San Rafael Public Library

Library Updates

Visit Our Overdrive eReading Rooms for Kids and Teens

Posted by jill on

Visit Overdrive for kids eReading Room.Visit Overdrive for teens eReading Room.Kids and teens who love eBooks and eAudiobooks now have a great way to discover great books to read through our new Overdrive eReading Rooms. These collections include all of our children’s and teen books currently available to check out through Overdrive, plus it will feature tons of new titles as they’re added. You can still find all these books through the regular Overdrive page, but for those who want to see just kids or teen titles, we hope this helps you discover your next great digital read!

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The Great Library Flood of 2014

Posted by sarah on

The Downtown Library’s lower level of staff work areas was damaged by flooding today. A pump failed and water began streaming into the lower level of the library through the floors and walls.

An alert staff member noticed water right away.

the first sign of water

About 20 minutes later that same area looked like this:

flooded hallway

Water was seeping in through the walls and floor (and fast) in at least four areas including our Technical Services Department, a storage closet, the emergency exit hallway, and the office of the Marin Literacy Program (pictured below):

flooded corner of the Literacy Offices

The diligent Department of Public Works, the fantastic Fire Department, and legendary Library staff worked together to move books, supplies, technology, and furniture to prevent damage, to replace the failed pump, and to mop up the invading water as quickly as we could. Thanks to cooperation between our three departments we emerged with no materials or furniture damage! We will need to replace a significant portion of carpeting and are still awaiting results of whether there is any structural damage to the floors and walls. But thanks to the quick actions of dedicated City staff, we got the situation under control quickly!

flooded floor post-clean-up

Now we will work to repair the damage and restore operations fully. The good news is that we’re committed to staying open for our community, so the Downtown Library is open tonight until 8pm with full services and we will reopen tomorrow morning at 10am as is normal.

A big thank you to everyone who pitched in to quickly throttle a potentially devastating situation!


Holiday celebration with singer José-Luis Orozco / Festejo decembrino con José-Luis Orozco

Posted by lauram on

jose-luis-bio-picSaturday December 20th at the Pickleweed Library, join us for a bilingual Holiday celebration featuring stories, crafts and a special musical concert with famed children’s singer, José-Luis Orozco.

Holiday themed storytime: 11:30 a.m.

Holiday crafts for kids: 12 p.m.

Free concert with José-Luis Orozco: 1 p.m.


¡Unese con nosotros para celebrar la Navidad con cuentos, cantos, arte y música!

Lectura de cuentos: 11:30 a.m.

Proyectos de arte para niños: 12 p.m.

Concierto gratis con José-Luis Orozco: 1 p.m.


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Our Picks for Best Children’s Books of 2014

Posted by jill on

In time for holiday reading and gift giving, here are our picks for best children’s books of 2014, in no particular order:

Juvenile Non Fiction:

Cover of the book Brown Girl Dreaming.The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights / Steve Sheinkin

Brown Girl Dreaming / Jacqueline Woodson

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek / Van Wagenen

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse / Patricia MacLachlan

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth / Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus / Jennifer Bryant

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker / Patricia Hruby Powell

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands / Katherine Roy

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond / Patrick DillonCover of the book Buried Sunlight.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos / Stéphanie Roth Sisson

The Noisy Paint Box / Barb Rosenstock

Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights / Larry Dane Brimner

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems / Paul B. Janeczko

Gravity / Jason Chin

Gus and Me: the Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar / Keith Richards

I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World / Malala Yousafzai


Picture Books:

Cover of the book The Baby Tree.My Grandfather’s Coat / Jim Aylesworth

The Baby Tree / Sophie Blackall

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas / Lynne Cox

Gaston / Kelly DiPucchio

Extraordinary Jane / Hannah E. Harrison

Shoe Dog / Megan McDonald

Number One Sam / Greg Pizzoli

Telephone / Mac Barnett

Froodle / Antoinette Portis

What If…? / Anthony Browne

Viva Frida / Yuyi Morales

The Lion and the Bird / Marianne Dubuc

Cover of the book Gaston.The Farmer and the Clown / Marla Frazee

Firebird / Misty Copeland

Draw! / Raúl Colón

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole / Mac Barnett

Adventures of Beekle / Dan Santat

Found / Salina Yoon

I’m My Own Dog / David Ezra Stein

Mix It Up! / Hervé Tullet

Princess Sparkle Heart Gets a Makeover / Josh Schneider


J and YA Fiction

Cover of the book West of the Moon.West of the Moon / Margi Preus

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! / Tim Federle

Half a World Away / Cynthia Kadohata

Curiosity / Gary Blackwood

Saving Lucas Biggs / Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Arcady’s Goal / Eugene Yelchin

The Glass Sentence / S. E. Grove

The Great Greene Heist / Varian Johnson

The Crossover / Kwame Alexander

Revolution / Deborah WilesCover of the book The Crossover.

The Madman of Piney Woods / Christopher Paul Curtis

My Heart is Laughing / Rose Lagercrantz

Egg & Spoon / Gregory Maguire

Rain Reign / Ann M. Martin

The Fourteenth Goldfish / Jennifer L. Holm

The Iron Trial / Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


Graphic Novels

Cover of the book El Deafo.Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust / Loïc Dauvillier

Here I am / Patti Kim

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War / Matt Faulkner

The Graveyard Book / P. Craig Russell

Sisters / Raina Telgemeier

This One Summer / Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

El Deafo / Cece Bell

Comics Squad: Recess! / Various Authors

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We want to hear from you!

Posted by sarah on

The San Rafael Public Library wants to hear from you!

We’re beginning the process of envisioning what a new library would look like for Downtown San Rafael and we’re starting by reaching out to you about what you want in a library and how to make the library as useful as possible to San Rafael.

If you have a moment, please fill out our survey, available online in English or en español. The survey will take 5-7 minutes to complete and is open until Wednesday, December 31st.

Thank you all so very much for your help and for your continued support of the library! We love you all!


Last-Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

Posted by sarah on


Ahhhh! Thanksgiving is Tomorrow!

No fear, the Library is here to save your bacon (or tempeh, as the case may be)!

Check out these easy side dish recipes from the Food Network–unique, tasty, and sure to make a splash. Why stick with plain mashed potatoes and green bean casserole? How about lemon dill carrots and jalapeno cornbread? Yeah!

Want to make the old tried and true dishes even better? Chris Kimball from America’s Test Kitchen gave an awesome interview a few years ago to NPR about secrets for making standard dishes extra special, including “hidden compartments” in your turkey (don’t worry if that made you pause and go “huh?”–we did too).

And finally, interested in some super stellar crafts to brighten up your Thanksgiving day? The Crafty Crow offers up some innovative kids crafts to keep them busy, and adults smiling, all day long.

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STEAM Saturdays for Preschoolers in December and January

Posted by jill on

Photo of a child looking through magnifying glass.STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

Join us for STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3-6 and their caregivers.

Please wear comfy clothes that are okay to get messy!

Please register at the Children’s Reference Desk, or call us at 415-485-3322

Saturdays, 11-11:45am

December 13: Preschool Tool Technology

December 20: The Winter Solstice

December 27: Gravity Painting and Color Mixing

January 3: Earth Science

January 17: Water Ways

Sponsored by the Friends of the San Rafael Public Library

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Upcoming Library Closed Days

Posted by sarah on

Yep, it’s that time of year again! We have some closure days coming up for both of our libraries (Downtown and Pickleweed). But even if our buildings are closed, our robust online branch ( is always open for you to reserve and renew books, download eBooks, learn a new language, read  magazines and newspapers cover to cover, and get online homework resources. Below are the days we’ll be closed in the near future:

  • Friday, November 21st (All Staff Training Day)
  • Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th (Thanksgiving)
  • Thursday, December 25th (Winter Holiday)
  • Thursday, January 1st (New Year’s)

We’re open all other days, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. As a 7-day-a-week operation, we strive to be open for you, our wonderful neighbors, as much as we can!

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Legal eBooks and Forms Online

Posted by bonnie on


Your library card is your ticket to a world of online resources.

In our Legal and Business databases, you have access to hundreds of full text eBooks and thousands of legal forms. Many of the eBooks are provided through Nolo, the nation’s most respected provider of legal information for consumers and small businesses.

Come to this class to find out how to access them.
This is a demonstration-only class but feel free to bring your laptop or tablet to follow along.

When: November 20, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Where: San Rafael Library – Library Meeting Room
Cost: Free

Contact: Reference Desk 415-485-3321

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Download more eBooks from Open Library

Posted by sarah on

Open Library logoHave you tried Open Library yet?

The San Rafael Public Library donates all of its de-accessioned books (removed from the collection due to age, condition, and space needs) to the Internet Archive’s Open Library project. What’s that, you say?

Open Library is an online library built by libraries. There are two parts:

  • The Modern eBook Lending Library: This is where most of our donated books go.  We donate a physical copy which is then scanned and warehoused, and the scanned version shows up in this online catalog free for any user of any contributing member to borrow by downloading in many different formats that are compatible with different devices.
  • Classic Books: Over 1,000,000 classic eBook titles to read online or download in a bunch of different formats.

Try it today, and tell us what you think!

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  • Downtown Library

    Sun: 10:00-5:00
    Mon: 9:00-7:00
    Tues: 9:00-7:00
    Weds: 9:00-7:00
    Thurs: 9:00-7:00
    Fri: 10:00-5:00
    Sat: 10:00-5:00

    (415) 485-3323

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

  • Pickleweed Library

    Sun: closed
    Mon: closed
    Tues: 9:00-5:00
    Weds: 9:00-5:00
    Thurs: 11:00-7:00
    Fri: 10:00-5:00
    Sat: 10:00-5:00

    (415) 485-3483

    50 Canal Street
    San Rafael, CA 94901

  • Northgate Library

    Sun: closed
    Mon: closed
    Tues: closed
    Weds: 11:00-5:00
    Thurs: 11:00-5:00
    Fri: 11:00-5:00
    Sat: 11:00-5:00

    (415) 890-5670

    5800 Northgate Drive Ste. 083
    San Rafael, CA 94903

  • Contact Us

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