San Rafael Public Library

Library Updates

Giveaways for National Library Card Sign-Up Month!

Posted by sarah on

September is National Library Card Sign-Up MonthSeptember is National Library Card Sign-Up Month! Make sure everyone in your family has the “smartest card.”

A library card provides access to not only books but movies, music, computers, eBooks, online tutors, museum and zoo passes, and a variety of digital magazines and newspapers. From young to old, everyone can enjoy the resources of the public library.

For the entire month of September, if you sign up for a library card you can not only get *the* most valuable card in your wallet, but you can also get a snazzy book bag and a library card holder too. Kids can show their new library at the Children’s Reference Desk to get a Snoopy sticker.

Already have a library card? No problem! We love you! And if you need a replacement card (sometimes they get lost, we know) you can get a free replacement card for the entire month of September!

To get a library card, bring photo ID and proof of address (if that’s on your ID, cool, but if not bring in some mail or something) to either the Downtown or Pickleweed Library. And with our online registration system, you can also sign up for a new card from home, and come in to pick up the actual card.

No comments

FREE print-at-home museum passes

Posted by sarah on

Discover and Go museum passesThe libraries in Marin provide all library cardholders with access to an amazing service — Discover & Go, which offers free and discounted passes to local museums and cultural institutions.  Just pick one of the many museums and other cultural institutions, log in with your library card, and print your pass at home!

Get passes to the California Academy of Sciences, Asian Art Museum, Exploratorium, Bay Area Discovery Museum, and many more! Log in now and start saving!

No comments

Science Fiction For Beginners

Posted by diane on

If you’re new to Science Fiction, you could of course start with some of the award winners, such as the recently announced Hugo Award or the Nebula Award. But if you still don’t know where to start, here’s our handy-dandy guide!

Sci-Fi seems hard, give me something easy! (Sci-Fi light):
martianAndy Weir’s The Martian is a man vs. nature survival story, but the nature/environment here is Mars, and the man is a wonderfully snarky and resourceful scientist. John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation also has a lovable rogue at its heart, who encounters a new species. Scalzi’s books often have an easy to follow story and humorous characters. And of course Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker series is well known for its eccentric British humor, but if you’re into mysteries you can also try Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

No Alpha Centauri for me! (Earth-based Sci-Fi):kindred
Carl Sagan’s Contact, Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin, and William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition more or less take place on contemporary Earth. Contact and Spin begin in a recognizable present and regard humankind’s reaction to an alien influence. Gibson’s book is like an alternate, more technologically-entrenched present day Earth and reads like a thriller.

Also firmly based on Earth, but involving time travel are Octavia Butler’s Kindred, in which a black woman is sent back to the antebellum South, and Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog, her more humorous entry in a series of books on Oxford time travelers.

No 800-page ten-part series, please! (Sci-Fi shorts):
martianchroniclesPhilip K. Dick’s Minority Report was a novella before it was a blockbuster movie. Our copy includes other short stories by the author. Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others is a collection of thought-provoking short stories, and the beloved Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles has short narratives linked together as a fictionalized record of Mars colonization.

Don’t pander to me, I can handle the real stuff (Hard Sci-Fi):
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game introduced many to Sci-Fi with it’s coming-of-age story of a young boy being sent to Battle School in space. To be truly transported to a different world, try Frank Herbert’s Dune— you’ll encounter a sand planet steeped in issues of power, politics, and religion.

leviathanWant something written in this decade? Two well-regarded modern sci-fi series are Anne Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, featuring an artificial intelligence with a burning desire for vengeance, and James Corey’s Leviathan Wakes, a fast-paced action adventure space opera.

Don’t give me that pulp, give me something really well-written! (Literary Sci-Fi):
left handStart with The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, or Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Both tackle complex social issues and are sharply written. Many famous literary authors write books with a speculative bent, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Here are some other titles found in the Fiction section that have science fiction elements in them: Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson; Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut; Yiddish Policemen’s Union, by Michael Chabon.

Find more detailed descriptions of these titles on our Science Fiction for Beginners list.

Happy exploring new worlds of fiction! As always, if you need help finding a good read, come by the library, give us a call or contact us online.

(This post was adapted from an article.)

No comments

Home Delivery of Library Materials for Homebound Individuals

Posted by sarah on

The San Rafael Public Library’s Outreach Services provides free delivery of library materials to San Rafael residents who are unable to come to our two libraries. Do you or someone you know need this service? Just contact our librarian Marilyn at 415.485.3317 or We’ll get you connected!

And if you like books and people, please share your time and interest with older adults and individuals with a disability, and who are unable to get to the library. Select books or audio books at the San Rafael Public Library and deliver them to retirement homes, convalescent hospitals, or private homes. To inquire about becoming a volunteer, contact Marilyn at 415.485.3317 or

No comments

How much does the library get used?

Posted by sarah on

We at the San Rafael Public Library are so pleased that our neighbors continue to use the library’s services so heavily. That’s what we’re here for, after all! The library was used more than ever over the last year.

Take a look at our one page report highlighting the most interesting numbers!

What’s being used more?

  • Youth program attendance went up 9% without an increase in the number of programs which means more kids at each program. Fantastic!
  • Digital branch (website) visits increased by 31%. That is absolutely remarkable!
  • Twitter followers increased by 21%, probably owing to a push of our social media presence.
  • Digital subscription databases (periodicals, language learning, homework help, museum passes, etc.) increased by 9%. Another hit for digital!
  • eBook downloads increased 29%. Last year saw a similar increase and I anticipate this trend to continue as well. Yet another hit for digital!

What’s being used less?

  • Circulation of physical items decreased by 3%, not a remarkable change but a slight change to keep an eye on.
  • Public computer sessions decreased 9%. Last year we saw a similar decrease too. This is likely due to more people obtain personal computing devices of their own.

Have questions? Ideas? Other numbers you’d like to see? Leave a comment or email us at


New! DMV Practice Tests in English and Spanish!

Posted by bonnie on





Thanks to a partnership with, the San Rafael Public Library is proud to offer free online test prep for those preparing for their California DMV written and driving tests.

Click on the banner above to visit our exclusive website. Or, access it from the library’s home page Research tab under the Learning heading.

Your Driver Education program contains the following information:

  • 11 Car practice tests
  • 8 Motorcycle practice tests
  • 3 CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) practice tests
  • 3 Online driver’s manuals (car, motorcycle, CDL)
  • FAQ section with detailed answers to 100+ DMV-related questions
  • No library card number or personal information is needed
  • Available in both English and Spanish

Note on accessibility: The new ‘Read Aloud’ link toolbar (found in the footer of every page) includes tools that will allow users to hear selections read aloud, make them into MP3s, translate pages into other languages, magnify text, and mask sections of the screen for greater visibility. All our tests can now be read aloud for those with vision problems, ESL speakers, and those with learning disabilities,

1 commment

Hey Teachers, Try Our New Curriculum Resources Collection

Posted by jill on

curriculum resources collectionJust in time for the 2015-16 school year, we have created a new Curriculum Resources collection especially for teachers working in PreK through 8th grade classrooms. We have multiple copies of books to support STEM learning from the Exploratorium, Make Magazine, and others. We also have classic guides to help with all subjects and lesson planning. You can find this collection in the Children’s Room.

We also want to build this collection with your help. If there’s an educational resource you love or that you’d like to try, please contact us and we’ll look into adding it to the collection.

No comments
  • 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

    Send us a message!
Translate »