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:


From Page to Film

“Roots in My Garden,” a story published in Sonoma County author Jo Lauer’s book, Returning: A Collection of Stories, is being adapted to film by Reel Freedom Film Company. The film deals with the devastating landmark court case regarding lesbian parenting rights that took place here in Sonoma County.


2021 IPPY Gold Medal for Joan Frank

Where You’re All Going: Four Novellas, by Sonoma County author Joan Frank (Sarabande Books) has won the 2021 Gold Medal for Short Story Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. This year’s medalists represent 46 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces with winners also coming from U.K. and Australia, plus New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica and Malawi. More details at:

Her book is available from Sarabande Books: 


Touchstone Foundation 2020 Distinguished Book Award

Renée Owen’s poetry collection, This One Life (Backbone Press) has been short-listed for a Touchstone Foundation 2020 Distinguished Book Award. Details:


2021 Northern California Book Awards

Sonoma County authors have been nominated for a Northern California Book Award this year for books published in 2020. This year’s nominees include and Joan Frank in Creative Nonfiction (Try to Get Lost: Essays on Travel and Place,  University of New Mexico Press) and John Johnson, Nancy Morales, and Terry Ehret in California Translation in Poetry (Plagios/Plagiarisms, translated from the Spanish of Ulalume Gonzalez de Leon, Sixteen Rivers Press)


Sonoma County Library Offers Express Services

Beginning April 26, the Sonoma County Library is offering in-person Express Services six days a week (plus Sundays at Central Santa Rosa Library). Express Services allows those who have limited access to our online library, or who miss their in-person library experience, to join us in reopening gradually and safely. Eleven regional libraries are open twice a day, for one-hour sessions, at less-than-normal capacity. Reservations are encouraged and are available here.

In-Person Service Schedule:
Monday, Tuesday: 1-2 pm and 5-6 pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 11 am-12 pm and 3-4 pm
Central Santa Rosa Library will also be open on Sundays from 3-4 pm

As the county moves into higher tiers and more people are vaccinated, library services will continue to expand. We will still offer services online and by telephone. Learn more:


County-Wide Poetry Anthology

Edited by Phyllis Meshulam, current county poet laureate.

Three sections will be based on Joanna Macy’s “the work that reconnects.” Macy, an environmental activist and translator of Rilke, starts with the concept of “gratitude,” then moves to “honoring our pain for the world,” then “seeing with new eyes.”

One goal of this book will be to look at some of our foundational texts and the places we may have been led astray by them. An example is Aeschylus’s Apollo denying a woman’s role in creating a child. Or conversely, some texts may have provided good warnings but we may have forgotten their message. We can talk back to some texts, while re-broadcasting others. 

Most of the prompts included in Phyllis’ columns so far are likely to generate poems that would be appropriate for this anthology. March, February (though for February you’ll have to watch the videos to find them), January (these are aimed more at school-age students, but could spark you, too), December, July, May. As in this list, the months appear in descending order. December – May are from 2020. The archived poet laureate columns referenced here are at:

The deadline is September 1, unless you are a teen or have a poem in Spanish. In that case, the deadline is September 15, 2021. Please send submissions with COUNTY ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION in the subject line. Send up to three poems as an attachment to Put a brief bio in the body of the email. The book is expected to be published by April 2022.


Sonoma County Library’s Free Digital Newsstand

Your Sonoma County Library card unlocks access to the world’s largest digital newsstand? Our digital magazine collection is now on OverDrive and the Libby app (Digital magazines were previously hosted through RBdigital.) Digitally stream popular and new issues of magazines like The New Yorker, The Week Magazine, Us Weekly, New Scientist, Cooks Illustrated, and The Economist.

Explore thousands of current and back magazine issues today


Sonoma County Library Announces Enki: An eBook Platform from Librarians

Expand your eBook experience with Enki! This statewide eBook service contains more than 90,000 eBooks in all areas of fiction and non-fiction, for children, teens, and adults. Enki is a free, open-source eBook platform created by libraries for libraries. It is named after the Sumerian god of mischief, intelligence and creativity. There are never any holds or wait for Enki eBooks.

Enki features:

  • Graphic novels and comics
  • Children’s books
  • Mysteries, romance novels, horror, and thrillers
  • Spanish titles
  • Crafting and gardening reads
  • Classic literature
  • Indie writers
  • Short stories and essays
  • Encyclopedias

Learn more 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:




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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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