Library News

  • Sonoma County Archives Crawl photo

Sonoma County Archives Crawl

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

October is National Archives Month, which is the inspiration for the first ever Sonoma County Archives Crawl - an event designed to celebrate archives and encourage visitors to explore and engage with institutions that collect archival material.

Groups will be hosting tables at the Central Santa Rosa Library Forum Room (211 E Street, Santa Rosa):

  • Sonoma Valley Historical Society
  • Sonoma County Genealogical Society
  • The Sitting Room Community Library
  • Sonoma County Historical Society
  • John C. Burton - Northwestern Bottle Collectors Assn.
  • Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County
  • Sonoma County LGBTQI Timeline
  • Historical Society of Santa Rosa
  • Sonoma County Historical Records Commission
  • Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters
  • Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery Preservation Committee
  • Sonoma County 2020 Women's Suffrage Project

Special presentations at the Central Santa Rosa Forum Room:

12:30 PM - Preserving History and Democracy. Deva Marie Proto, Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters

2: 30 PM - Saving, Sharing, and Celebrating Your Family's History & Heritage. Jack Schaeffer, Act3 Partners

On Saturday, October 5th, 2019, Sonoma County Library's three special collections, the History & Genealogy Library, the Wine Library, and the Petaluma History Room, along with partner organizations listed below, will be hosting open houses.

  1. California State Parks, Blue Wing Inn
    Address: 131 East Spain Street, Sonoma
    Contact Phone: (707) 938-9560
    Normal opening hours: none
    Hours open on October 5: 10 am to 4 pm
    Offering on October 5: The museum curator and others will greet visitors and share material from their archives. The theme for the event is An Invitation to Pomp and Circumstance, highlighting past invitations to socialize and celebrate.


  2. The Sitting Room Community Library
    Address: 2025 Curtis Drive, Penngrove
    Contact Phone: (707) 795-9028
    Normal opening hours: 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday
    Hours open on October 5: 9 am to 6 pm
    Offering on October 5: Over 300 individual files on women writers will be available to browse, including the 13th Century on and spanning different regions, from Africa to Vietnam. Tea and scones will be served.


  3. West County Museum
    Address: 261 South Main Street, Sebastopol
    Contact Phone: (707) 829-6711
    Normal opening hours: Thursday through Sunday 1 to 4 PM
    Hours open on October 5: 1 to 4 PM
    Offering on October 5: The library geared toward western Sonoma County will be open for research along with collections of artifacts, photos/negatives and newspapers. The exhibit “Seats of History” will be on display.


  4. Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society
    Address: 221 Matheson Street, Healdsburg
    Contact Phone: (707) 431-3325
    Normal opening hours: 11 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday
    Hours open on October 5: 11 am to 4 pm
    Offering on October 5: Handwritten Healdsburg tax records, early Rancho Sotoyome maps and original WWII posters will be highlighted. "Wine Roots of Healdsburg" and "Mervyn Silberstein: A Photographic Legacy" exhibitions will be on display.


  5. Charles M. Schulz Museum
    Address: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa
    Phone: (707) 579-4452
    Normal opening hours: week days 11 am to 5 pm and weekends 10 am to 5 pm
    Hours open on October 5: 10 am to 5 pm (museum) and 10 am to 3 pm (archives)
    Offering on October 5: Original illustrated correspondence from Charles’ Schulz’s time in the Army during WWII, calendars used by Schulz and one of the earliest comic books in which Schulz was published will be displayed.


  6. Museum of Sonoma County
    Address: 425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa
    Phone: (707) 579-1500
    Normal opening hours: 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday
    Hours open on October 5: 11 am to 5 pm (museum) and 11 am to 3 pm (archives)
    Offering on October 5: Highlights from the Song Wong Bourbeau Collection (Santa Rosa’s Chinatown), the Fountaingrove Collection and the Sonoma County Historical Society Collection will be on view in the archives. “Santa Rosa History” and “Día de los Muertos” exhibitions will be on display.


  7. Cotati Museum and Historical Society
    Address: 201 West Sierra Avenue, Cotati
    Phone: (707) 794-0305
    Normal opening hours: Saturdays 1 to 4 pm, second Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 pm
    Hours open on October 5: noon to 4 pm
    Offering on October 5: The exhibit “WA: Harmony, Peace and things Japanese, Japanese in Cotati” will be on display. Other highlights include the Jim Boggio archives and Cotati Accordion Festival Poster archives.


  8. Geyserville Museum at the Bosworth and Son Store
    Address: 21060 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville
    Phone: (707) 857-3463
    Normal opening hours: 11 am to 7 pm Thursday through Sunday
    Hours open on October 5: 11 am to 7 pm
    Offering on October 5: Geyserville historical photographs and local artifacts including handwritten documents associated with pioneer Dr. Elisha Ely and notebooks will be on display. The store sells Western apparel and hats. Come have your favorite hats cleaned!


  9. Petaluma Historical Library and Museum
    Address: 20 Fourth Street, Petaluma
    Phone: (707) 778-4398
    Normal opening hours: 10 am to 4 pm Thursday through Sunday
    Hours open on October 5: 10 am to 4 pm
    Offering on October 5: The Hoppy Hopkins Research Library will be open. The current exhibit features photos of glass negatives from local photographer Joe Wayne. Visitors are invited to a Historic Downtown Walking Tour at 10:30 a.m., led by costumed docents.


  10. Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society (Hogarty Research Library and Archive)
    Address: 1364 North McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma
    Phone: (707) 838-8882
    Normal opening hours: 10 am to 4 pm Thursdays
    Hours open on October 5: 11 am to 4 pm
    Offering on October 5: This collections consist of 10,000+ maps, 12,000+ photos, employee records, corporate records, financial records and more for the San Francisco and North Pacific, North Pacific Coast, Petaluma and Santa Rosa, and Albion Railroads as well as the Northwestern Pacific Railroad.


  11. Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society (Restoration Yard)
    Address: Corner of Copeland Street and East Washington Street, Petaluma
    Phone: (707) 838-8882
    Normal opening hours: 10 am to 4 pm alternate Saturdays
    Hours open on October 5: 11 am to 4 pm
    Offering on October 5: Staff will explain the history of two fully restored cars of the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad, one baggage car of the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad, and one passenger car of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad undergoing restoration.


  12. Windsor Historical Society & Hembree House Museum
    Address: 9225 Foxwood Drive, Windsor
    Phone: (707) 838-4563
    Normal opening hours: 9:30 - 4:30 Friday, Saturday and Sunday and by appointment
    Hours open on October 5t: 9:30 to 4:30
    Offering on October 5: The 1938 Camp Windsor Migrant Labor Camp collection will be available and the Camp Windsor, German POW Camp collection; including photos, letters, recollections, etc.


  13. Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library and Archives
    Address: 725 Third Street, Santa Rosa
    Phone: (707) 308-3212
    Normal opening hours: M & W 10 AM to 9 PM; T, Th, Fri, & Sat 10 AM to 6 PM
    Hours open on October 5: 11 AM to 4 PM
    Offering on October 5: There will be pop-up exhibits featuring recent donations, as well as a local history quiz and scavenger hunt. Staff will be on hand to discuss preservation issues, how to teach with primary resources and offer research tips and tricks.


  14. Sonoma County Wine Library – Healdsburg Regional Library
    Address: 139 Piper Street, Healdsburg
    Phone: (707) 433-3772 ext. 0416
    Normal opening hours: M & W 10 AM to 9 PM; T, Th, Fri, & Sat 10 AM to 6 PM
    Hours open on October 5: 11 AM to 4 PM
    Offering on October 5 : Displays of historic wine bottles, labels and corkscrews. Test your knowledge for a chance to win a prize and make sure to visit the Healdsburg Museum’s exhibit “Wine Roots of Healdsburg” which features items from the Wine Library collection.


  15. Petaluma History Room – Petaluma Regional Library
    Address: 100 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma
    Phone: (707) 763-9801
    Normal opening hours: M & W 10 AM to 9 PM; T, Th, Fri, & Sat 10 AM to 6 PM
    Hours open on October 5 : 11 AM to 4 PM
    Offering on October 5: Displays with fun facts about Petaluma streets as well as the 1912 trip of the Alco truck carrying the first paid delivery by truck in the nation. Then and now pictures of Petaluma. Use of typewriters to write a letter that staff will mail.


2019 Summer Lunch at the Library Impact

In 2019, for the fifth year in a row, Sonoma County Library served free lunches to children ages 0-18 during the summer months, in an effort to help combat food insecurity on Sonoma County. Our library sites are eligible to participate if the closest public school to a library has more than 50% of its students eligible for free and reduced lunch during the school year.

For summer 2019, we had 8 participating library sites - Central Santa Rosa, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Northwest Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park-Cotati, Sebastopol, and Sonoma Valley.

From surveys returned by participating children and families, we learned that through this program we:

  • Served 6832 meals to children and teens across the county (an increase of 36% over 2018)
  • Served meals on 324 days across 8 locations (increase from 259 days/6 locations in 2018)
  • Supported the physical, emotional, and developmental health of low income children in the community
  • Engaged children and youth in summer reading programs and other library programming
  • Provided community service opportunities to teens
  • Provided a safe and trusted community space for children and families to go while school is out of session
  • Provided families with access to technology and other community resources and services.

We'll be back again next summer, and we'd love to have you volunteer to help serve lunches to the children of our community!

  • Telescope photo

    Participation in an art contest and attendance at library space events will earn children in grades K-9 raffle tickets to win an Orion SkyQuest XT6 Dobsonian Telescope. Photo Megan Backus.

Library hosting radio event to connect students with astronaut

Invitation to ARISS photo

On October 1, 12:15pm to 1:15pm, the Sonoma County Library will connect local students via amateur radio with astronaut, Nick Hague, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), a unique and inspirational event following a month of educational space activities held at library branches throughout the county.

“The library encourages everyone to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station and experience radio science technology,” said Sonoma County Library Events Specialist Megan Backus.

The ISS contact will occur on October 1, from 12:15pm to 1:15pm. The Central Library will host an event where 8th grade students from Santa Rosa Middle School will pose questions to astronaut Nick Hague through a Telebridge radio link.

The library collaborated with Sonoma County Radio Amateurs to pursue the ISS opportunity and is partnering with the Robert Ferguson Observatory to provide a variety of space-related educational STEAM programs at branches across the county in September through early October.

The library is also sponsoring a countywide Out Of This World Art Contest, asking youth in grades K-9 to submit original artwork depicting what they imagine they would see through the window of the ISS. The contest ends on September 21.

Participation in the art contest and attendance at any of the space events will earn children in grades K-9 raffle tickets to win an Orion SkyQuest XT6 Dobsonian Telescope, donated by the Robert Ferguson Observatory and Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa.

Visit to learn more about the space events happening at various Sonoma County Library branches and the ISS contact.

The amateur radio contact is made possible by the ARISS project. Sonoma County Library was selected as one of 13 organizations across the country to host amateur radio contact with the ISS.

  • 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.

  • 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.