Bookmobile News


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Free Bookmobile in Need of Board Books & Early Readers
Written by admin, June 11th, 2019   

Book examples

We are running low on certain categories of books that are in great demand. Do you have any board books or early readers that you can send our way? Because instilling a love of reading is more successful when begun early in life, we prioritize service to young children and their families. This means we go through a lot of these types of books!

If you are a parent or grandparent with kids who have outgrown these, we’d love to have them for our shelves. Think about how much another child would enjoy them, maybe even a child who wouldn’t otherwise have access to developmentally appropriate reading material. Board books are the ones with tough cardboard pages for babies and toddlers. Early readers are for those just learning to read (usually 5 – 7 years old, preschool through kindergarden or 1st grade). They have simple sentences in large font, a small amount of text per page, and most have a number level on the front. We are in need of all levels but especially Level 1.

For the latest on ALL our children’s book needs, please see our full-page listing categorized by age by clicking here. And you can click here to see our current list of donation drop-off locations. We so appreciate your participation in our literacy program!

Sydney Miller Hired as New Mobile Librarian
Written by admin, June 1st, 2019   

Sydney Miller

A big welcome to our new Mobile Librarian, Sydney Miller! Sydney comes to us with lots of experience working with children and young adults across a range of contexts. This includes educational and recreational settings with emphasis on interaction, personal growth and team building. We think this is a great fit for helping our patrons access the resources on our shelves. “I am a natural advocate for people in diverse communities to gain access to quality books,” Sydney explained. “As a first generation college graduate, my own youth in a low-income home in Mt. Shasta was supported by the local library. Reading was a connection to our community and to my future education. I was a late bloomer with books and I remember how empowering it was to learn to read.” She has long since put that late start behind her and in fact will be starting coursework for a Masters in School Counseling this fall.

Sydney has been on board training since late April and is now driving routes solo, so you’ll see a lot of her behind the desk. She is looking forward to connecting with all our patrons and continuing to build our bookmobile following. She’s also eager to learn more about various featured authors so be sure to tell her what you’ve been reading lately!


Russian River & Rohnert Park-Cotati Rotary Clubs Come Up Big for Local Literacy
Written by admin, May 14th, 2019   

Rotary -- People of Action

We are thrilled to announce new support from both the Russian River & Rohnert Park-Cotati Rotary Clubs for bookmobile services to be provided in their regions. Rotary boasts a winning formula that blends local philanthropy, active community service, and awareness of some of the most challenging humanitarian issues faced across the globe. These clubs currently connect 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Wow!

In particular, the Russian River Rotary Foundation is currently working to help with local flood relief after the disastrous rise in water levels this past winter, especially in Guerneville. The Free Bookmobile is planning to utilize the club’s donation to do just that and make sure that affected children can continue rebuilding their home libraries. Much has been lost and we want to make sure that these kids’ education will be minimally affected. Click here to visit the club’s website where you’ll find a link near the top of the page to contribute to their overall efforts.

We have a long and happy relationship with the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati, which is very active in getting hands-on with important community projects. Here’s a bit more about how they describe themselves: “We bring together leaders to identify both problems as well as opportunities. We tap into our professional skills, experience and networks to pinpoint solutions and ideas. Together we roll up our sleeves and mobilize our communities to get the job done. And, of course, in the process we develop great relationships and friends.”

The Free Bookmobile will continue its tradition of creative outreach in their area, which last season included a visit to one of the only home-school Girl Scout Troops in California and surprise service throughout Rohnert Park on New Year’s Day. We are especially impactful in Cotati, which lacks a public library.

Thank you, Rotary, for this support and for your wide-ranging efforts throughout the year!

New Photo Page Available on Free Bookmobile Website
Written by admin, April 25th, 2019   

2018 Photo Page

It’s that time again! When we finally take a deep breath and look back at the places and people of the previous program year. It was another terrific term for outreach as we visited an all-time high number of locations and continued to search out the children, families, adults and seniors most challenged for access to high quality reading material. We hope you’ll take a little retrospective with us by visiting the “Photos & Videos” section of our website. Just click here to get started. And thank you for your continued support of Sonoma County’s only public-access bookmobile!

Free Bookmobile Celebrates 5 Years in Partnership with Library Foundation
Written by admin, April 5th, 2019   

Sonoma County Public Library Foundation

In early 2014, then-President of the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation (SCPLF) Jen Klose contacted the Free Bookmobile with a novel idea: would the bookmobile consider coming into the fold of the Foundation, for mutual benefit? Jen and Treasurer Dan Jenkins soon pitched an initiative that made a lot of sense and seemed likely to facilitate the growth and stability of the bookmobile program. Five years on, that suspicion has been proven well and truly correct!

SCPLF had been active in helping the community fund certain libraries and support popular projects like Summer Reading at YMCA children’s camps. What they lacked was a full-time program that would promote literacy and utilization of library resources year-round. We were able to happily supply that, flying their banner on our many travels, and making sure the public in lower-income and rural areas became aware of all the Sonoma County Library system has to offer. And SCPLF was happy to provide the Free Bookmobile with the kind of institutional support that led to 20% annual growth in program outcomes.

Of course the biggest winners are local residents who continue to enjoy the fruits of this productive collaboration. Thank you, SCPLF!



Codding Foundation Makes Seventh-Year Grant Toward Free Bookmobile Family Services
Written by admin, March 9th, 2019   

Codding Foundation

Our deepest gratitude goes once again to Codding Foundation, which has just made a seventh consecutive-year grant in support of our work helping children become literate, lifelong learners. As digital options for filling time saturate the landscape, it is more challenging than ever to keep kids focused on things that are healthy for their intellectual development. Fortunately, the Free Bookmobile is a totally unique temptation! With the help of long-time partners like Codding, we are able to offer great books-of-choice on myriad subjects to children of all ages. It’s a treasure hunt every time they come on board, a fun and engaging experience that convinces kids to set aside the phones and other devices for a while. It just works!

Established in 1961 as part of Hugh Codding’s legacy, the Codding Foundation has consistently supported local agencies that help Sonoma County youth and families. President Connie Codding has been very active in local philanthropy for a number of years, which includes service on the boards of PDI Surgery Center, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific Board of Advocates in Sonoma County, Sonoma Paradiso Foundation and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University. Thank you, Connie, for all you do for our community!

Community Foundation Sonoma County Awards New iREAD Funding for 2019
Written by admin, January 29th, 2019   

iREAD Feet Poster

We are thrilled to renew our partnership with Community Foundation Sonoma County and their iREAD cohort for 2019! This program is strongly aligned with our own mission, especially regarding the importance of early literacy and support of language-rich environments for young children. The research shows that children growing up in low-income families are exposed to less verbally rich home environments and are less likely to attend preschool, creating a ‘word gap’ of millions of words between them and their more affluent peers before they’ve even entered kindergarten.

Reading aloud to children from day one is the single most important thing a parent can do to help a child enter kindergarten ready to succeed. In Sonoma County, however, only 57% of parents read to their children every day. It is critical that we equip parents with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective role models and teachers, and remove the obstacles—real or perceived—to engaging their children in reading. The Free Bookmobile will be funded in 2019 to reach out to thousands of families of young children to make sure they have modern, engaging books to read together, including visits to AVANCE Parenting Classes and Pasitos Playgroups.

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.

Huge thanks to Community Foundation for their leadership and investment in this critical community development issue!

Geyserville & Petaluma Kiwanis Clubs Boost Regional Bookmobile Service
Written by admin, December 19th, 2018   

One of the joys of working on board the Free Bookmobile is meeting all the dedicated folks who have been helping kids a lot longer than we have! Kiwanis International is a global network of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Today, they comprise more than 600,000 members from K-Kids to Key Club to Kiwanis and many ages in between in more than 80 countries. Each community has different needs, and Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and offering guidance. Kiwanis clubs host nearly 150,000 service projects each year.
Here in Sonoma County, we are grateful for the support of the Geyserville and Petaluma Kiwanis Clubs this fall. They have both made generous donations to make sure we have the resources to promote literacy and love of reading among their respective resident families. The Geyserville Kiwanis Club is involved in myriad activities, including their signature Fall Colors & Vintage Car Show fundraiser event, with all proceeds benefitting local charities, scholarship programs and youth activities. The Petaluma Kiwanis Club, which was chartered in 1954, donates about $80,000 to education scholarships, community projects and non-profit organizations each year. The Club also has its own service projects and is a proud sponsor of student clubs and activities at local schools.
Thank you, Kiwanis Clubs, and keep up the good work!

Speedway Children’s Charities Comes Through Again for Youth & Books
Written by admin, December 3rd, 2018   

SCC Sonoma

Talk about a great use of an existing resource! The creative minds at the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) leverage their world-famous racetrack to develop fun, exciting, star-studded events to raise money to help local children. How cool is that? They hosted 12 fundraising affairs during the 2018 season including the Tour de Charity Karting Day, Speedway Children’s Charities NASCAR Banquet, Eric Medlen Nitro Night dinner, and Grand Prix Salute of Sonoma. Some of these events pave a path for amateurs to get onto the track with the pros, and maybe even grab a hot lap behind the wheel. You can join the fun by checking out the 2019 schedule here.

Their core mission has always been to distribute these event proceeds to programs who are making a difference in children’s lives. SCC Sonoma have given more than $6 million to local youth groups since 2001, and the Free Bookmobile has been a proud recipient of funding for our children’s services since 2014.  SCC even gets directly involved with the youngsters themselves, bringing them out for free on-site STEM education with top race engineers. They also deserve special mention for the work of Raceway President and General Manager Steve Page, who opened the facility gates to provide a refuge for those who were evacuated from their homes during the 2017 wildfires. Page and his staff served meals and sorted donations to provide clothing and necessities to evacuees. He also helped mobilize the local community in thanking public safety personnel, spearheading a “Laps of Appreciation” fundraiser that generated more than $72,000 for the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and the Redwood Valley and Santa Rosa Community Recovery Fund. Ultimately SCC Sonoma established its own Fire Resilience Fund to distribute grants to youth-serving groups that have increased or created programs to support the amplified needs after the fires.

Thank you, Speedway Children’s Charities Sonoma, for your tremendous involvement with our community. We’re so happy to be part of the family!


Healdsburg Keeps Free Bookmobile Rolling Through Northern Sonoma County
Written by admin, November 21st, 2018   

Healdsburg Forever

Healdsburg Forever (formerly the Healdsburg Area Fund) is a community endowment created by local 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.

The Free Bookmobile is one of those fortunate programs and we are celebrating a long-term partnership with this dedicated group. In fact Healdsburg Forever was one of the very first groups that invested in our program’s work, back in 2011 when we were a part of the Literary Arts Guild. It gave us a chance to explore the area, learn its population and needs, and begin service relationships that have borne much fruit since. Today our unique brand of literacy promotion is welcomed at dozens of locations throughout Healdsburg and Geyserville where we are making a big impact on people’s lives. We even filled in as the library-on-wheels for a rural elementary school that lost their library space in a fire.

As we thank Healdsburg for this new 2019 grant, we also want to thank them for the personal relationships that this particular journey has birthed. From the HF board members to the nurturing Boys & Girls Club directors to the good citizens who promote our visits on the Geyserville town marquee, we find ourselves moved again and again by the wonderful people of this region. Thank you so much, Healdsburg!

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