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Bethlehem Foundation Ensures Continued Access for Area Seniors
Written by admin, November 15th, 2018   

Thanks to generous support from Bethlehem Foundation, the Free Bookmobile will continue its dedicated outreach to Sonoma County’s senior citizens, right to their doorsteps! When we launched the bookmobile program back in 2009, we knew right away that service to elders would be one of our primary goals, as they represent a population with far fewer options for access to books. Many are making do with minimal fixed incomes, meaning less ability to purchase books. They also tend to lose mobility and transportation options as they age. The answer is, of course, the friendly neighborhood Free Bookmobile. We roll up to their place of residence and offer great titles across a wide range of categories, including some audio and large print. And without the burden of figuring out how and when to return the books, our senior patrons can relax and take their time enjoying them. We have learned that they are really good at sharing them later with the neighbors, too!

The caring folks at Bethlehem Foundation have a terrific funding model going: they make grants to enhance the quality of life of local seniors with the investment proceeds from the 2013 sale of Bethlehem Tower, a 159-unit high-rise apartment building located near downtown Santa Rosa. The icing on the cake is that the new property owner, Reiner Communities, has not only completed extensive renovations but continues to serve low- to very low-income seniors, extending the affordability of the project for an additional 55 years.

This is our fourth straight grant from Bethlehem Foundation and we want to extend our gratitude for this terrific partnership!

National Geographic Foundation Donates New Science & Culture Books for Kids
Written by admin, October 5th, 2018   

National Geographic Books

They’re our favorite publishers of non-fiction for children! The wizards at National Geographic Kids always leave us amazed by their consistently engaging books about science, animals and more. These titles make it easy for the Free Bookmobile staff to keep youth interested in the world around them, even during ages 8 – 13 when kids often make a sharp turn toward fiction. So when our overall supply of science and nature books ran short recently, we reached out to the National Geographic Foundation with our need and they responded with a wonderful shipment of their latest material. We now have dozens of educational titles to offer children who wouldn’t normally get to bring such gems home, to immerse themselves for as long as they want. They also sent a massive box of recent NG Explorer magazines which we will make sure find a home in local schools or aftercare programs serving low-income students. Here’s more on their publishing philosophy:

“National Geographic Kids teaches children about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and make it a better place. We are consistently recognized as industry leaders in the field of children’s nonfiction books. Our titles are vetted by experts, tested by a kid panel, and approved by parents. National Geographic Kids publishes more than 100 titles each year, including the best-selling National Geographic Kids AlmanacWeird But True books, and a series of leveled readers.

In our efforts to support the mission of the National Geographic Society and inspire children’s curiosity, we are category leaders in atlases, kid-driven books on high-interest topics with strong visuals and amped-up fun, as well as curriculum-based language, literacy, and STEM programs.”

Thank you, National Geographic!

Sonoma County Alliance Education Committee Supports Free Bookmobile Mission
Written by admin, October 3rd, 2018   

Sonoma County Alliance

For over 40 years, the Sonoma County Alliance (SCA) has brought together local leaders from all fields to encourage a healthy economy, maintain a sound environment, protect private property rights and promote a responsive political process. The Alliance accomplishes these goals through public and member education and, from time to time, through advocacy before decision makers.

Strong education leads to a strong workforce, so the SCA is an avid supporter of improving local education in any way possible. Their Education Committee has partnered with Tomorrow’s Leadership Today, the Sonoma County Office of Education, the Santa Rosa Junior College, and other supporters to create a Career Readiness Program. They also host a whimsical annual fundraiser called Bocce for Books, and this year the Free Bookmobile was one of the beneficiaries. We received a grant that will provide a nice boost in our ability to purchase materials for our youngest patrons — board books for little hands, early readers for preschoolers, and Spanish/bilingual books for families to read together. Big thanks to the SCA Education Committee for this opportunity to strengthen our resources and create better outcomes for our many low-income and access-challenged patrons!

Lark Rexall Drugs in Guerneville Becomes Newest Book Donation Site
Written by admin, September 4th, 2018   

After years on our wishlist, a truly West County donation site is now a reality! The friendly folks at Lark Rexall Drugs on Main Street in Guerneville are now welcoming book donations for the Free Bookmobile during business hours. Fortunately all the locals know Lark’s, it’s been a Main Street institution for many decades, and the business itself goes back to the 19th century. As with all our donation sites, please bring a maximum of four boxes or bags per week so that we can transport and sort your books before receiving more. We appreciate donations in all categories and target ages, as long as they are in good condition, with a special need for board books, early readers, and recent/relevant adult non-fiction.

Huge thanks to the Lark’s management and staff for this critical assistance with our mission! Look for the donation bin inside the store, or simply ask one of the clerks where to leave the books. Here are the details, and our full list of donation sites throughout Sonoma County can be found on our website by clicking here:

Lark Rexall Drugs

16251 Main Street, Guerneville


Monday – Friday   9 Am – 6:30 Pm

Saturday   10 Am – 6 Pm

Sunday   11 Am – 3 Pm

Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50 Makes Generous Book Purchase Grant
Written by admin, August 30th, 2018   

Active 20-30 Santa Rosa #50

Hot on the heels of our participation in their Back To School Shopping Spree for underprivileged local children, Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50 has boosted our program’s ability to reach the most vulnerable: the young and the English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. Though we have the relationships to connect with these populations, we need the right kind of books to offer them. The public is supportive through their used book donations but we just don’t receive nearly enough high quality board books (for babies & toddlers), early readers and picture books (for 4 – 6 year-olds), and Spanish/bilingual books. The latter category is particularly important because getting bilingual books into certain homes allows monolingual Spanish-speaking adults to read along with the little ones, helping them learn English. This type of shared reading is a wonderful, loving, free activity that also enhances interpersonal relationships across generations.

Active 20-30 of Santa Rosa #50′s donation will allow us to purchase a wide range of these crucial books and bring them directly to those target audiences. Active 20-30 Clubs provide young adults with an opportunity for personal growth, friendships and leadership development while improving the quality of life for disadvantaged and special needs children in their communities. The Santa Rosa club dates back to 1929 and these young professionals do a great job of raising money and volunteering, with an emphasis on assisting low-income Santa Rosa and Windsor families. We have been honored to work with them on a number of special events to provide kids with holiday parties, back-to-school supplies, and more.

Thank you once again, Active 20-30 of Santa Rosa #50!

Chocolate & Cinema SCPLF Fundraiser Coming to the Rialto in August
Written by admin, August 3rd, 2018   

Come sing along to Grease!

While not based on a book, Grease is a great choice for a fun night out! Please join us at the Rialto Cinemas in downtown Sebastopol for an evening of popcorn, singing, and a bag of fine local chocolate to take home. Singing is optional, but in a darkened theater, who’s gonna know it was you? This fundraiser supports the efforts of the Free Bookmobile’s parent organization, the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation (SCPLF). Founded in 1986, SCPLF aims for strengthening and promoting use of library resources, enthusiasm for reading, and increased literacy for all Sonoma County residents. The Foundation has over the years offered services such as free books for all local newborns, support for the Adult Literacy and Summer Reading programs, and collaboration on the establishment of new library branches in low-income areas.

Tickets are just $20 in advance or $25 per person at the door. Just click here to go to the official “Buy Now” page and reserve your spot. Oh and spread the word…the Free Bookmobile will also be there to do what we do best…offer you terrific books!

Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation Renews Major Funding of Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, July 20th, 2018   

Stepping forward for the seventh straight year to provide major funding for our program is the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation! We feel especially honored to receive this ongoing support because the Finley Foundation board members are long-time members of and advocates for a strong Sonoma County. Their experience and wisdom, earned over many years of deep community involvement, gives them a keen sense of what constitutes prudent investment in the region. Their endorsement means the world to us and will power much of our work over the next 12 months as we continue to spread literacy and love of reading to anyone and everyone. Thank you so very much!

Since 1985 the Finley Foundation has been a tremendous source of funding for community programs throughout the North Bay, particularly in the areas of child welfare, health and human services, and arts and culture. Some of their high-profile projects include the Finley Community Center & Aquatic Center and the Social Advocates for Youth Finley Dream Center.

MetroPCS Store Takes Over As Official Rohnert Park Book Donation Site
Written by admin, June 30th, 2018   

We are so grateful that the Rohnert Park MetroPCS Store has come on board as a member of our book donation network! The Exchange Bank in town was a loyal partner for several years but soon after losing our spot there, the cheerful manager of MetroPCS just across the street agreed to help out. Fortunately our Rohnert Park supporters can still set sail for the same intersection of Commerce Boulevard and RP Expressway and then turn into the parking lot just north of Jack in the Box, or at the Black Bear Diner. MetroPCS is in the back of the lot next to Sushiko Restaurant.

As with all our donation sites, please bring a maximum of three boxes or bags per week so that we can transport and sort your books before receiving more. We appreciate donations in all categories and target ages, as long as they are in good condition, with a special need for board books, early readers, and recent/relevant adult non-fiction.

Big thanks to the MetroPCS management for this critical assistance with our mission! Here are the details, and our full list of donation sites throughout Sonoma County can be found on our website by clicking here:

MetroPCS Store

6265 Commerce Boulevard, Rohnert Park


Monday – Saturday   10 Am – 8 Pm

Sunday   10 Am – 7 Pm

Longtime Volunteer Becomes New Program Assistant
Written by admin, June 1st, 2018   

Program Assistant Dori King

Program Assistant Dori King

We are delighted to announce the addition of Dori King to our staff as our new Program Assistant! Dori has been a dedicated volunteer since 2011 when her daughter chose to engineer a book drive for the Free Bookmobile as her special eighth grade “Knighting” project. In fact Dori’s entire family jumped on board and has never left us. They have been looking after our Petaluma book donation partners as well as providing lots of on-site assistance during busy events and pretty much anything else we ask them to do. Dori has other community commitments and a busy household so we feel fortunate that she has carved out a little more from her schedule to handle the part-time PA duties, which include social media, volunteer recruiting, and event promotions.

Dori replaces long-time PA and volunteer Stacy Graham (née Ruppert), who has reluctantly stepped back from the bookmobile to put more time into her marketing career and marriage. We wish Stacy all the best and hope that she stops by occasionally to say hi and find something great to read!


Rotary Club of Healdsburg Makes Donation to Support Area Services
Written by admin, May 7th, 2018   

Building on a partnership begun in early 2017, the Rotary Club of Healdsburg and the Free Bookmobile are on the road together again, as we recently received a grant to help us provide our important service throughout the Healdsburg Area. This is a very active club that was chartered in 1948 and we’re proud to be part of their family. We are also grateful, as their assistance will allow us to fulfill our ambitious plans to visit schools of all levels, aftercare programs, festivals and fairs, senior citizens, and even farmworker housing in the region.
Rotary sets the standard among service clubs and here’s more about the Healdsburg club’s activities: “Our community service includes service to youth through our robust and continually growing scholarship program, support for local elementary schools, a unique day for graduating Healdsburg High School seniors, and great fun at the annual Easter egg hunt. We assist senior citizens by supporting the Senior Center and the Meals-On-Wheels program. We also provide funding support for numerous community-based organizations and non-profit groups, and honor local businesses for their generosity in the community. Internationally, the Rotary Club of Healdsburg works tirelessly to raise awareness of and support for those less fortunate.  We have funded and provided hands-on support for projects in Mexico & Central America as well as Africa and Asia.  We are a regional leader among Rotary Clubs in our giving to support Rotary’s effort to finally eradicate polio from our world.”
Thank you so much, Rotary Club of Healdsburg, and keep up the good work!

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