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Free Bookmobile Welcomes New Mobile Librarian
Written by admin, April 29th, 2018   

Mobile Librarian Allison Randall

Mobile Librarian Allison Randall

You may have met her already at one of our events! Our new staff member is Mobile Librarian Allison Randall. She received a Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from San Jose State University last year, with focused studies on youth materials and programming, including early literacy practices and STEM education. Allison finished her term at SJSU with a Director’s Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. She is also mother of three and a volunteer with a Girls on the Run after-school mentorship program.

We have been in training with Allison since January and she has been on the road solo since March. We love how she connects with children in particular. “I am passionate about getting to know my community better and working with individuals and families to build relationships and literacy opportunities,” Allison told us. Sounds like a great fit for the Free Bookmobile program values. Be sure to say hello and welcome her to the team on your next visit to our rolling library of love!

 


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Free Bookmobile Gives Away 250,000 Books
Written by admin, April 2nd, 2018   

Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County

Ready to celebrate with us? We have just reached a major program milestone: the Free Bookmobile has now given away 250,000 high quality books of choice! Founded in 2009, the Free Bookmobile was an all-volunteer family service project running on weekends until July of 2011, when it became a full-time staffed operation. Now the bookmobile makes approximately 40 – 50 stops per month throughout Sonoma County, serving 25,000 people each year. “It’s fun to think about all the wonderful books that have passed through our hands,” reflected Glen Weaver, Free Bookmobile founder and director. “But what really keeps me motivated is the knowledge that all those books have delighted and educated our community, ending up in new homes completely free of charge, no questions asked.”

The Free Bookmobile prioritizes service to those who may be challenged for access to quality reading material, including children, seniors with mobility issues, low-income and geographically isolated persons. It also spends a significant amount of time in preschools, engaging with inquisitive minds, to help foster a culture of reading within families and entire neighborhoods. “The ever-expanding use of phones and other digital entertainment devices is not a good thing for developing brains,” noted Weaver. “We are fighting back by offering compelling, modern books on a broad range of subjects. Kids love the bookmobile and come running when we drive up because they feel like they’ve won something special just by coming on board,” he continued.

Many of the program’s gently used books are generous donations from the local public. The Free Bookmobile staff works hard to build additional relationships with publishers, distributors, authors, and resellers to acquire brand new titles for its shelves, especially for its youngest readers. Funding for book purchases through programs such as Community Foundation Sonoma County’s iREAD initiative, which promotes daily reading to children, has also been extremely helpful. Major operational funding for the Free Bookmobile’s non-profit mission comes from the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation.

We have been the premier program of the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation (SCPLF) since 2014. New SCPLF Board President Adriana Arrizon recently emphasized the benefits of our outreach model and its ability to respond to local needs. ”Our community is rebuilding through unprecedented disasters and trauma that affects everyone and mostly our most vulnerable community members. Now more than ever it is critical for children, families, and seniors living in isolation, rural and low-income areas in Sonoma County to experience hope by having access to books from the Free Bookmobile” said Arrizon.

Many thanks to all who propelled us on this amazing journey — it has truly been a massive group effort. From the thousands of local families who have donated books to the dozens of volunteers who have given their passion and time to the generous souls who have provided funding, we are so very grateful for your partnership!


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United Way of the Wine Country Launches 2018 Children’s Book Drive
Written by admin, March 1st, 2018   

United Way of the Wine Country

It’s partnerships like these that make our service great! The Free Bookmobile is once again one of the primary beneficiaries of United Way’s annual Children’s Book Drive, which will allow us to boost our book volume and quality ahead of the important summer giving season. We are now giving away more than 50,000 books each year, so help with collections is a crucial component of our operation. You can easily participate — just bring the books your kids have finished to any of the participating locations below during the month of March! We are looking for both English and Spanish/Bilingual material in good condition, and of course the more recent/relevant, the better. Here’s additional information from United Way, including contact information if you would like to go above and beyond being a donor:

United Way Women United is proud to present the United Way Children’s Book Drive. During the book drive, community members rally in support of education and childhood literacy by donating new and gently used English and Spanish children’s books. Books are collected during the drive and distributed to kids for free through United Way’s education initiatives and the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County, Sonoma County Human Development, Guerneville School, and Roseland Elementary.  Women United has committed to make a difference in early childhood education in our community, and with your help, we can give all kids a chance to learn and be successful throughout school and life.

Join us to get free books to our area’s kids!  The magic begins as kids choose their books and young minds are opened up to possibilities and worlds which come alive through words on the pages. We need your support to rewrite the story of education for so many in the community.

To learn more about sponsoring the book drive or serving as a book donation drop off location, please contact Kelly at 707-528-4485 xt.115 or kelly.musca@unitedwaywinecountry.org.

When:  March 1 – March 31, 2018

 

SSSP


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Oliver’s Market Community Card Adds Free Bookmobile to Beneficiary List
Written by admin, February 27th, 2018   

Oliver's Community Card

We’re happy to announce another way to support the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County! If you’re an Oliver’s Market shopper or have been considering becoming one, you should know they offer a Community Card that gives 3% of your purchase totals to the local charity of your choice. The Free Bookmobile is now one of the programs you can designate as your beneficiary. The best part is that this won’t cost you anything extra, it’s part of the popular eScrip program that helps so many organizations nationwide.

It’s easy to sign up: just request a card from any checker at any Oliver’s Market. If you have a few minutes to complete the registration there on-site, your purchase will immediately create dividends for us, as will every shopping trip you make thereafter. Or you can register online later with the number on your new card. Just click here to activate it. More information is available here.

Over $300,000 went to hundreds of deserving local charities in 2016, and since the program began, over $2 million has been raised to support our community. Many thanks to Oliver’s for this sharing and for including the Free Bookmobile’s important literacy outreach in their program choices!

 


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Healdsburg Forever Makes Grant to Keep Free Bookmobile in the Neighborhood
Written by admin, January 2nd, 2018   

Healdsburg Forever

We are so pleased to continue our close relationship with friends throughout the Healdsburg & Geyserville areas, including the people who support those travels. HealdsburgForever.org has made a seventh-straight annual grant to make sure we keep returning to their neighborhoods! This must mean we’re doing good things for the children, families, adults and seniors that call the region home. We look forward in 2018 to bringing those benefits to all who now know what delights await them inside the big green library on wheels, at sites such as schools, medical clinics, farmworker housing, and low-income senior apartments.

Healdsburg Forever (formerly the Healdsburg Area Fund) is a community endowment created by citizens in 2003 to provide a dependable income stream for annual grants to support nonprofit organizations serving community needs in Healdsburg and Geyserville. An affiliate of Community Foundation Sonoma County, the Healdsburg Forever Fund has grown to over $1.4 million and secured pledges that will sustain their mission for generations to come. To date, they have granted more than $760,000 to over 56 applicants to help manage program and operational costs for nonprofit organizations.

We salute this smart and effective path to local philanthropy. Healdsburg Forever, indeed!


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Speedway Children’s Charities Comes Through Again for Local Kids
Written by admin, December 20th, 2017   

Speedway Children's Charities

At the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County, we love to talk about leveraging resources. We leverage books that are sitting idle into gifts for the community, gifts that educate, inspire and include. The good folks out at Sonoma Raceway know a thing about leverage, too. They put their resource, one of the most exciting racetracks in the country, to great use between competitions to raise money for children’s charities! If you are a fan or just like to be around high-octane thrills, please check out their full schedule of activities for 2018 by clicking here. You can bring out your vehicle for some drag racing, attend a pre-event banquet, or even bid for a “Ride of a Lifetime” experience with a top IndyCar driver! All proceeds benefit local programs like ours.

We are honored to once again be a part of their grantee family. Their support means more children will receive magical visits from the Free Bookmobile throughout 2018, and will get to come on board to choose great books to take home and keep as long as they want! Though we emphasize early outreach that makes the most overall impact, we make sure that kids of ALL ages are included, from preschool all the way up through high school. And each year we grow our book donation relationships, meaning the books we offer just get better and better.

Big huge thanks to Speedway Children’s Charities for making use of Sonoma Raceway in a way that benefits the entire community!

 


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Free Bookmobile Earns Renewed Funding for Community Foundation’s iREAD Project
Written by admin, December 15th, 2017   

yo leo

When we started giving away books to people throughout Sonoma County, some said it was a quaint idea. They said that books were a dying artifact of the pre-digital age, and that kids wouldn’t be interested. We’re glad we didn’t listen! Because it turned out that not only do children still love to read books printed on real paper, but they love to be read to by their family members. And it’s a good thing, because these activities turn out to be crucially important in the development of language centers in young brains.

Community Foundation of Sonoma County, in partnership with the Cradle to Career coalition, is at the front in supporting our local families’ early reading habits. One of their simplest yet most important programs is iREAD, the promotion of reading in the home to young children. The Free Bookmobile is delighted to have earned renewal of grant funding to continue our work in supplying the books these families will need, especially low-income, rural, and otherwise access-challenged families, as well as education and encouragement. We had a great first year on the job and look forward to expanding our reach in 2018, serving 0 – 5 year-olds throughout the region, including dedicated visits to AVANCE Parenting Classes and Pasitos playgroups for young families who are primarily Spanish-speaking.

Reading to a child in your life is one of the most important things you can do to help them enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed in school!

As a parent or family member you can:

  • READ TO YOUR CHILD EVERY DAY.  Just fifteen minutes a day makes a huge difference in your child’s language development, and helps them be ready to learn in school.
  • READ FROM DAY ONE.  The first eight months of a baby’s life is a peak period for language development.
  • READ IN ANY LANGUAGE–Or use the book to tell a story in your home language.
  • READ EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, from street signs to cereal boxes.
  • NARRATE YOUR DAY: Talk with your child while you’re doing activities together.
  • ANYONE CAN READ TO CHILDREN: Older siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents.

 


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Bethlehem Foundation Supports Local Seniors with Increased Funding
Written by admin, November 18th, 2017   

We are deeply grateful to the Bethlehem Foundation for their expanded support toward our 2018 program year! Bethlehem is our primary backer for the important services we provide to local senior citizens and will help us reach more than 3,500 elders over the next 12 months. Much of this outreach will happen right at these individuals’ doorsteps, at low-income apartment complexes and senior living facilities. This means that mobility challenges will not be a barrier and these eager readers will be able to count on regular appearances by their favorite free rolling library. The Free Bookmobile helps folks stay connected to their culture, their community, and their grandchildren — we encourage seniors to take extra books to read to all the little ones in their lives.

Bethlehem Foundation’s creation is a unique and inspiring story: Formed on September 16, 2013, it was funded with proceeds from the sale of 801 Tupper Street, a 159-unit apartment building located in Santa Rosa, California. The building was known as the Bethlehem Towers, a high-rise apartment community serving low- to very low-income seniors. Bethlehem Towers opened its doors in 1972 and was managed by a volunteer Board of Directors for 40 years. When the 40-year HUD loan that financed the community was paid off, the Board was approached by Reiner Communities, a firm that acquires and manages multifamily affordable housing properties, which agreed to complete an extensive renovation and extend the affordability of the project for an additional 55 years. The Board of Directors of Bethlehem Towers, Inc. saw this as a win-win situation. The housing for low-income seniors could remain in place, and proceeds from the sale could fund this new foundation dedicated to promoting an enhanced quality of life for senior adults residing in Sonoma County, California.

The Free Bookmobile is very proud to be a part of those enhancement efforts. Thank you!


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Free Bookmobile Serves Crisis Victims at Fire Evacuation Centers
Written by admin, October 22nd, 2017   

Sonoma Strong

With the devastating wildfires displacing so many of our friends and neighbors, it was a privilege to put our rolling resource into action visiting the fire evacuation centers across Sonoma County. While many of the adults we encountered were hopeful about the condition of their homes, some already knew that they had lost everything. Our book-giving service was a small consolation in a disaster that will deeply change the region for years to come. But we were there to listen to their stories, and to offer an opportunity to relieve their stress and anxiety, at least for a while, by getting lost in a good book. Fortunately our appearances were especially helpful for the displaced children who did not have much else to do.

On our tour we witnessed a tremendous outpouring of support from all corners of our community. Everywhere we went there were volunteers lined up to give whatever was needed, and stockpiles of crucial supplies coming in daily. What an inspiring demonstration of people helping each other directly! Peer-to-peer support is the foundation of the Free Bookmobile’s program model and it was on dramatic display here when the chips were down. For our part, we are now seeking out the neighborhoods and schools that are hosting families most affected by the fires, so we can prioritize them on our routes. Favorite books on the shelves are part of what makes a house a home, and we’re anxious to help people replace what they’ve lost.


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Free Bookmobile Serves 100,000 Patrons
Written by admin, October 1st, 2017   

Wow, it seems like just yesterday that we decided to start driving around the county giving away books! Conceived in 2009 as a family service project to introduce the Weaver Boys to the joys of giving back, the Free Bookmobile began life in a little white surveyor’s trailer. It turned out that people liked browsing books from other people’s libraries, and they loved taking them home to read and share. Well, the bookmobile is now the premier program of the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation, operating from a purpose-built Maroney 24′ Freightliner, and the Weaver Boys are now 15 & 17 years old. (The photos below shows our very first day, when they were 7 & 9.)

Oh yeah…we just passed 100,000 people served! And counting, as we continue to expand our routes and grow our impact throughout Sonoma County, especially reaching those who are most challenged for access to books: low-income and rural children, families and seniors. We have so many people and organizations to thank for getting us to where we are today, it wouldn’t be right to single out a few (though this news section is a good place to read about them). Just know, all of you, from the major foundation supporters to those who just gave a couple books, that a new generation is growing up around here with a special love for reading, and you helped make that happen. We know because we hear them squeal and run to our doors when we pull up to the curb. Some first experienced us as wee tikes — and now we serve them at their high schools!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for your support of Sonoma County’s only public-access bookmobile! Here’s to the next 100,000 patrons…

Boys


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