Coalition to Support the Roseland Library – Case Statement

Roseland Coalition Logo

I. Why a permanent Library in Roseland? Neighborhoods Matter

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors funded, and enthusiastically endorsed the human development report, A Portrait of Sonoma County, “to achieve your mission to invest in beautiful, thriving, sustainable communities for all.” The Portrait has allowed the county to:

  • be able to focus resources and attention to areas of need, and leverage the tremendous assets of every neighborhood,
  • to help build the resilience of our many neighborhoods and communities,

The County’s Pledge of Support acknowledges that:

“not all residents have access to the same opportunities to meet their full potential, and that health, education, and income disparities exist depending on where one lives in the county. We aim to leverage resources, empower communities, share best practices, and strategically focus our efforts in order to creatively contribute to a new and innovated discussion of health equity in our county…”

To that end, the 1st key finding showed that the most extreme disparities in basic health, education and earnings are often found within small geographic neighborhoods. The Portrait documents that the three lowest ranked census tracks in Sonoma County are: Sheppard , Roseland, and Roseland Creek (97th-99th) …whose well-being outcomes are well below those of Mississippi, the lowest-ranked state on the American Human Development Index.

Acknowledging this, the Portrait’s Agenda for Action identifies first among Sonoma County Priority Places:

Southwest Santa Rosa: Three census tracts in SW Santa Rosa, adjacent to one another have the human development levels similar to those that prevailed in the country as a whole in the late 1970s. The struggles here are many: life expectancies are among the county’s lowest, four in ten adults lack high school diplomas; school enrollment rates are well below the county average; and residents are earning roughly $22,000 per year—the median wage that prevailed in the United States in the late 1960s. Six in ten housing units are rented, and the average size of households living in rental housing is among the county’s highest, suggesting overcrowded living conditions.

The findings of the Portrait of Sonoma County were updated and replicated in the City of Santa Rosa’s Violence Prevention Partnership in their Community Safety Scorecard, 2016.

And yet we rise…
Despite these community deficits, it has been demonstrated at Roseland University Prep High School and the First Five-funded Via Esperanza Centro de Educaciòn that the highest standards of achievement can be accomplished with neighborhood-based approaches.

Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County has committed significant resources since 2005 to establish programming in the area, serving Roseland kids from 1st-12th grades, including serving supper to 250. They are ready to invest in a multi-million dollar facility co-located with the Roseland Library at the Roseland Village that will enhance the utilization and impact of both efforts.

This area of the county has experienced decades of neglected infrastructure support. It will soon be annexed into the City of Santa Rosa, which will spend many years and resources bringing the neighborhood infrastructure up to the quality its citizens deserve.

A local Public Library Branch is a key asset to turning around this profound disparity….

II. Why is a local library a crucial element in eradicating disparities?

Libraries embody the County’s Upstream Investment goal to help eliminate poverty in Sonoma County and ensure equal opportunity for quality education and good health in nurturing home and community environments.

As the county strives to achieve universal preschool, it can partner with and invest in libraries and their preschool enrichment programming. The popular adoption of Measure Y allows for the development of free and accessible early childhood education programming as well as parent support and development.

Libraries are essential for economic development and boosting human capital in the areas they serve. They act not only as a repository of literary works, but also a center for social and governmental services, a safe haven, and a community shared space. The Roseland Library provides internet access and computers in an area with lower household access to wi-fi and computing.

Libraries are critical because they can offer free English as a second language instruction, GED preparation, classes on writing basic financial documents for small businesses and freelancers, financial education seminars for teens and adults that cover credit card debt, budgeting and banking, basic computer literary courses, and research and homework help for school students and a wholesome alternative leisure activity.

In summary, the library in SW Santa Rosa helps local residents get ahead, provide opportunities for enrichment, maximize youth potential, and serves as a monument of civic pride.

III. How can we achieve a permanent Library in Roseland, and what is the community’s role?

In late 2015, the Roseland Community Library was launched. It was the result of a collaboration between the County Community Development Commission’s provision of temporary space (shared with the Boys & Girls Club), along with the combined efforts of the Sonoma Co. Library and matching funds from SC Public Library Foundation, Friends of the Santa Rosa Library, Los Cien, the Rohnert Park Rotary, and private donations from throughout the county.

At that time, the Coalition to Support the Roseland Library was formed to assure the expansion of services, and implementation of the permanent library.

Due to the success of the passage of the Sales tax Measure Y, on-going operating funding for the Roseland Library is assured, and expanded hours have been scheduled.

A permanent site for the Library was included in the Roseland Neighborhood Village Plan adopted by County in March, 2015.

The Library and Coalition have met with Mid Peninsula, the CDC, and Supervisor Efren Carrillo to create a plan to achieve our goal. We have re-dedicated our efforts to form a public-private partnership to raise the estimated $4 million needed for the Library.

Plans for the Library building:

The Civic Building planned is a 22,000 sq. ft, two-story building, and will accommodate the Central Sonoma County Boys & Girls Club (B&GC) and the Roseland library branch. The Library and architect are designing the library space for 8,000 + sq. ft. (about the size of the Windsor Branch Library).
Estimates from the county and developer are $350-$400/sq ft building costs (costs for the Central Square and parking are factored into each parcel). At 8,000 square feet X $400/sq. ft. the total cost for the Library portion equals $3.2 – $3.7 million. Other costs for tenant improvements include furniture, shelving, equipment, books, etc. will be in the Library operating budget.

Essential Factor Measure Y, overwhelmingly passed by the electorate in November 2016, provides crucial funding for establishing sufficient operating services for the Sonoma County Library Measure Y was not intended for, and cannot be used to build libraries. It does assure a healthy operating system for our county library system with much needed infrastructure improvements and professional staffing.

We’re in this together

We’ve taken to heart the County’s Upstream Investment directive: Invest Early, Invest Early, Invest Together in designing our plan to achieve our goal.

The financing plan developed will be a four-part partnership:

  1. Secure $1million commitment from the City of Santa Rosa
  2. Raise $1.7+ million in Capital Campaign implemented by the Coalition to Support the Roseland Library to include securing at least $1,000,000 from major donors and foundations, and the balance from a wide-spread community campaign.
  3. Receive a $1million one-time commitment from the County of Sonoma.
  4. The Library will provide tenant improvements: interior finishing, books, equipment, furnishings, computers, etc. (estimated at $1.1million)

This area of the county has experienced decades of neglected infrastructure support. It will soon be annexed into the City, which will spend many years and resources bringing the neighborhood infrastructure up to the quality its citizens deserve.

Roseland Coalition Logo

Coalition to Support the Roseland Library

Representing the Sonoma County Library

Founding member organizations
Sonoma County Public Library Foundation
Santa Rosa Friends of the Library
Santa Rosa Together


Gail Ahlas
Jane Bender
Lisa Carreño
Oscar Chavez
Efren Carrillo
Julie Combs
Sharon Dezurick
Norma Doyle
Omar Gallardo
Linda Garcia
Herman G Hernandez
Dan & Mary Jenkins
Jenni Klose
Pat Kuta
Brett Lear
Gaye LeBaron
John Lowry
Lisa Maldonado
Susan Moore
Terry Price
Dee & Harry Richardson
Magdalena Ridley
Jack Tibbetts
Barbara Tomin
Francisco Vazquez
Lynn Woolsey
and a list of 200+……..