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Sonoma County Public Library Foundation Supports Ballot Measure Y
Written by admin, October 1st, 2016   

The Free Bookmobile’s parent organization, the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation (SCPLF), is a strong proponent of local ballot Measure Y, a proposal to boost funding to Sonoma County’s library system via a 1/8-cent sales tax increase. SCPLF’s core mission includes support of library facilities and promotion of their use, both of which will receive a big shot in the arm if the measure passes this November. The initiative has received broad endorsements from community groups, media outlets, and local politicians, including all five county supervisors.

SCPLF and the Free Bookmobile are proud to spread awareness of this opportunity for critical library funding. Currently our library system is operating at a deficit, even after the most recent reduction in operating hours, and will soon run into trouble due to diminishing reserves. Some of the branches are desperately in need of repairs and new equipment. Passage of Measure Y, which will require a 2/3 majority “yes” vote, will allow library management to increase available hours, expand important programs and modernize the facilities and collection.

Free Bookmobile Director Glen Weaver is particularly passionate about literacy and cultural centers being open when families have the time to visit them. “Success on Measure Y will mean that all of our libraries can be open on Sundays,” he explained, “which is often the only day that working parents can bring their children in to explore all that libraries have to offer.”

For more information, please visit, and remember to vote YES on Measure Y!


Measure Y


First 5 Sonoma County Doubles Free Bookmobile 0 – 5 Outreach with Matching Grant
Written by admin, September 15th, 2016   

First 5 Sonoma County

We are tremendously grateful for our long-term partnership with First 5 Sonoma County! Thanks to the availability of funds via the 1998 California Children and Families Act, First 5 has been a Free Bookmobile supporter from the beginning, even in acquiring our purpose-built 24′ Maroney Freightliner back in 2010. Now we have just received news that they will be doubling the impact of other recent applicable grants so that we can do twice as much to reach our littlest new readers, Sonoma County’s 0 – 5 year-olds.

This is a crucial boost to one of the most important aspects of our program, covering not only the children themselves but the parents and other family members who read to them, who engage them in the fun and educational opportunities of books at this impressionable age. We look forward to not only maintaining our strong presence in local preschools and child development centers, but finding those lowest-income toddlers who have access to even fewer services. Everyone deserves a chance to grow up with books!


United Way & Exchange Bank Hosting Annual Children’s Book Drive Through August 31
Written by admin, August 1st, 2016   

United Way Children's Book Drive


It’s that time of year! Our good friends at United Way of the Wine Country and Exchange Bank are once again teaming up for the annual Children’s Book Drive. And we are delighted to have new friends joining the collection effort this year, including Kaiser Permanente, The Press Democrat, Sonoma Media Group, and more! Please scroll down or click on the graphic above for the full list of locations to which you can bring us your new and gently used children’s books. After a heavy summer schedule reaching out to schools and camps, the Free Bookmobile’s shelves are in need of new reading material. Please help us restock so we can get back into action for a successful fall campaign  :)

From the UW site: United Way of the Wine Country Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) 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.  WLC 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.

Book Drive Sponsors

Local Rotary Clubs Come Up Big for Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, July 25th, 2016   

RR Rotary HS Rotary SRW RotarySRE Rotary  PF Rotary

Service above self. This is what more than 1 million Rotarians put into action across the globe. It’s a powerful creed and one that has inspired many Free Bookmobile volunteers and supporters, including program founder Glen Weaver. Glen remembers all the work local Rotary clubs did in partnership with homeless service organizations throughout Sonoma County during his time with Committee on the Shelterless (COTS). Now he is fortunate to have their support for literacy outreach, and have they ever come through in 2016!

In addition to investments made by other clubs mentioned in this News blog, generous donations have recently been made by:

Rotary Club of Petaluma Foundation — For our extensive monthly outreach to Petalumans of all ages

Rotary Club of Russian River — For service to rural communities from Guerneville to Jenner

Rotary Club of Santa Rosa West — For prioritizing a large underserved population west of downtown, including Roseland

Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East — For bring great books directly to east Santa Rosa seniors at their homes

Rotary Club of Healdsburg Sunrise — For our comprehensive service to all corners of greater Healdsburg

Thank you, Rotary, for setting the local standard for community service, and for your help with our important mission!


Finley Foundation Renews Major Support of Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, July 20th, 2016   

We are thrilled to announce that the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation has once again stepped forward with generous operating support of the Free Bookmobile program! This is the fifth straight year in which the Finley Foundation has made a major pledge to literacy outreach throughout Sonoma County. Their backing will make it possible to once again embark on our journeys to find the children, families, adults and seniors who are most challenged for access to books and welcome them aboard our colorful free library on wheels.

The Finley Foundation has been an invaluable source of funding for community programs throughout the North Bay since 1985, particularly in the areas of child welfare, health and human services, and arts and culture. Their investments in the Free Bookmobile have helped us grow our service 20% annually, both in terms of persons reached and increased quality of books offered. With our new Mobile Librarian ready to hit the road on more routes, we are poised to do the same in 2016 – 2017!

Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50 Boosts Free Bookmobile with Donation
Written by admin, June 29th, 2016   

Active 20-30 Club #50 of Santa Rosa

The Free Bookmobile has great respect for the work various local Active 20-30 Clubs do on behalf of at-risk youth. It has been our pleasure to partner with them on occasion, including efforts to bring holiday celebrations to those who have less. The Active 20-30 club of Santa Rosa #50 is particularly enterprising, a group of like-minded young professionals between the ages of 20-39 who volunteer to improve the lives of  underprivileged youth in Santa Rosa. They do this through large scale fundraisers, but more importantly through direct philanthropic endeavors.

Apparently the respect is mutual because they have made a generous donation toward our outreach services for children! We will be putting the funds to good use in the Santa Rosa area, and look forward to partnering with the club directly at their annual Back to School Children’s Shopping Spree in early August. This is a terrific, morale-boosting event at which low-income kids receive a hot breakfast, haircut, free books (from us) and a school-oriented shopping spree at Coddingtown Mall so they are ready for the start of fall classes. Thank you, Active 20-30 #50!

Sonoma Country Day School Sets New Record for Book Donations
Written by admin, June 4th, 2016   


Our good friends at Sonoma Country Day School have come through yet again! Enthusiastic SCDS teacher Ben Bacon has been a wonderful support on several projects, including one a few years ago that saw all the school’s Scholastic Book Fair points donated to the Free Bookmobile for new purchases. This spring Ben’s leadership club students, the Comet Leadership Council, set an ambitious goal to beat the old single-donation record of 8,000 books with a collection drive they called “Bananas for Books”.

The kids worked hard to spread the word throughout their community and even Head of School Brad Weaver got into the spirit by promising to wear a banana suit if the council met their goal! Not only did they succeed, to the tune of 9,023 books, but the quality of these titles is excellent. We are already giving them away and are very excited about the positive impact they’ll have over the coming months to help stem the dreaded summer reading skill slide, especially for those children who have few books in their homes. We are so grateful and salute Sonoma Country Day School for supporting educational opportunities that have significant real-world impact.

Free Bookmobile Volunteer Party Connects Readers and Helpers
Written by admin, May 23rd, 2016   

Free Bookmobile Volunteers

Our volunteer crew accomplished a lot this year! With our best ever outcomes, including getting great books of choice to almost 17,000 people throughout Sonoma County, the Free Bookmobile depended on major support behind the scenes. These generous folks hauled and sorted books, helped patrons on-site, cleaned the bookmobile and its facility, got the word out to communities we were visiting, and much more. We decided it was time to celebrate.

Thanks to donation of a lovely event space by Lisa Kurtz of West County Herb Company, we were able to gather on a sunny spring day in Occidental. Program Assistant Stacy Ruppert put together a nice spread, and Sonoma County Public Library Foundation board member Sheila Almquist (not pictured because she took the photo!) also attended to express gratitude to these dedicated individuals. We enjoyed a great afternoon together sharing food, laughs, and tales of why folks give up their time for our cause. The best part was seeing new volunteers who had never met connect so easily over books and reading. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering for the Free Bookmobile, just send us an email through our “Contact Us” page.

New Mobile Librarian Joins Free Bookmobile Team
Written by admin, May 6th, 2016   

Mobile Librarian Alison Finch

Big welcome to Alison Finch, our new part-time driver/mobile librarian! As detailed in the previous news item, our friends at Sonoma Wine Country Weekend were enthusiastic about our proposal to expand our service by adding more routes. Their funding, along with increased book donations from the community and other sources, has allowed us to make that notion a reality. Alison had been a steady volunteer on board the Free Bookmobile since March of 2015, giving us a chance to see just how well she interacted with our patrons and to enjoy her attention to detail. Her librarian background helped seal the deal, and thankfully, she’s quickly learned how to handle the ‘mobile out on the road.

So no longer will it just be our Director’s face behind the desk. Alison will be out and about, serving up high quality books to anyone and everyone, about one day per week. Please give her a warm welcome when you see her…she’s got some great reads for you!

Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati Funds Free Bookmobile for Area Services
Written by admin, April 28th, 2016   

Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati

Our old friends at Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati have renewed funding for Free Bookmobile outreach in their area! We are thrilled to continue this partnership and are always finding new opportunities to serve the grateful residents of the region. Monthly visits to library-less Cotati are just the tip of the iceberg: we also make stops at the Boys & Girls Club, low-income mobile home parks, the Rohnert Park Senior Center, supportive housing for previously homeless families, Gold Ridge Preschool, summer lunch program sites, special seasonal events and more.

We get particularly excited when partnering directly with Club members to distribute new dictionaries to local third graders. These lucky kids also go home with books of choice from our shelves that day. Another inspiring club endeavor is their “Backpack Program”, which provides groceries to underprivileged children in the community on Friday afternoon so that they and their families can have a nutritious meal over the weekend. Thank you for all you do, Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati!

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