About Central Library

From a private library association in Santa Rosa to an integral piece of the countywide library system, the Central Branch of the Sonoma County Library has been providing library services to the citizens of Santa Rosa since 1859. It was the fourteenth public library established in the state and received a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to build on the corner of Fourth and E Streets in 1904. The stone building was damaged by the 1906 earthquake and repaired, but was eventually torn down in the 1960s to make way for the new building designed by architect Francis Joseph McCarthy. The new building was built to be the center of operations and administration for the new city-county library system and eventual countywide system. A model of modernity at the time, it included vertical and horizontal conveyors to mechanize book-handling and teletype and fax transmission connections to other Bay Area libraries. Architectural features include sculptured redwood fences, garden walls composed of stone from the 1904 Carnegie building, and stained glass clerestory windows.