People of Petaluma: The preserver of our local history

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Connie Williams is learning all sorts of fun facts about the city she has called home for more than 30 years. Like the fact that America’s first cross-country trucking shipment carried a load of specialty soap from Philadelphia to the Petaluma Silk Mill in 1912. “This little town is pretty cool,” she said. “It’s not all butter and eggs.” She’s the first-ever dedicated librarian at the Petaluma History Room, a set of archives tucked away in an upstairs room of the library at the fairgrounds. But she’s a familiar face around town, especially for those who attended Kenilworth Junior High, where she was a librarian for 20 years, or Petaluma High, where she assisted young readers for eight years. She was also an adjunct professor at Santa Rosa Junior College, until the opportunity to be the keeper of Petaluma’s history came calling. “I love our public libraries, I am so happy to be here,” she said. The new position was made possible by the 2016 measure that increased sales tax countywide by one-eighth of a cent. In addition to organizing the expansive archive collection, which receives regular donations of documents and other items from longtime Petalumans, she assists people with personal and professional research projects. “Most people come to find out about their house or their ancestors,” she said. “The people who come to the library are wonderful. They are curious, they have great minds.”

People of Petaluma is a new feature to spotlight interesting neighbors. If you know someone whose story should be told, send suggestions to emily.charrier@arguscourier.com.

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