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Sonoma County Gazette
Cloverdale Comments by Carol Russell and Reece Foxen

Meet the New Cloverdale
Library Chairwoman

Aug 1, 2018
by Carol Russell


“What would we do without our libraries?”—Katherine Hepburn
“I cannot imagine a community without a library!”—Reece Foxen

Hello, this is Carol with heartfelt thanks and hearty congratulations to co-columnist Reece! The fervor for public libraries that she clearly shares with the late, great Kate motivates my inspiring friend to contribute countless hours to our county’s public library system as a whole as well as to Cloverdale’s library in particular.     

In fact, for the past four years (with two more remaining in her current term), Reece has served as our city’s appointed representative on the Sonoma County Library Commission, including work on its Advocacy and Finance Committees plus several ad hocs.

 In addition, I am delighted to tell you that, at the Library Commission’s July meeting, she had the honor of being elected its Chairwoman.Now here’s Reece to tell us more about Cloverdale’s Library & the county system:

Hi! I’ll start by saying I’m especially thankful to Cloverdale voters for supporting Measure Y in 2016.

This 1/8th of a cent sales tax (1¢ for every $8 spent in Sonoma County!) has allowed our Libraries to better meet individual and community needs in a number of ways. For example: Libraries are open on Monday with expanded hours on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. Increased revenue has also made possible much needed restorations to staff after the sharp cuts necessitated by the Great Recession.   

Cloverdale’s popular renovated library is up-to-date and now has a full crew, including Interim Branch Manager Lara Mayelian who came to us from Seattle via Rincon Valley Library, bringing 10 years’ experience as a librarian.

Passionate about reaching out to teens, especially at-risk youth, runaways, those in foster care, and juvenile hall, Lara promises: “If they won’t come to me, I will go to them.” Toward that goal she is working to build partnerships with the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice System and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to foster reading and find ways to give these young people a normalizing, yet, potentially life changing experience—browsing the library.     

Lara’s own library involvement began in Santa Clarita after her family emigrated to the U.S. from Iran in 1979, joining relatives who had fled their homeland after World War I. When her parents went to the local library to take English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons, Lara roamed the Children’s Section and, thanks to this opportunity, began her earliest English lessons by talking with the librarians. “They were wonderful,” she recalls fondly, “spending time answering my questions.” Today, following in their footsteps, Lara gets to help others in the same ways!

A move to a new facility that processes all materials and administrative work was also made possible by Measure Y. Sometime when you’re near E and 3rd in Santa Rosa, look at the building and imagine what the basement looks like. All ordering, processing, and mending of materials, which used to mean hundreds of boxes with new books plus 20,000 items on the move each day through 14 branches, as well as marketing, program development, administration, IT, and a very small employee rest area were crammed into this basement and accessed by a 6 x 6 elevator and set of narrow stairs. The move to a new facility has made it very much easier to get the books and materials up to us in Cloverdale.

Technology. It’s the new “library at home”!All you need is your library card! Want a picture book? BookFLIX at Or maybe you need to gain a new computer programing skill? at Or then, again, maybe you’re a student with a paper due on a controversial topic? Try Points of View at of view. How about a new washing machine, which I had to buy recently? I went to: Consumer Reports - Want an eBook or audiobook in Spanish? Click to Odilo at Pick up “Explore: Digital Services & Databases” at Cloverdale Library for full list of digital services. 


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