Jaredel Stevens has a household of young readers, but living in Roseland, the mother of four has had to travel across Santa Rosa or to Sebastopol to check out books from a library.
That changed Tuesday morning, when the doors to a long-anticipated library branch opened about a mile from Stevens’ home. Now, she and her children don’t have far to travel to enjoy all that a library offers.
“I’m really, really excited. We come to the library every week,” said Stevens, who brought her 2-year-old daughter, Ruby, to the Sebastopol Road library with her Tuesday.
The library branch, located inside the former Furniture 2000 store on the site of the former Roseland Village Shopping Center, fulfills a long-held dream to bring books, educational programs and other services to the community in southwest Santa Rosa.
The library has about 2,500 books in both Spanish and English, all of them new, as well as DVDs. The collection is expected to grow to about 5,000 titles.
The Spanish and English titles are not segregated on the shelves, a fact that appealed to David Ebright, a member of the Sonoma County Library Commission.
“It reflects our community. We’re all here together,” said Ebright, who checked out a Sue Grafton novel.
The titles also reflect a diversity of interests, including in the “ficcion” or fiction section, which includes Ernest Hemingway’s “El Viejo y el Mar” (“The Old Man and the Sea”), Harper Lee’s “Ve y Pon un Centinela” (“Go Set a Watchman”), Stephen King’s “Finder Keepers” and Jonathan Franzen’s latest, “Purity.”
On the nonfiction shelves, the titles included “Japanese for Dummies,” “La Semana Laboral de 4 Horas” (“The 4-Hour Workweek”), “This Book is Gay” and “Mexicans in the Making of America.”
The library occupies a small area of the 15,000-square-foot space, which also is used by the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County, as well as by other community groups. The library shelves and furniture are on rollers so that they can be pushed away to make room for other activities.
Library employees were still scrambling to get things ready for Tuesday’s soft opening. The library was still awaiting Wi-Fi connectivity for the computers, as well as rugs for the children’s area. In a storage room, Ken Nieman, the library’s chief financial officer, removed plastic coverings from new chairs.
The library will formally open at 11 a.m. Nov. 14 with a celebration that includes music, dancing and refreshments.
“Usually on day one, it may not be perfect,” Kiyo Okazaki, a library administrator, said Tuesday. “We are giving ourselves a little bit of extra time to have everything in place.”
Okazaki greeted the library’s first patrons Tuesday when the doors opened at 10 a.m.
“Hi. Good morning. Come on in. It’s your library,” she said to Sheldon and Kathy Phelps, who had driven to the library from their home in Bennett Valley.
Sheldon Phelps, a retired computer programmer, had been eagerly anticipating picking up “The Ugly Game,” a book about scandal involving the governing body of professional soccer. The Roseland branch had the only copy of the book.
He called the library branch a “good start,” saying the Roseland community needs access to books.
The branch has several laptops as well as 10 iPads on order, Okazaki said. Patrons can get library cards and order books and DVDs from anywhere in the Sonoma County Library system, as well as from libraries in Mendocino and Lake counties.