Folk Notes

What does the Sonoma County Library have to offer musicians?

January 8, 2020

Who are we?

The Sonoma County library has 14 branches, plus the Adult Literacy program at the Central Library, the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library adjacent to the Central Branch, the Healdsburg Wine Library, and Petaluma History Room. The Central Branch is open 7 days a week and most other branches are open 6 days a week.

We share our catalog with Mendocino and Lake Counties, meaning you can use request their materials and they can request ours. Mendocino also operates book mobile services at Stewarts Point and Sea Ranch.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Sonoma, Lake, or Mendocino County collections, we also have access to materials from over 60 library systems across California and Nevada through Link+, including many academic libraries.

And if you can’t find it through Link+, we can also make Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests from libraries across the contiguous 48 states.

We also take purchase requests—if you think we should buy a book, album, or movie, let us know!

What does the Sonoma County Library have to offer musicians?

Regular collection

We have over 5,500 books, including instrumental methods, music theory, sheet music, songbooks, and biographies of musicians and composers. In addition, we have 180 music books in Spanish. Many of a newest music books at the Central branch are instrumental methods, covering a wide range of instruments and styles including banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and a variety of guitar styles from Latin American traditions and Flamenco to blues and old-time. The Dewey range for music is 780-789.


Reference collection

We have over 150 books in our reference collection, largely at Central and Rohnert Park branches, including academic-level encyclopedias of music. While not requestable, we can arrange for Reference Books to be sent to other branches for use.

Closed Stacks

The Central Branch maintains our Closed Stacks where we have over 800 books (of which 730 are circulating). These are largely sheet music, but also ethnomusicology, instrumental methods, and biographies. We have a very robust collection of fake books and opera librettos in the Closed Stacks.

Also, our Local Author collection located in the Closed Stacks has 20 books by local musicians, including Tim Rued, Gus Garelick, Chris Carney, Bill Amatneek, Sheri Mignano Crawford, Laxmi Ganesh Tewari, and W.A. Mathieu. If you are an author of a book, we gladly accept donations from local authors for inclusion. I have been actively adding books by local authors as I find them to this collection. We maintain local author profiles here.

Piano and Central Music File

The Central Music File contains over 1,600 pieces of sheet music, music theory, instrumental methods, songbooks, and more. Most of these are from the 1950s-1970s, though we have incorporated many donations from Stanroys and the general public that have helped keep the collection up-to-date. I’ve also special ordered a book of Northern Italian fiddle tunes directly from the publisher in Italy added to this collection. All files in this collection are circulating and requestable.The Central Branch also has a Williams Overture II electric piano, complete with 88 keys and 3 pedals, not to mention noise-cancelling headphones, freely available to the public. We also have it available for performers at the Central Open Mic (see below).

More information on the piano and the Central Music File is available here.

Music CDs

We have over 1,300 music CDs. Just as we accept donations for our Local Author collection, we also accept donations of music CDs by Sonoma County musicians for circulation.

Digital Resources

We offer streaming music through Hoopla, instructional and educational videos through, and documentaries through Kanopy (among many, many other things). For these and more digital resources, please click here.


For a full list of our upcoming events, click here.

Ukulele & Guitar Classes

Scott Gifford teaches two levels of ukulele (Basics and Beyond the Basics) at many of our branches throughout the year. Additionally, Fredy Gonzalez teaches beginning ukulele and guitar at Healdsburg.

Open Mics

The Central Branch hosts an Open Mic every third Saturday of the month from 3-5pm. Additionally, the Healdsburg Branch hosts a bimonthly Open Mic Night from 6-8pm Wednesdays nights.


We host many concerts throughout the year at our branches. If you are interested in performing, please fill out this form. We tend to schedule programs quarterly, and we like to have about 3 months lead-time in order to publicize events.

Music Fridays

We have three local musicians play most Friday afternoons at the Central Branch; Heath Curdts plays banjo, alternating with Cornelia van Aken who plays harp, and Scott Steward who plays guitar.

Coming Soon!

Soon you will be able to record your music at E Street Studios, to be located at the Central Branch!

Any questions, ideas, or really mean complaints can go to:

Dan Cottrell
Adult Services Librarian
Central Santa Rosa Branch
(707) 308-3020 ext. 1536



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