County News

County News

The Update welcomes announcements of interest to the Sonoma County literary community. Send text only (no attachments or PDFs please) by noon on the last day of the month to: No workshops, classes or readings, please. (Those are posted on the calendar or workshops pages.) An archive of announcements may be found at:


Report from Sonoma County Public Library Foundation

For years there have been increases in digital checkouts through the Sonoma County Library. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the trend, with digital checkouts of eBooks and eAudiobooks as well as streaming of movies and online classes increasing immediately upon the March Shelter-in-Place orders.

The Library Foundation is dedicating to helping the Library provide resources to those who need it most. Right now there is a gap between those that have access to WiFi and digital resources and those who do not. That’s why we recently donated $75,000 to close the gap.

Part of the funds will go towards expanding access to Hoopla, the widely popular digital platform. The $20,000 donated by the Library Foundation will bring Hoopla access to 60,000 children.

Part of the funds will go towards expanding Spanish-language digital resources. We recently donated $15,000 to add Spanish language eBooks and eAudiobooks to the Library’s collection, since digital resources are so high in demand currently.

The remaining $40,000 will be used to extend WiFi from the Library branches. Although patrons are not allowed inside the Library yet, WiFi extension will allow people to use free Library WiFi from the parking lot, courtyard, and nearby public spaces outside the branches. This initial investment in WiFi extension will start the process of extending WiFi from the library. We still need $30,000 to extend WiFi from all the branches.
When you donate to the Library Foundation this holiday season, you help provide free WiFi access for your neighbors 24/7 at your local Library branch. Donate here:


SLAM 2020: A Sonoma County Virtual Teen Poetry Slam

Saturday, December 12, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

This virtual Sonoma County-wide event is open to performers between the ages of 13-19, and teens will also serve as the emcees, judges, and scorekeepers. All ages are welcome to attend to cheer on our talented teens!
Prizes will be awarded to the three top-scoring poets. Video submissions of your spoken word poetry are due by Saturday, November 14 and should be submitted using this form.

If you have any questions or are interested in being a judge, please email

Registration is required. Participants will receive the necessary Zoom information 30 minutes before the event starts. A recording of the event will be available on YouTube after the event.


Sonoma County Loves to Read

The numbers are in! Sonoma County read 1,523,147 minutes this summer as part of the Summer Reading Program.

You may be wondering how you can discover new books at the library. You’re in luck, we’ve compiled a list of ways to browse our catalog. And, we are always acquiring new books for you. 

Discover your next favorite read today! 

Thank you for being a member of the Sonoma County Library community. Visit our online library for thousands of films, TV shows, eBooks, databases, magazines, classes, and more.

Questions? Click here to get in touch with us or call 707-308-3262.


Sonoma County Youth Poet Laureate 2020-21

Zoya Ahmed, an incoming senior at Maria Carrillo High School, was chosen as our Youth Poet Laureate by a panel of judges: outstanding local poets and teachers from around the county, including Maya Khosla, our just previous County Poet Laureate. The Sonoma County program is organized by California Poets in the Schools. Zoya was the 2019 winner of Sonoma County’s Poetry Out Loud recitation contest and went on to become a finalist in the California State Poetry Out Loud contest. She was also the first winner of the state-wide Poetry Ourselves contest, competing against other POL county-wide champions from around the state, each with an original poem. More details may be found in Phyllis Meshulam’s June 2020 Poet Laureate’s News column.


Sonoma County Public Library Now Offering Curbside Pickup

Beginning June 1, Sonoma County Library is offering curbside pickup for books, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday, curbside pickup is available at five library branches, in Guerneville, Sonoma, Windsor, Rohnert Park, and at the Central Library in downtown Santa Rosa.

Request your items online or by calling your favorite curbside pickup location between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. (You may also leave a message any time by calling 707-308-3262; someone will return your call within 24 hours.) Library patrons will be required to observe social distancing and facial covering guidelines while picking up library materials outside each library.

Curbside pickup does not currently include curbside returns. All due dates have been extended, and you are asked to hold on to your returns for now. Learn more:


Sonoma County Public Library’s Digital Resources

The library branches may be closed, but incredible digital resources are available 24/7! This includes resources for learning foreign languages, job skills, children’s enrichment, eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, eMagazines, music, tutoring, and more. Those resources are available to everyone with a library card. Even if Sonoma County residents don’t have a library card, they can register for a new one online and when library branches reopen, they can pick up their physical card. To access all the eResources:


Phyllis MeshulamSonoma County’s Newest Poet Laureate

Welcome to our new Poet Laureate, Phyllis Meshulam. A long-time resident of Sonoma County, she has published four collections of poetry, most recently Land of My Father’s War, which won the Artists’ Embassy International Award. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including Ars Medica,; Bullets into Bells; Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace; and What Redwoods Know. Phyllis is also the editor of Poetry Crossing, CalPoet’s 50th anniversary lesson plan book, an inspirational resource for writers and teachers. 


Sonoma County 2020 Poetry Out Loud winners

Poetry Out Loud 2020 winnersCongratulations to Sonoma County 2020 Poetry Out Loud winners! Jessica Spano (center) from Petaluma High School took first place honors in the Poetry Out Loud competition on February 10th at the Central Sonoma County Library. First runner up was Hazel Jacome (left) from Piner High School and Megan Roman (right) from Analy High School took third place. All thirteen county contestants offered stellar recitations of great poems.

Jessica represented Sonoma County at the State finals on March 15th and 16th, which were held as a virtual event. The Poetry Outloud state champion is from Sacramento County and the Poetry Ourselves first-place winner from Napa. Details at:

Many thanks to the partners and sponsors who helped to make the 2020 Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud program a success: Creative Sonoma, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Sonoma County Vintners and the Santa Rosa Symphony.


Meeting Space!

The Sitting Room community library would like Book Groups to know that they would be welcome to hold their meetings here. There is comfortable seating for up to 10 people and parking too. We are open from 9 to 5 Mondays – Saturdays, but are happy to make arrangements for other time slots also. If interested in arranging a trial meeting, please call us at 707 795-9028 or email us at The atmosphere is right (and people wont have to straighten up their houses for the occasional occasion). We are right next to Sonoma State University at 2025 Curtis Drive, Penngrove, 94951. Check out our website: for directions and to get a feel for the place.


WordTemple Redux!

Sonoma County poet laureate emerita, Katherine Hastings, has morphed WordTemple — her former reading series and radio program — into a blog with, in part, the intention of bringing California and New York poets (and beyond) together. The initial blog featured a poem from Jodi Hottel’s recent chapbook, Out of the Ashes. Most recently, poems from Rochester poet Charles Cote’s full length collection, I Play His Red Guitar, are posted along with a statement by Cote on how these poems arrived after his teenaged son died of cancer. If you would like to check out the blog, go to Katherine would love for you to subscribe.

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  1. […] 24. To find out who’s reading and presenting at these events, click on each, or visit the County News page of the Literary Update (printed below in this email). This is the time for nominations for […]

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