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California Library Hall of Fame: David Sabsay
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California Library Hall of Fame

David Sabsay (1931-2010)

David Sabsay was 25 years old when he became director of the Santa Rosa Public Library. At the time, he was the youngest library director in California. Within nine years, he convinced surrounding library jurisdictions to join forces and become the Sonoma County Library, which he headed from 1969 until his retirement in 1992. Sabsay was known as a hard taskmaster and was blunt, but he loved libraries and believed passionately in serving the public. As chair of the California Library Association (CLA) Legislative Committee, he was a key architect behind the Public Library Development Act, which passed in 1963, allowing public libraries to create regional systems. Shortly after the bill’s passage, Sabsay helped found the North Bay Cooperative Library System, the first regional system in the western U.S. He was CLA president in 1971 and, following Proposition 13, helped draft the legislation that eventually enabled the Public Library Fund (PLF). After retirement, Sabsay became an instrumental force in the perpetuation of the Sonoma County Wine Library, a private library supported through a financial system he initiated.

David Sabsay was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2014. For more information about him, please see: