CiCi Wilcoxon can’t coax a decent yodel from the crowd at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library although her band, Dusty Rhodes and Her Handsome Cowboys, do get help with the whistling of wind through the tumbleweeds. But what the audience lacks in lungs it makes up for in attentiveness. “Love them, they’re the best. They come to listen. We get a chance to have fun,” says Wilcoxon. “The gigs are more intimate so we get to talk with them and laugh together.”
Time to fall back in love with your library. Thanks to funds from the passage of Measure Y — Sonoma County Library hours have been expanding, including the reopening on Mondays so library time can be a seven-day-a-week affair.
In addition to the restored hours there will be an increase of services and events.
“We are developing curriculum for a variety of technology training workshops and classes and hope to carry the momentum and success of the Healthy Living at Your Library into more classes dedicated to senior health as well as Healthy Kids at Your Library,” says Library Events Coordinator Kris LaVanish.
What could be better than something for everyone? Well, the fact that it’s all free.
A recent sampling of events at sonomalibrary.org include “Saturday Crafternoon: Paint Club,” “Mindful Minis: Mindfulness and yoga for kids,” and for the gardeners, “Catching Varmints: Managing Gophers, Moles, and Deer.”
The library is also partnering with other community groups to provide new adventures for patrons.
One pairing is the collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County to present STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) workshops such as Tinker Thinkers. The Master Gardeners of Sonoma County provide demonstrations and workshops for adults and children.
Music your thing? “The Santa Rosa Symphony always has a good turnout when they visit our branches.” says Kris LaVanish in describing one of the established partnerships bringing music and education to the library. Santa Rosa Symphony concerts often include demonstrations of musical instruments and post-performance discussions.
Many events make the rounds from branch to branch and with 14 branches, a missed ukulele class in Cloverdale on Saturday can be found the following Thursday in Petaluma. Attend them all, and you can learn “The Hawaiian Wedding Song” in record time.
Another countywide event is the respective children, teen and adult summer reading programs, which this year kicks off on June 5. For kids, the programs seeks to keep reading levels up over the summer break, whereas the adult program challenges readers to investigate unexplored literary genres. Special events are held weekly, and games and prizes are being offered as incentives.
The Sonoma County Library enjoys an engaged community, and for some library users, loyalty never flagged, despite the challenges presented by the cutbacks of recent years. “We adapted to the reduced hours like a third-generation flea to Advantage” says Sydney Griffin, inveterate Guerneville-branch devotee.
She describes her now teenage daughter Natalie’s earliest library exposure. “Our daily routine included a walk to the library. We would work our way through a stack of books, taking breaks to play with some of the toys on offer. Weekly children’s reading time was always on our calendar, as was whatever reading program was on offer each summer.”