LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning and others) progress through LGBTQ+ Pride Month, GLBT Book Month and more. The Sonoma County Library honors and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community through collections, events, programs and hiring, and recently hosted a table at the Sonoma County Pride festival in Santa Rosa on June 1.

“Sonoma County Library is committed to social equity and free access to information,” said Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond. “We are here to serve everyone, inclusive of ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, country of origin, age, faith and socio-economic status.”

While at the Sonoma County Pride Festival on June 1, library staff shared information about the Summer Reading Program and supplied handouts on how to sign up for a library card. The library also offered LGBTQ+ book lists for all ages and gave visitors the chance to spin a prize wheel. Education Initiatives Librarian Rachel Icaza was one of the library employees at the table.

“It was perfect to have the library present at this wonderful family-friendly event,” Icaza said. “People were lining up to spin the prize wheel and to hear all about summer fun at the library. It was a great day!”

Sonoma County Library offers a monthly Pride Book Club for Teens, list of LGBTQ+ resources and LGBTQ+ materials available for check out. The library encourages every patron to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning (and more) lives and experiences by attending a library event, picking up a book (or eBook), listening to an eAudiobook or watching a DVD.  Scroll down to learn more.

Pride Table  Table

Sonoma County Library at the Sonoma County Pride festival in Santa Rosa on June 1.  From left, Library staff members Kim Dargeou, Rachel Icaza and Terra Emerson.



Come discuss the latest queer YA books with other teens! This month we will be reading “Queer, There, and Everywhere” by Sarah Prager. Pick up a copy of the book at the Adult Reference Desk at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library. Note that this book club meets monthly.


Each branch of the Sonoma County Library has a unique display to highlight and recognize the lives and literature that we are celebrating this June!


  • LGBTQ+ Resource Guide - This limited resource list provides perspectives on LGBTQI rights, history, experiences, relationships, and culture.
  • LGBTQ+ Materials List - The materials on this list offer people of all ages opportunities to dig deeper into the topic of LGBTQI from LGBTQI history and rights to understanding the LGBTQI experience, relationships and culture.  
  • LGBTQ Connection - Napa & Sonoma: LGBTQ Connection, an initiative fueled by youth and other emerging leadership, fosters a healthier, more vibrantly diverse and inclusive community.
  • LGBTQ+ Youth & Young Adult Support Groups (Positive Images)
  • LGBTQ+ Adult Support Groups (Positive Images)
  • Hotlines (Positive Images)
  • The Trevor Project 24/7 Lifeline - (TEENS) The Trevor Project offers the largest safe social networking community for LGBTQ young people under 25, best practice suicide prevention educational trainings, resources for youth and adults, and advocacy initiatives.

Library Materials: Books for Children, Teens, Adults… and TV shows and Movies!






Ask one of our friendly librarians at your favorite branch of the Sonoma County Library.  We are here for you!