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Free Bookmobile Start-Up & Operations Guide Available
Written by admin, January 21st, 2023   

Guide Cover

It’s been a challenging few years for the world. The pandemic continues to take a toll on our lives but we feel the time has come for bookmobiles to take the stage again. There are a variety of ways by which you could offer free books to your community, and even the standard vehicle format is viable with some common sense precautions, such as masking and distancing.

And so we have a great resource for you! Click here to view or download our comprehensive Free Bookmobile Start-Up & Operations guide. Containing much of what we learned during our years of operation throughout Sonoma County, the guide describes, step-by-step, how to launch, grow and maintain a free bookmobile. It also reveals our personal journey in the chapter supplements — “HOW WE DID IT”.


Even if such an endeavor doesn’t seem like your thing, have a peek. Hopefully you’ll find our story engaging, and you may be surprised at how easy and fun starting a new project can be. If you’re still not convinced, think about who might be excited to give it a try. Pass it along to them!

Here is the list of chapters:

1. Why Start a Free Bookmobile?
2. Surveying the Need in Your Area
3. Announcing Your Intentions and Enlisting Help
4. Your Outreach Vehicle and Related Equipment
5. Acquiring Books
6. Sorting and Storing Books
7. Displaying Books
8. Planning and Promoting Routes
9. Fundraising

Please feel free to be in touch with any questions or comments. We’d love to hear about any efforts you mount in your area. Our contact information is at the end of the guide and on our website.

Best wishes and happy giving!


New Bookmobile Photos Available
Written by admin, August 1st, 2020   

The new bookmobile that so many generous local donors made possible is basically complete! We experienced some challenges with the final construction tasks due to virus-related slowdowns but it’s now finished except for the carpet and exterior paint/graphics. As described in the previous post, our shutdown means we plan to give this vehicle to another non-profit organization that will have the resources to add literacy outreach to its programs.

This is just one teaser image of the interior and if you click on it (or here: you can see the whole gallery. Thanks again for those kind-hearted contributions that made it possible. With a little luck, it will be on the road serving access-challenged Sonoma County children sometime next year!


Free Bookmobile Discontinues Service After 11 Years of Literacy Outreach
Written by admin, June 8th, 2020   

As COVID-19 virus control measures appear to be a part of our lives for the next 12 months or more, we have concluded that our service model is untenable. Continuing with in-vehicle browsing would mean providing new gloves to everyone, policing masks and wipe-downs, and only letting one or two people inside the bookmobile at a time. It doesn’t sound like much fun for anyone and would drastically reduce the number of people we could serve each day. Outside browsing also presents problems with book-handling management, as well as increased labor and decreased selection.
There are other ways to distribute books (to children, in particular), but after some analysis, appear to be much lower impact than what we were doing. The magic of the Free Bookmobile was in the experience, which uniquely stimulated people’s interest and made the books inside more special, plus the freedom of choice, which meant the books would actually be read later! We’re just not interested in pushing random ‘age appropriate’ material at kids via pre-assembled book bags or other giveaways. Some of our staff are also facing personal challenges, so we have decided to wrap things up.
Many people donated generously last year toward our new bookmobile construction. Please be assured that we will be taking our time to make sure that vehicle is passed along to a reputable Sonoma County program that will make appropriate use of it for charitable literacy purposes, or as close as possible to that. We may need to put it in storage and wait until life returns to something like normal before we feel confident in making that gift. Suggestions are welcome regarding potential recipient organizations.
We plan to maintain our non-profit status for a while in order to be a resource for other groups or individuals who might like to promote literacy and love of reading. A FREE BOOKMOBILE START-UP GUIDE will soon be available for download in hopes that folks all over the country (or world!), especially those in service groups like Kiwanis and Rotary, will take a look and see how simple it is to launch a worthwhile book-sharing project.
Our service to Sonoma County has been the honor of a lifetime and meant so much to everyone involved. We’ll always treasure the relationships we made, and want to thank our many patrons and supporters for their cheerful participation. Until we meet again, keep reading books made from paper!

STEAM Home Activities Family Guide Available from Sonoma Raceway
Written by admin, June 6th, 2020   

STEAM Challenge

Our good friends at Sonoma Raceway have created a home study and activity guide that focuses on race-themed lessons in STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The goal is to make learning fun and connected to the world. The STEAM Race Car Challenge looks at race cars from a scientific perspective.

Most children learn best through hands-on projects. From cardboard, rubber bands, straws, buttons and an array of other objects will emerge a car powered by gravity alone. Design features that address efficient aerodynamics, reduce drag, minimize friction, increase speed and maximize distance make lessons in physics stick. In addition, this project is a practical venue to develop and reinforce 21st Century skills essential for career success in today’s workplace. When students are posed with questions like “What is the best design to make a car move faster?” or “What materials should I use that are durable but allow for maximum speed?” they have to be critical and creative thinkers to solve the challenge.

This year’s classroom teacher guide has been modified into something families can do at home to support remote-learning. Both the full downloadable packet and individual lessons can be found on Sonoma Raceway’s website by clicking here:

Noggin Offers Free 90-Day Early Learning Digital Subscription
Written by admin, April 20th, 2020   

Free 90-Day Noggin Subscription

A joint venture between Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop, Noggin is programming designed to help your family learn and play together while at home. Due to the unprecedented sheltering situation, they are making a free 90-day subscription to the Noggin app available to local families that we serve.

The Free Bookmobile staff has not evaluated the content but we are happy to pass along the opportunity. Here’s more directly from Noggin, with instruction on how to sign up:

“The app, developed by child development experts, is loaded with read-aloud e-books, learning games, songs, and other engaging content led by Nick Jr characters kids know and love. Options include:

Off-Screen Play — A weekly “ Smart Schedule ” will provide inspiration for off-screen,
do-together ideas. The schedule is created to be your one-stop-shop for content that will
help children develop big hearts, strong minds, and healthy bodies.

Health and Wellness Resources — Special content to help young children cope during
this time. It also includes suggestions on how to get additional support and guidance on
parenting and healthy child development.

To start your 90 days FREE subscription, follow these simple steps:
1. Enter this unique URL into your browser:
2. Follow the steps to create a FREE account
3. Check your inbox for a verification email (and verify your account)
4. Download the Noggin app on your devices through the Apple App Store, Google
Play Store, Amazon App Store and/or Roku
5. Open the Noggin app and tap Sign In
6. Sign in using your Noggin account email and password

We are committed to helping your family make the most of your moments together. Our
characters and learning experts are on a mission to entertain and educate kids, on screen and off. We hope you enjoy your free subscription!

If you are having trouble activating your free subscription please contact us at”

Vintage Bookmobile Photograph Collection Available
Written by admin, April 1st, 2020   

Rascals read, too!
It may not be surprising that we are fans of bookmobiles of all kinds and host a small collection of older photos on our website in the gallery “Bookmobile from around the globe” (under the 2009 heading). But our new Mobile Librarian just unearthed a treasure trove of 75 vintage photographs that are the best we’ve seen yet! The collection includes many images from different countries and cultures. A fun reminder that the world used to be analog. Click on the link below to check it out…we hope you enjoy!

Free Bookmobile to Pause Service During Local “Shelter In Place” Order
Written by admin, March 18th, 2020   

Sonoma County Emergency Information

We will be following Sonoma County health department orders and pausing our service during the “shelter in place” period. Currently set for three weeks, until April 7, this order is an important precaution to keep vulnerable people safe from the COVID-19 virus. To stay up to date on local information about the crisis, visit the county’s emergency resource website:

We wish we could bring you all new books to read while you’re stuck at home! Seems like the perfect time for literary outreach, right? But of course we cannot risk aiding transmission of this virus so we’ll just have to look forward to seeing everyone after it passes through.

Stay safe out there and we’ll keep you posted on resumption of our routes as things develop.

New Photo Gallery Available for 2019 Bookmobile Activities
Written by admin, March 5th, 2020   

Check it out!

We have once again collected the best images of our previous year’s activities and put together a gallery for your enjoyment! You can see all the action and big smiles by clicking through from our main menu to “Photos & Videos” or go straight to the stand-alone page by clicking here. We hope you enjoy viewing it as much as we enjoyed doing it!

Grocery Outlet in Rohnert Park Becomes Book Donation Site
Written by admin, March 4th, 2020   

Grocery Outlet

A big welcome to our newest book donation site partner, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Rohnert Park! Their friendly team in fact jumped on board with our mission back in December and have been accepting donations for us ever since. The receptacle is in the rear of the store but you can just let any staff member know that you have books for the Free Bookmobile and they will be able to direct you. Market managers Victor and Manny have been great as our new hosts and we look forward to a long and production collaboration. Thank you, Grocery Outlet!

Please note we are no longer receiving donations at the Rohnert Park MetroPCS Store.

Grocery Outlet Bargain Market  /  EVERY DAY  7 Am – 10 Pm

 6335 Commerce Boulevard, Rohnert Park (588-9485)

From 101: take Rohnert Park Expressway exit, turn onto Expressway heading east. Turn right onto Commerce Boulevard and right again into the shopping center just past the Valero Gas Station. Grocery Outlet is next to 24 Hour Fitness.


Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Foundation Supports Bookmobile’s “Education for All Ages” Initiative
Written by admin, February 5th, 2020   

Rotary Club of Santa Rosa

When you start with Rotary, good things happen, and we are grateful to be back in partnership with the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Foundation for 2020! They have made a grant toward our Education for All Ages initiative, which focuses on the broad access to high quality educational reading material that makes a community strong. We look forward to putting this support to use throughout the year. Thank you, Santa Rosa Rotarians!

Ever thought about checking out Rotary? Here’s a message from 2019 – 2020 Club President Cathy Vicini:


We’re a leadership organization of local business, professional and civic leaders. We meet regularly, get to know each other, form friendships, and through that, we’re able to get things done in this community. Membership in Rotary immediately connects you with a broad range of professions and professionals in our Club. We encourage our members to do business with each other because we trust the members in Rotary. Service is what Rotarians do. We change the lives of others in need. Please consider attending our meetings, meeting our members, and joining our Rotary Family.  By doing so, you will multiple your ability to positively impact our local and international community.

Our Foundation is the charitable arm of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa (since 1989), a Federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity, tax ID# 68-0205619, so your gifts to our Foundation are tax deductible. Comprised of volunteers from the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa, we award grants to deserving non-profit organizations as well as scholarships to worthy students in the greater Santa Rosa area. Because of the work of our volunteers, our overhead is very low, and 97% of every dollar contributed goes directly to support local needs.

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