To: Sonoma County Library Commissioners, Supervisors, and and City Council members countywide

Restore Library Hours With Interim Financing Plan

I urge our local elected representatives from City Councils across Sonoma County, as well as member of the Library Commission and the Board of Supervisors, to collectively fund an interim financing plan that will restore Monday hours for all County libraries by January 1, 2016.

Why is this important?

Sonoma County Libraries have been closed Mondays for more than four years, and there is no end in sight to the largest library funding crisis and hours cutback in history.

Last month, as reported in The Sonoma Independent, the Campaign to Restore Library Hours delivered a petition with 1,271 names on it to the Board of Supervisors’ annual budget meeting. The Supervisors refused to allocate our requested funding from the County's surplus to reopen libraries on Mondays. But in an unusual public response, three of the County’s five Supervisors spoke of supporting a financing effort to restore Monday hours, provided that it came from the County’s Library Commission, and that local cities join with the County in co-funding the solution.

Both the County and most local cities have sufficient contingency funds should they choose to do this, starting in the New Year. On July 6, the Sonoma Independent submitted to the Library Commission a $1.5 million interim funding proposal to be split between the County and seven cities, that would restore Monday and evening hours starting January 1, 2016. The County would contribute $600,000 annually, seven cities would share the other $600,000 (with Santa Rosa paying $200,000), and the Library budget would add $300,000 more.

The Library Commission plans to explore the proposal in its Revenue Committee, and decide whether or not to move forward with a plan to restore hours in the next few months. We urge the Library Commissioners, Supervisors, and City Councils, to commit to resolving this funding crisis this year.