We’ll be offering fun programs and activities, mostly outdoors, for all ages, at all locations, all summer long! Check-out our events calendar to see what’s happening, or visit us in-person to chat with library staff and get a summer activity guide. You can also read through our summer newsletter for a snapshot of all our programs through August.
¡Dele un vistazo a lo que ofreceremos durante el verano en las tres locaciones: Central, Northgate y Pickleweed! Para saber las fechas, horarios y locación consulte el calendario de eventos, o lea el boletin de verano.
Kids entering grades K-6 can pick up a reading log and a free book at any of our branches! Keep reading throughout the summer to earn another free book when you return your log.
¡Para niños en grados K-6 pueden recoger un registro de lectura y un libro gratis en cualquiera de nuestras sucursales! Sigue leyendo durante el verano para ganar otro libro gratis cuando devuelvas tu registro de lectura.
June is Pride Month 🌈💖! This Pride we’re inviting you to celebrate and learn about our transcestors: the trailblazing humans and events that led us to where we are now in our ongoing fight towards a world in which trans people are safe and seen.
People that would be considered trans by our current understanding have always existed in North America and across the world. European colonizers violently instated their own binary gender norms on the native peoples of the Americas, and these expectations continue to be upheld today. In 1990, the term “two-spirit” was coined as an umbrella term to refer to First Nations people and Native Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, non-binary, or gender-fluid. However, many folks prefer to use words specific to their individual language, tribe, and experiences.
Charley Parkhurst was born in 1812 in New England and assigned female at birth. As a youth he ran away and began to live his life as a man. He traveled West to California, following the 1849 Gold Rush. Charley became one of the most respected stagecoach drivers of his time, fending off bandits while handling a coach led by 6 horses through rough terrain – one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs during the Gold Rush era.
Read Charley’s obituary from 1880 in the Daily Alta California newspaper, via the California Digital Newspaper Archive. Please note that this is historic, primary source material. The author misgenders Charley and discusses trans bodies in a way that is unacceptable by today’s standards, but was commonplace at the time.
Compton’s Cafeteria Riot
In August of 1966, a patron at Compton’s Cafeteria in the Tenderloin district – serving primarily trans women and drag queens – resisted arrest and sparked a riot. The patrons at Compton’s Cafeteria as well as in the rest of the Tenderloin had been suffering abuse, harassment, and assault at the hands of police officers and that night they defended their lives, their community, and a beloved (and rare) trans-friendly safe space together. This historic event went completely unreported and was largely unrecognized on a national level, but it ignited local activism.
In the 1960s, Felicia Elizondo was a regular patron of Compton’s Cafeteria, which was at the time a haven for young, queer sex workers like her. Moving forward, she advocated for the rights of trans women of color and worked for several non-profit organizations in San Francisco focused on support for the HIV-positive community. She also contributed panels to the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. In addition to her activism, she performed regularly as the drag queen Felicia Flames and served as the grand marshal of the 2015 San Francisco Pride Parade.
Read a 2007 interview with Felicia Elizondo as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Elizondo discusses her experience serving in the military prior to coming out as a trans woman.
Stop Aids Now or Else
At 7:27am on January 31, 1989, protesters stopped traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge – the first time a protest had brought all traffic to a complete stop. The protest was organized by a group called Stop AIDS Now Or Else (SANOE) in collaboration with the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, or ACT UP. The AIDS crisis affected the queer communities of San Francisco deeply since it first appeared in 1981; in 1992 cases peaked to 2,332 in one year.
There is still no vaccine against HIV, but advancements in medication allow many folks who are HIV-positive to lead healthy lives. Additionally, the introduction of PrEP in the past decade has greatly decreased the risk of HIV transmission through prevention. Sadly, due to global injustice, sub-Saharan Africa remains most severely impacted region of the world, accounting for 2/3 of the world’s HIV cases.
Read And the Band Played On, a ground-breaking investigative work by Randy Shilts. Shilts passed away from AIDS-related complications in 1994.
Throughout her life, Connie Norman advocated for medical rights – particularly for HIV-positive patients battling AIDS, but also in the name of other marginalized communities who were being ignored by the County of Los Angeles. In 1991, she lobbied in support of AB101, which did not pass at the time but would have prohibited employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. She also hosted the first commercial radio talk show centered on gay rights in LA.
Tamara Ching is an activist for AAPI, sex worker, HIV-positive, and transgender communities. She was an original member of the Transgender Advisors to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, and she has also served as an advisor to the Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Police Department, and the Department of Public Health in the fight for trans rights.
Check out this interview (available as audio and text transcript) with Tamara Ching, part of the Stanford Pride Oral History Project.
In 1994, Susan Stryker published her first academic article – also one of the first articles to be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal by an openly transgender author. Her work as a historian and filmmaker focuses on trans history, and her filmography includes Screaming Queens, a documentary about the Compton’s Cafeteria riot.
Read Transgender History, Susan Stryker’s pioneering history of transgender people in the United States after World War II, which was recently updated as a second edition.
Honey Mahogany is the current chairperson of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, and its first transgender chair. She co-founded the Transgender District in the Tenderloin, named after Compton’s Cafeteria and the uprising that took place there, and she served as chief of staff to San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Haney before his recent election to the State Assembly.
Listen to a 2020 KQED spotlight on Honey Mahogany in which she shares the origins of her activism and political engagement .
We’re welcoming teens back to the library this summer with outdoor programming! Check out our biweekly Art Jams and Gaming Sessions throughout June and July at the Downtown library, and sharpen up your anime-style art skills with Carlos Nieto III at the Downtown, Pickleweed, or Northgate libraries.
We aren’t accepting teen volunteers quite yet — check back after the summer for volunteer opportunities, and to see everything else we’ll have in store for teens through the rest of the year.
Looking for something fun to read this summer? Check out our teen book lists, read some manga, and come visit the library or send us a chat if you can’t find what you’re looking for!
May was chosen as the designated heritage month to commemorate the first arrival of Japanese immigrants to the US on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad — whose tracks were laid almost entirely by Chinese and Chinese American laborers — on May 10, 1869. Check out the official site for historical archives, online activities, and more!
May is also Arab American Heritage Month and Jewish Heritage Month. Here are some book lists to keep you reading throughout May and the rest of the year!
The theme for National Library Week 2022 is “Connect with Your Library”! Find out some of the ways the San Rafael Public Library is a hub for connecting you to technology.
Virtual Reality @ Northgate Virtual Reality is back at Northgate on Saturdays from 12-5 on a drop-in, first come first serve basis! Thank you to our partners at XRLibraries for providing us with new Oculus Quest 2 headsets, available in English and Spanish. Try a variety of XR (extended reality) experiences. These VR headsets simulate being physically present in the virtual environment—it’s a very cool experience!
Chromebooks for Check-Out In addition to our desktop public computers, Chromebooks are now available for check-out at all 3 San Rafael Public Library locations: Downtown, Northgate and Pickleweed! To check out a Chromebook, ask a staff member at the service desk. Library card and photo identification required; patrons must be 13+ to check-out a Chromebook.
Chromebooks are available for in-library use only and must be returned before the end of the day. Printing is not available.
Video Games @ Northgate Northgate’s video game collection is now available for checkout! We have games available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 & PS5. Games check out for 3 weeks at a time with no renewals. As a part of Northgate’s collection, they are not holdable. Come visit us Wednesdays-Saturdays from 11-5 to pick up a game and have some fun!
All our library locations offer free gigabit wifi–no password required. San Rafael Public Libraries are on the Cenic high-bandwidth fiber optic network. Bring your own devices, or check-out one of our Chromebooks!
Virtual Reality is back at Northgate on Saturdays from 12-5pm! Space is limited and sign-ups are first come, first serve.
Thank you to our partners at XRLibraries for providing us with new Oculus Quest 2 headsets, available in English and Spanish. Try a variety of XR (extended reality) experiences. These VR headsets simulate being physically present in the virtual environment—it’s a very cool experience!
Is there a minimum age requirement to use the VR headsets? Yes. We require patrons to be at least 13 years old to use the VR headsets, based on product safety guidance.
Can I make an appointment ahead of time? No. We are offering VR on a first come, first serve basis. Pop into the Northgate branch on Saturdays between 12-5 to see if you can grab a slot. There are lots of cool books, DVDs, and even video games to browse while you wait your turn!
Are the headsets sanitized between use? Yes. We sanitize the headsets after each use using UV technology.
Is there someone available to teach me how to operate the headsets? Yes! We welcome first-time users. Our awesome Webstars are available to get you set-up and comfortable using the equipment.
What can I do when using a headset?
Walk through a simulation of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, play a rhythm-based game, tour a National Park — stop by the Northgate branch to see a full list!
Chromebooks are now available for check-out at all 3 San Rafael Public Library locations: Downtown, Northgate and Pickleweed! To check out a Chromebook, ask a staff member at the service desk. Library card and photo identification required; patrons must be 13+ to check-out a Chromebook.
Chromebooks are available for in-library use only and must be returned before the end of the day. Printing is not available.
Do I need a Google account to use a Chromebook? A Google account is not required to browse the internet; simply browse as a guest. However, you must have a Google account to use Microsoft compatible applications such as Google Docs for word processing, or Google Slides for presentations. Our desktop public computers are equipped with the Microsoft suite of products.
Will the Chromebook save my account information? Not if you browse as a guest! Choose “Browse as guest” at the start-up screen even if you have a Google account (you can then log-in to your Google account through the browser). When you end your session, your browsing data will be wiped. If you do choose to log-in using your personal account, practice good digital hygiene by selecting “remove account” from the device after you log-out.
Can it read a flash drive? Yes! Each Chromebook has one USB port that can be used to read a flash drive.
Does it have a headphone jack? Yes! You can plug in any standard headphones. Please be considerate to other patrons when listening to audio.
Does it have a CD/DVD drive? No, our Chromebooks do not have the ability to play back CDs or DVDs.
Northgate’s video game collection is now available for checkout!
We have games available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 & PS5. Games check out for 3 weeks at a time with no renewals. As a part of Northgate’s collection, they are not holdable. Come visit us Wednesdays-Saturdays from 11-5 to pick up a game and have some fun!
Each February, Black History Month reminds us to honor and share not only the past, but to continue building a future for Black communities – not just in February, but year-round. Take some time this month to read books by Black authors, and try out a new genre or two!
Celebrate February with a fun craft and our Secret Valentine books!
Pick up a craft-a-card kit at any of our branches starting on February 1 in the children’s room at the Downtown branch, or at the service desks at Pickleweed and Northgate. Each kit will contain supplies for making two cards – have fun crafting, and then share with your loved ones! Supplies are limited and kits may not be available at all branches.
We will have books available for children, teens, and adults at all of our branches. Read the Valentine on the front for a sneak peek and then take home your Secret Valentine pick (or picks!), unwrap, and fall in love! Please reuse or recycle the wrapping paper. 💚♻