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Close to Home: Foundation is set up to help address county library needs

  • The Sonoma County library's downtown Santa Rosa branch (MARK ARONOFF / The Press Democrat)

How many places are there in our community where you can walk in, browse through all the goods, find what you're looking for and take it home by simply providing the most basic identification and your promise to bring it back in three weeks?

Men and women and boys and girls throughout Sonoma County do just that at our Sonoma County Public Libraries. Libraries are great levelers, helping to remove disparities and inequities by providing opportunities to everyone. They are free and public. They promote literacy and the joy of reading.

To make that a continuing reality, the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation serves a simple mission: To strengthen the ability of the Sonoma County library to serve our community by raising funds to support the library and to promote the use of library resources, develop enthusiasm for reading and increase literacy for all Sonoma County residents.

The foundation is sometimes confused with the various Friends of the Library groups, which are specific to their respective cities. The foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, continues to serve the Sonoma County Public Library system as a whole. The foundation is an independent body operated under the guidance of an all-volunteer board of directors. It is driven not by political or management or labor interests but rather by its simple mission to support our local libraries so all people in the county can enjoy these rich community assets.

The foundation has supported a variety of library and literacy programs. For example, the foundation has provided funding for Sonoma County Reads, a county-wide community reading event; the Library's Summer Reading Program, with outreach to children at YMCA camps who otherwise would not be able to participate; and Sonoma County Library Book Discussion Groups, with the purchase of sets of books to be used in the book discussions.

Foundation donations have helped the library to purchase the E-book software system, add significantly to the initial E-book offerings and enhance the library's Spanish-language collection.

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