Library News

Mock Caldecott 2019

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 four 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 8 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 for review. 

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!

The Big Umbrella
by Amy June Bates
/ill. Juniper Bates

The Sequoia Lives On
by Joanna Cooke /
ill. Fiona Hsieh


Hello Lighthouse
by Sophie Blackall

Julián is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love


If I Had a Horse
by Gianna Marino

Drawn Together
by Minh Lê /
ill. Dan Santat


Ocean Meets Sky
by the Fan Brothers

by Yuyi Morales



  • colored puzzle pieces in a circle, with text: together at the table

Help Us Choose Next Topics for Together at the Table

Our initial grant for Together at the Table has completed. Read here for a recap of our year-long project.

We're excited to continue bringing community conversations on important issues for our community to explore and discuss together, and we'd like YOU to help us decide what's next!
Please take the brief survey at the link below to let us know what hot topics you'd like to learn about in the new year!  
  • Staff assist patron with new photocopier.

    Joanna Kolosov and Simone Kremkau assist a patron with the library’s new copier. The patron is Robert Foster, a real estate agent who came in to research the history of a house located in Santa Rosa’s St. Rose neighborhood. (Photo by Katherine Rinehart)

History and Genealogy Library Reopens

Improved space for history collections

The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library reopened Monday, Dec. 10 in downtown Santa Rosa, after a two-and-a-half month modernization of the facility.

Students, genealogists, historians, journalists and those researching a myriad of topics specific to Sonoma County and its environs will find a fresh and expanded experience at the library, located next door to the Santa Rosa Central Branch. The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library has new paint, updated heating and air conditioning, modern lighting and more space for reference and research.

The recent work was paid for by proceeds from Measure Y, a one-eighth of a cent sales tax approved by Sonoma County voters in 2016. The Sonoma County Library is in the early stages of a multi-year project to update and modernize all its branches and facilities. The History & Genealogy Library will be updated further in the future, as funds become available.

The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library was established in 1967 as the Sonoma County Room and was located on the second floor of the Central Library. As the collection grew, in 1998 it was transferred to 725 Third Street, commonly known as “The Annex.”

Until this year, it shared space with the Sonoma County Library’s Adult Literacy program. When library administration moved to another facility in February, Adult Literacy moved into the Central Library.

“The History & Genealogy Library will now occupy the entire Annex, giving us more room to grow and space to comfortably accommodate patrons,” said Katherine Rinehart, History & Genealogy Manager. “This also gives us more space to properly store and process a backlog of materials, which we are eager to share with the public.”

The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library is open the same hours as most Sonoma County Library branches. It opens at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, closes at 9 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and 6 p.m. all other days.

“Our staff is dedicated to collecting, preserving and making accessible local history, as well as genealogical materials of a national and international focus. We look forward to welcoming the community as we grow,” Rinehart said.

An open house and celebration is planned for January 9, 2019, from 4 to 8 p.m. More details will be available soon. For more information, contact Katherine Rinehart at

The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library is online at and on Facebook at

Your Investment in Your Libraries

Measure Y increases hours and access, expands collections, program sand services, maintains library facilitiesIn November 2016, 72 percent of Sonoma County voters approved Measure Y, a one-eighth of a cent sales tax to support the 14-branch Sonoma County Library system.

The funds are being used to:

  • Increase hours
  • Increase access
  • Expand collections
  • Expand programs and services
  • Maintain library facilities

From early literacy programs, to improved access to historical materials; from child and teen programming, to help for veterans and job seekers; from expanded bilingual collections, to new online streaming; your sales tax pennies add up to exciting improvements at your local free public library!

As part of our commitment to transparency, the Sonoma County Library Commission appointed a diverse Measure Y Oversight Committee, volunteers like you who meet to review revenues and expenditures. The 2017-2018 committee report is here.

Free SAT Intensive Prep Classes at Six Locations

Sonoma County Library will offer free 5-hour SAT Intensive prep classes during January and February 2019 for high school juniors who will be taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). These classes are part of Sonoma County Library’s Path to College series that supports college-bound high school students and their families. With these classes, the Library seeks to meet the needs of students through all stages of the college preparation and application process.

Registration for SAT Intensive prep classes is required and begins on Saturday, December 8, 2018. Students or parents can pick up registration forms at the six libraries where the class will be offered: Windsor Regional Library, Petaluma Regional Library, Central Santa Rosa Library, Cloverdale Regional Library, Forestville Library, and Rincon Valley Library. Registration is limited to high school juniors.

The SAT Intensive prep class includes study and review of problematic areas of all sections of the SAT including the essay. Students are provided with an individual copy of The Official SAT Prep Guide for use in the class and extended study at home. The class comprises two parts of 2½ hours each; students must attend both parts.

The course is offered at each of the following locations, dates & times:

All workshops are led by qualified local experts and are free and open to high school students. Attendance is limited to 25 high school juniors at each location.

A majority of past SAT Intensive participants have strongly agreed that they feel better prepared for the SAT test format, directions, and scoring, and would recommend the class to a friend. One parent says, “These college talks and preparation classes are invaluable to both parents and students.  I would really appreciate if the library to provide more of these services since there is such a great need for this information.”

These classes are part of the Library's Path to College series. For more information, contact Youth Services Administrator Kathy DeWeese at 545-0831 x1513 or Read more about services and programs offered by the Library at and keep in touch with the library at and on Facebook,



  • learn a new language today with mango languages

December is Learn a Foreign Language Month

There are plenty of reasons to learn a foreign language. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages language learning supports academic achievement, improved reading abilities, linguistic awareness, and positive attitudes towards other cultures. Get started with Mango Languages, a great resource free to use with your Sonoma County Library card!

Through Mango, library users are offered the opportunity to learn 60 foreign languages and 17 English courses taught in the user’s native tongue. The service is available to library card holders at the library, through the library website, and for mobile devices with apps for iPhone, Android, Kindle and Nook.

Mango Languages includes Foreign Language Courses at both the Basic and Advanced Level. Use Mango Basic courses to quickly learn some basic words and phrases for a business trip or short trip overseas. Mango Complete courses are aimed at students who want to move beyond basic language skills. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and more. You can even learn Pirate.

Start learning a new language today!


  • Morgan Rose Pershing - CLA Member of the Year for 2018

    Morgan Rose Pershing - CLA Member of the Year for 2018

Petaluma Resident Honored by State Library Group

Morgan Rose Pershing, a Petaluma resident, was honored on Nov. 11 at the annual California Library Association (CLA) conference. For her service to the association and to California libraries, Pershing was named “CLA Member of the Year” for 2018.

In announcing the award, CLA listed Pershing’s many accomplishments and called her, “an outspoken advocate for all things library.”

Pershing has been a member of CLA since 2010. “It’s nice to be honored by an organization that has offered me so many opportunities,” said Pershing. “I feel so honored to be part of a helping profession and having my peers recognize me means a great deal to me.”

Pershing has been involved in CLA’s Summer Reading Council for four years, an effort that encourages people to keep reading during summer vacations. She has also been involved in adult reading services groups, serves on the advisory council for the California Center for the Book and is a professor at San Jose State University’s iSchool, which offers a Master of Library and Information Science degree.

Pershing is the Adult Services Administrator for the Sonoma County Library. Before coming to SCL, she worked in library services for 11 years, including a stint as the Community Library Manager on Catalina Island.

Sarah Vantrease, Public Services Division Manager for the Sonoma County Library, said: “Morgan’s work reaches and engages adults of all ages. She helps people learn and have fun at their library.”

  • image of hands holding a video game controller with text: Video Games

Library Launches Video Game Collection

Sonoma County Library is excited to announce the launch of a new circulating video game collection. Games are becoming an increasingly important way people learn, interact, and have fun, addressing such educational needs as:

  • Games make learning fun by lowering the emotional stakes of failing, and players take risks and learn through trial and error.
  • Games have an infinite range of solutions, just like real life.
  • In the game world, players make their own discoveries and apply what they learn to new contexts.
  • When a player enters a game, they begin identifying core conditions and look for problems that must be addressed.
  • Games are a mode of active engagement. They encourage experimentation and risk-taking, and they view the process of solving a problem as important as finding the answer.
  • Games span across language barriers, and players do not necessarily need to speak English to participate.

According to the latest survey by the Entertainment Software Association, 67 percent of households own a device used to play video games. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the time Americans spend playing video and board games has risen 50 percent since 2003.

The Library’s Video Games collection intends to meet the needs of the gamers in our community, while providing access to high-quality educational and entertainment games. The collection has games available for two gaming platforms: Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The focus of the initial collection is video games for youth, including games rated EC (Early Childhood), E (Everyone), and E10+ (Everyone 10+) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. We plan to expand the collection to include games for teen and adult patrons in the next year. Find out which games we own, where they are located, and place your hold today:



  • book cover Kindred with Sonoma County Reads logo

"Sonoma County Reads" Brings the Community Together to Read "Kindred"

The Sonoma County Library urges all residents to join in this year’s selection for “Sonoma County Reads”—Octavia Butler’s Kindred, or Parentesco in Spanish. The 2018 community read begins in October and continues into December, with book discussion events and multiple copies of the book available at your local library branch.

Butler’s book is a tale of Dana, a modern black woman who suddenly transports via time-travel from her home in Los Angeles to a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, has somehow summoned her across time to save him from drowning. After this first summons, she is drawn back repeatedly to protect Rufus and ensure he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana’s ancestor.  First published in 1979, Kindred explores a number of questions about the legacy of slavery in the United States, gender, race, and power, historical memory and trauma, and the meaning of freedom through a fascinating combination of time travel story and slave narrative.

Since 2003, the Sonoma County Library has brought a county-wide “community read” program to the residents of Sonoma County. The goal is to foster a common culture through reading a common title, to open avenues of conversation, and to encourage reading. The program is a community effort, and the Library’s partners include Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College.

“We have read a wide variety of wonderful books over the past 15 years,” notes Adult Services Administrator Morgan Rose Pershing, “including The Call of the Wild by our own Jack London, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and the poems of Emily Dickinson.”

This year’s selection is available in both Spanish and English, and the Library will have many copies in each language. “There will even be some available for free, thanks to the support of Measure Y,” notes Pershing. “We’re encouraging readers to pick up a copy, read it, and pass it on!”

Please visit the Sonoma County Reads Facebook page to see more upcoming events and offerings.

Sonoma County Library adds film-streaming service Kanopy

Thanks to support from Measure Y, Sonoma County Library now offers library users free access to the popular on-demand film streaming service Kanopy. With a Sonoma County library card, patrons can easily stream and enjoy more than 30,000 of the world’s best films, including award-winning documentaries, rare and hard-to-find titles, film festival favorites, the Criterion collection, indie and classic films, and world cinema. 

Kanopy aims to provide “thoughtful entertainment” by offering access to films of unique social and cultural value; films that are often difficult or impossible to access elsewhere, and inclusive programming that features foreign language films and films on race, culture and current affairs. Kanopy’s dedication to thoughtful entertainment includes educational and engaging videos for children through Kanopy Kids. This collection of titles for children of all ages includes PBS Kids programming and encourages social and emotional development, promotes respect for community diversity and inspires creativity.  Kanopy is also compatible for hearing-impaired (with captions and transcripts) and visually-impaired patrons (compatible with technologies such as JAWS).

To use Kanopy, all users need is a valid library card, an email address and an internet connection. Visit to access Kanopy and sign up to start streaming films instantly. Each Sonoma County Library cardholder can stream Kanopy to watch up to six films per month, each with a three-day loan period. Film credits are then refreshed on the first of the month. Stream whenever and wherever you like through your web browser or the Kanopy app available in the App StoreGoogle Play StoreRoku and Amazon Fire Tablet.

Start streaming now!