San Rafael Public Library

Library Updates

Northgate’s Pop-Up Library Gets New Lease on Life

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story time at northgate mall

San Rafael, CA – The temporary and experimental pop-up library at the Northgate mall in San Rafael has been such a success, the three partnering agencies have agreed to keep it open through April 2020.

Created in December 2018 as a special holiday season treat for shoppers and other mall visitors, the branch was a collaboration between the Marin County Free Library (MCFL), the San Rafael Public Library and the mall owner, Merlone Geier Partners.

“Based on the success of the initial month-to-month pilot, and thanks to the support of Merlone-Geier Partners, we have extended our agreement,” said Henry Bankhead, Interim Director of the San Rafael Public Library. “We have created a partnership between local governments and local business to re-imagine public space and create free, easy access to a world of information and experiences.”

Merlone Geier Partners provided the 3,000 square feet of space, a former shoe store that is just a few steps from the food court and movie theater. It is stocked with materials initially supplied by MCFL, and it is staffed primarily with personnel from the San Rafael Public Library.

“We are thrilled our expanded service experiment has been such a tremendous success,” said MCFL Director Sara Jones. “We are reaching new library patrons and strengthening and expanding our collaboration and library services with the San Rafael Public Library. We especially appreciate the mall’s support as a full partner in a project that greatly benefits all.”

Patrons may check out books and other media, pick up items on hold, drop off checked-out materials, use the 3D printer, experience virtual reality, and participate in some other programming options.

The popup library also hosts a regular family storytime on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. and a Northgate bookclub discussion at Peet’s Coffee every 3rd Thursday of the month.

The library hours are:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed Tuesday

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Summer Reading starts June 1st!

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A Universe of Stories

June 1 – August 31, 2019

Summer Reading 2019 is just around the corner and readers from Kindergarten through 111 years old are invited to take part.

We’re starting this year off with a big Summer Reading Blast-Off party on the Library lawn. From 1-4pm on June 1st everyone is invited to drop in, eat some tasty snacks, play some games, and sign up for summer reading. You can find all the fun details here.

Then, all summer long keep track of your reading, take part in fun space-themed library programs, and win prizes.

We can’t wait to see you at the library this summer!

Sign up online now.


Learn more about Summer Reading 2019

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Library Survey! We Need Your Help!

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Update 5/22/2019

Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey! We appreciate your time and input.

The survey is now closed.

We need your help!  The San Rafael Library is conducting a survey about where we might build a new library, and we would like to hear your opinions.  The survey will ask about some options for locating a new Downtown library, and you will have a chance to tell us what you like and dislike about each of the options.

The survey will take about 12 minutes of your time.  To begin the survey, simply click on the link below.

Survey Link

This survey will be completely confidential.  Your responses will be used only in combination with those of others who are participating in this survey.

Thanks in advance for your help.  We hope you will be able to complete this important survey. Please click on the link below to begin the survey.

Survey Link

For more information about this project and the latest news, go to:


¡La Biblioteca de San Rafael necesita su ayuda! Por medio de esta encuesta queremos saber su opinión acerca del lugar donde construir una nueva biblioteca. Esta encuesta le preguntará sobre algunas opciones y locaciones para la nueva biblioteca central. Usted tendrá la oportunidad de opinar sobre lo que le gusta y lo que no le gusta acerca de cada opción.

La encuesta le tomará aproximadamente 12 minutos de su valioso tiempo. Para empezar la encuesta, haga click en el enlace a continuación:

Enlace de la Encuesta

Esta encuesta será completamente confidencial. Sus respuestas serán utilizadas solo por el personal que está realizando esta encuesta.

De antemano agradecemos su cooperación y esperando que pueda completar esta encuesta tan importante para nosotros.  A continuación por favor haga click en el enlace para empezar la encuesta.

Enlace de la Encuesta


Big Changes At Downtown Library

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If you’ve visited the downtown library in the past week you will have seen big changes underway at our West entrance (on E Street).  The desk in the lobby has closed to  make way for new, improved shelves for requested materials. You will now find all of your holds here including books, DVDs, and Link+ items.

You will also find plenty of self check machines in the lobby, so if you’re hoping to make a quick dash in to pick up something you’ve requested, you’ll be in and out in just moments.

Don’t worry, no one is losing their jobs and we’re all still here to help with everything from placing holds and paying fines, to finding your next great read. Now you’ll just come to see us at either the children’s room desk or at the main desk upstairs.

We hope to see you soon!


Pop-Up Extended Through April!

Posted by miriam on

UPDATE: 5/14/2019

The pop-up library at Northgate Mall has been extended through the end of April 2020. Read more here.


UPDATE: 2/20/2019

Great news! Our pop-up library at Northgate Mall has been extended yet again. We will now be there through the end of April.

We hope to see you there!

As of March 1, 2019 our hours at the mall are changing. Here are the new hours:


New Mall Hours



Sock Drop for the Ritter Center

Posted by jillt on

Drop-off new socks in adult sizes to the downtown library lobby! Your donations will be passed along to the Ritter Center to provide warmth and comfort to our homeless neighbors.

Why socks?

The Teen Advisory Board brainstormed ways we can give back to our community. We settled on a sock drive to help keep our community’s feet warm, dry and healthy.

According to David Geffen from the School of Medicine at UCLA, “The average person walks about 4 miles a day. The average person struggling with homelessness walks 10 miles a day. Homeless individuals often rely on their feet as their primary means of transportation, but frequently do not have an opportunity to remove their shoes at the end of the day.”

Your donation of a pair or pack of socks will have a huge impact!



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Pop-Up Library Grand Opening

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Announcing a Ribbon Cutting and the Grand opening of the Pop-Library at the Northgate Mall in San Rafael.

Have you heard the news? Together with the Marin County Free Library we have opened a pop-up location at the Northgate Mall.

This event will take place Wednesday, December 12th at 3 PM at the new library pop-up location, formerly Payless Shoes, just down from the food court and the movie theaters inside the mall.

We hope you can attend this inaugural event!



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We Have a Plan

Posted by jill on

We are pleased to announce our new, updated Strategic Plan for 2018-2020. This update is the result of a collaborative revision process involving staff at all levels, departments, and locations of the San Rafael Public Library. The 2018-2020 plan acknowledges our achievements and gives us new goals to work towards over the next two years, in support of our mission statement: Engage, empower, and enrich our community through innovation, imagination, and inspiration.

Please read through the Plan and let us know if you have any questions or comments by commenting below or emailing us at

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Starlings are Here

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Thanks to a grant from the California State Library, we now have Starling wearable devices available for check out from both the Downtown and Pickleweed Libraries. Borrow a Starling for up to nine weeks and receive two picture books for your family to keep!

What the heck is a Starling you ask? Think of it as a pedometer for early literacy. The Starling clips to a young child’s clothing and counts the number of words they hear throughout the day. It calibrates to the environments the child is most frequently in and accurately counts the number of words in any language the child hears during interactions with parents and caregivers. The device syncs with an app on your phone or tablet and displays a daily word count along with tips and strategies to increase interaction with your child. After a few days, the app will also give you a daily word goal.

We are excited to provide technology that gives parents and caregivers more information to support both the quality and quantity of interactive time with their children. Stop by the Downtown Library Children’s Room or the Pickleweed Library to find out more and to check out a Starling.

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Kick Off Summer Vacation with the National Park Service

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We are partnering with the National Park Service to bring you Trilogies to Trails, bringing public libraries to public lands.

On Thursday June 14th at 4pm, kick off your summer vacation with a very special park ranger-led storytime! Participants will receive a Reading Ranger badge. No registration needed, and families with children of all ages are welcome!

We still have space on our Crissy Field Trip this Saturday, June 16th, leaving the library at 10am. A park ranger will lead participants on a hike to the Golden Gate Bridge, or you can just enjoy the beach at Crissy Field with your family. All ages are welcome on the trip, and all youth ages 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Lunch and transportation are all provided. Register by calling us at 415-485-3322, or email

And don’t forget to sign-up for Summer Reading and visit the San Rafael Public Libraries to pick up your prizes and all the books you need for a great summer!

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  • Downtown Library

    Sun: 1-5
    Mon: 1-8
    Tues, Weds, Thurs: 10-8
    Fri & Sat: 10-5

    (415) 485-3323

    1100 E Street (at 5th Avenue)
    San Rafael, CA 94901

  • Pickleweed Library

    Sun & Mon: Closed
    Tues & Weds: 1-8
    Thurs: 11-8
    Fri & Sat: 11-5

    (415) 485-3483

    50 Canal Street
    San Rafael, CA 94901

  • Northgate Pop-Up Library

    Mon, Weds, Thurs: 1-8
    Fri, Sat, Sun: 1-5
    Tues: closed

    (415) 524-2694

    5800 Northgate Drive
    San Rafael, CA 94903

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