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Free Bookmobile Gives Away 250,000 Books
Written by admin, February 28th, 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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