Library News

  • book cover image: The Sequoia Lives On

Mock Caldecott 2019 Results

The votes are in! Sonoma County has chosen the best 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 fourth 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 2018, 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. 

Drum roll please . . . The Sonoma County's Mock Caldecott Winner is...

The Sequoia Lives On
by Joanna Cooke
ills. by Fiona Hsieh



Check back on Monday, Jan. 28 to see what books win the official contest!






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

 Julian is a Mermaid

By Jessica Love


by Yuyi Morales


Ocean Meets Sky

by The Fan Brothers

  • image of fox and trees with text Winter Reading Challenge 2019

Children's Winter Reading Challenge launches January 15

In January and February 2019, Sonoma County Library will be joining other libraries around the world to participate in a Children's Winter Reading Challenge. To participate, Sonoma County Library children ages 0-12 are challenged to read at least 600 minutes between January 15-February 28 and track those minutes in Beanstack. Children who meet the goal of reading 600 minutes will earn a free book!

Children and parents are encouraged to log their reading through Sonoma County Library’s new online reading program Beanstack, a web and mobile application, to track self-directed reading time and help build a culture of reading in school and at home. The software makes it easier for students and families to record reading and stay motivated while providing insights and data about reading habits to school and library administrators. It can also suggest book titles readers might enjoy based on their interests and reading “doorways.”

“We’re excited to bring this new platform to Sonoma County, and families can easily register at or through the link on the library’s website homepage,” says Kathy DeWeese, Sonoma County Library’s Youth Services Administrator. “January is a great time to start new habits and we hope everyone will be excited to start off the year by making time for reading!”

To enroll, visit or your branch library. Paper logs for keeping track of your reading time are also available. To qualify for the challenge, reading times must be recorded on the Beanstack site by February 28, 2019.

  • New Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond

    New Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond

Sonoma County Library appoints new director

The Sonoma County Library Commission, at its January 7 meeting, voted to hire Ann Hammond as the new, permanent director for the library, which spans 12 branches, two stations and multiple special collections and libraries.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Ann,” said Reece Foxen, Chair of the Library Commission. “I believe she has the exact balance of experience and skills the library needs.”

Hammond comes to Sonoma County from Lexington, Kentucky, where she is serving as the Executive Director of the Lexington Public Library. This is Hammond’s third position as a library executive in California, serving in leadership roles in San Diego and Alameda counties before her position in Kentucky.

Hammond is experienced in public library management, budgeting, strategic planning and collections planning. Under her tenure, the Lexington library system renovated most of its branches and increased donations and community outreach.

“Kentucky is one of the friendliest and most beautiful states in the nation, and will always have a special place in my heart,” said Hammond. “But California is home, and I am overjoyed to be returning, and especially to be joining the Sonoma County Library team. This is an excellent library and I look forward to working with the staff and commission to continue growing services for the people of Sonoma County.”

Prior to her first library job in 1995, Hammond was a US Navy officer, a stay-at-home mom, an agronomist and a forensic scientist. In the 1990s, she met Deanna Marcum, who at the time served as the dean of the library school at Catholic University in Washington, DC. “Within 10 minutes, Deanna convinced me that not only did I want to be a librarian, I had always wanted to be a librarian,” Hammond said. “And she was right, there is no place in our society that is as positive and welcoming as a public library and I feel honored to be a librarian.”

The Sonoma County Library has been without a permanent director since mid-2017, when former director Brett Lear stepped down. Tracy Gray and Jaime Anderson served as interim directors until July 2018, when Susan Hildreth, a veteran of local, state and federal library service, joined as interim director.

“We have had excellent interim Library Directors while we searched for the right person. They have invigorated the staff and the commission,” Foxen said. “Ann will help us move the library into the future, continuing to give Sonoma County residents a library of which they can be extremely proud."

Hammond’s first day will be March 11.

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.”