San Rafael Public Library

Library Updates

Read a Winner

Posted by diane on

Brief-JamesCongratulations to the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner, Marlon James, for his book A Brief History of Seven Killings!

The Man Booker Prize goes to the best literary fiction written in English, as voted on by a panel of five judges. Originally limited to authors from the United Kingdom & Commonwealth, the Man Booker was recently expanded to include any author writing originally in English and published in the UK.

This year’s Man Booker winner offers a fictionalized oral history recounting assassination attempts on Bob Marley during the late 1970s in Jamaica. Mr. James is the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker. The Chair of this year’s judges, Michael Wood, says of the book: ‘It is a crime novel that moves beyond the world of crime and takes us deep into a recent history we know far too little about. It moves at a terrific pace and will come to be seen as a classic of our times.’

To see past winners of the Man Booker, National Book Award, and Pulitzer see our Fiction Winners handout.

National Book Award

While you’re on the wait list for this year’s Man Booker winner, why not get ahead of the game and read on of the books short-listed for next month’s National Book Award. Here are library links to explore the Adult Fiction and Adult Nonfiction nominees.


Natl Bk Awrdk-Fiction


Karen E. Bender, Refund
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House
Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Natl Bk Awrd-NF


Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Sally Mann, Hold Still
Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus
Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light

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NEW! Zinio Digital Magazines!

Posted by bonnie on




Browse the library’s newest collection of popular magazines in digital format.

  • Magazines are full color digital versions of the print magazine, with the same layout and ads
  • View or download magazines on your computer or mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and Blackberry playbook)
  • Free Zinio app for mobile devices
  • Back issues are available for many titles.
  • Available to all Marinet library cardholders.

From the library home page, click on the Research tab, scroll to the Newspapers and Magazines heading and click on the Zinio link.



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A Nod to Nordic Noir

Posted by diane on

935308Henning Mankell, whose Wallander mystery series paved the way for the legions of atmospheric Nordic tales available in translation today, died recently from cancer.   Faceless Killers was the first in his series featuring the personally troubled, yet professionally astute, police inspector Kurt Wallander. Set in the icy grey environs of Sweden, the book took the average police procedural and expanded it with its fully fleshed-out characters and a story that confronts racial prejudice against refugees.

BranaghThe Wallander series spawned not just one, but two faithfully rendered yet surprisingly different television iterations. The first, from his native Sweden, premiered in 2005 and starred Krister Henriksson in the title role. Its strong suit is the rich supporting cast who are flawed but utterly humane. The BBC came out with an English-language series in 2008, with Kenneth Branagh upping the melancholia and bringing more psychological intensity to the role.

borgenFor more Nordic dramas of the gloomy and gritty variety, try these: The Eagle is a Danish production about the cunning yet tormented police officer Hallgrim Halgrimsson and his colleagues at a newly established international criminal investigative unit. Inspector Irene Huss is a wife and mother of teenage girls, in addition to being in charge of solving violent crimes. Then there’s Borgen, featuring high-stakes political drama and intrigue in Denmark.

nesboTurning back to books, our Nordic Noir booklist will point you to more moody mysteries from the northern ends of Europe. Among those featured is Jo Nesbo’s Oslo police detective Harry Hole, an alcoholic on a downward spiral who has a knack for solving gruesome serial crimes. If you want the brooding yet effective detective without the Nordic setting, also try Ian Rankin’s Scottish Inspector John Rebus, or Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series set in Los Angeles.

italianmankellLastly, if you haven’t read Mankell’s work outside of his Wallander series, do give it a try. He consistently shows a knack for evocative settings and complex characters. One example of this is his book Italian Shoes, about a surgeon who goes into self-exile on an island north of Sweden. It’s a reflective, moving tale of redemption and mortality.

Feel free to stop by the library, call, or contact us for more personalized viewing and reading recommendations!

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New Library Study Update

Posted by sarah on

The Library is in the early stages of looking at what a new library (or libraries) in San Rafael would involve–costs to build, operate, and sustain library services that this community deserves.

The first phase of the Library’s work with Group 4 Architects (the needs assessment) is completed. So far, we’ve completed the initial stage of the assessment including identifying limitations and friction points with the existing facilities, completing a demographics and projections study, completing peer community comparisons, establishing space targets based on industry best practices, assessing facility conditions and service models, and identifying potential sites. To get to this point, Group 4 worked with library staff and the community via pop-up “feedback centers” throughout San Rafael to get input from our residents.

What happens next? Group 4 is analyzing potential sites, listing options about how many libraries and of what size San Rafael needs, and what that means for operating expenses and one-time capital expenses. Part of this additional analysis will include another phase of community outreach to bounce ideas off of our residents. So watch for us in your neighborhood soon!

If you’d like to stay up to date on what’s happening with the new library project, just send your email address to and we’ll put you on our updates list!

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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) 524-2694

    5800 Northgate Drive
    San Rafael, CA 94903

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