San Rafael Public Library

Library Updates

National Library Week

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National Library Week is April 23rd – 29th, celebrate with us by checking out some of these great resources!

Check our event calendar for year-round programming! We’ve got programs for all ages: toddler storytimes, adult author talks, book clubs, gardening, and tons more—both virtual and in-person. Our programs are facilitated by library staff, local community organizations, and other City departments.  

Did you know that Louise Boyd, a famous Arctic explorer, was a San Rafael native? The library is proud to host a selection of the Louise Boyd collection online as part of our San Rafael Creates: Local History collection. Are you a local history buff? Contribute your own materials to our online collection! 

With our selection of local and state parks passes, you can get free parking at many of the beautiful parks and waterfronts in Marin County and the North Bay. Check out our parking passes for the Marin Municipal Water District, Marin County Parks, and California State Parks. 

We’ve got video games available for checkout at all three of our locations—come grab a Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch game to play! Our games check out for three weeks with two renewals. Can’t find something you’re interested in? Place a hold online or ask library staff to help you out. 

Did you know your San Rafael Library Card can double as a ticket to museums, gardens, and aquariums across the Bay Area? With Discover & Go, library card holders can get free and discounted passes to the SF MOMA, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, and many more great spots! Head to to reserve a pass! 



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Black History Month 2023

Posted by basia on

Black History Month

Take some time to explore local Black history this month. Black communities in Marin County, along with the rest of the Bay Area, have a rich and complex past, present, and future—while we are highlighting the past this month, let us be sure that we work to support a just present so we can create an equitable future.

Marin City

The 1944 California Supreme Court case James v. Marinship originated in the Marin City shipyards and ultimately ruled that union membership could not be withheld from individuals on the basis of race. To learn more about the history of Marin City, directly from the stories of those who live and have lived there, check out Marin City Memories by Marilyn L. Geary. You can also attend our VR Experience Highlight drop-in program this month to learn more in A Way Out Of No Way: Marin City’s Hidden Shipbuilders. Researchers can also contact us via email about local history resources in our California Collection.

San Francisco

Though it has changed quite a bit in recent years, San Francisco’s Fillmore District has a deep history as a hub of Black culture. Between the 1940s and 1960s, just one square mile of the district contained at least two dozen night clubs and music venues that were home to a great number of Black musicians. Check out more in Elizabeth Pepin’s book Harlem of the West, which documents San Francisco’s Fillmore Jazz Era.


The East Bay’s dense Black history and culture intersects with the sometimes lesserknown Black cowboy and rodeo community. Gabriela Hasbun spent over a decade photographing the Black contestants at Oakland’s annual Bill Pickett Rodeo, and you can experience this iconic event through her photographs in The New Black West. 

Libraries now: Discover & Go

Visit the Oakland Museum of California and experience the special exhibit “Angela Davis: Seize the Time” through June 11—you can use your library card to get a museum pass with Discover and Go! If you want to learn more about Angela Davis, check out her autobiography or her other writings, such as Freedom is a Constant Struggle. 

Libraries then: Segregation and civil rights

Those who fought for the desegregation of public libraries played a huge role both in the civil rights movement and in shaping the libraries we have today. Check out more on the history of libraries and segregation in Not Free, Not for All by Cheryl Knott and Freedom Libraries by Mike Selby.

Marin City Memories. Harlem of the West. Freedom is a Constant Struggle. The New Black West. Not Free, Not For All.

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2022 SRPL Covered: a year in review

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2022 SRPL covered. A year in review

Happy New Year! As we welcome in 2023, we’re taking a moment to look back on our library in 2022. Please join us in reviewing the books and media our community enjoyed, and more! Place a hold on anything you missed, and get a jump on your resolution of using your public library more. Thanks for being the best part of our year!

Total items checked out at our libraries: 467,872
Number of visitors at our 3 libraries: 160,864
Total programs: 258. Total attendees: 11,167.

Top item at Pickleweed: Dog Man: Fetch-22

Top item at Northgate: No Time To Die
No time to die

Top item at Downtown: Marin County Parks Pass
Marin County Parks Pass

Top adult book: The Madness of Crowds
The madness of crowds

Top teen graphic novel: They Called Us Enemy
They called us enemy

Top item in Spanish: Gente Tóxica
Gente tóxica

Top eBook: Lessons in Chemistry
Lessons in Chemistry

Top video game: Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey

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Winter 2022 Closure

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All San Rafael Public Library branches will be closed December 24 – January 2. The Pickleweed Library will be closed December 20 – January 2. We will reopen Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Lee en español

Due to the winter holidays, all San Rafael Public Library locations will be closed during the last week of December.

Closed: Saturday, Dec. 24
Re-opening: Tuesday, Jan. 3

Closed: Saturday, Dec. 24
Re-opening: Wednesday, Jan. 4

Closed: Tuesday, Dec. 20
Re-opening: Tuesday, Jan. 3

Please note that the entire Albert J. Boro Community Center will be closed starting on December 19, including the Pickleweed Library. Most City departments/facilities will be closed between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2, and will re-open for services on Jan. 3.


Q: Will the book drops be open? 

A: Yes, the book drops at the Downtown, Pickleweed, and Northgate branches will remain open during the closure. Please note it may take up to a few days for your items to be scanned in and taken off your record. SRPL has been fine-free since July 2021 – no late fees will be collected.


Q: What will happen to my holds? 

A: All holds on the shelves when we close will be extended for the length of our closure. No holds will be transferred to or from our libraries during this closure.


Q: Are other MARINet libraries or book drops going to be open? When? 

A: Please check the status of each MARINet library you plan to visit or return items to.



Las Bibliotecas de San Rafael permaneceran cerradas a partir del 24 de diciembre hasta el 2 de enero. La Biblioteca Pickleweed estará cerrada desde el 20 de diciembre a 2 de enero. Reiniciando labores el día 3 de enero.

La Biblioteca Pública de San Rafael y sucursales permanecerán cerradas la última semana de diciembre.

Cerrado: sábado, el 24 de dic
Abierto: martes, el 3 de ene

Cerrado: sábado, el 24 de dic
Abierto: miércoles, el 4 de ene

Cerrado: martes, el 20 de dic
Abierto: martes, el 3 de ene

La Biblioteca Pickleweed y el Centro Comunitario Albert J. Boro cerrarán sus puertas a partir del lunes 19 de diciembre y reabrirán el martes 3 de enero.


¿Estarán abiertos los buzones para devolver materiales?

Sí, los buzones de las bibliotecas Downtown, Pickleweed, y Northgate así como el de Lucas Valley Road estarán abiertos durante el cierre. Puede que tome más de un par de días para que sus devoluciones sean registradas en el sistema, ya que a partir de julio 2021 la biblioteca no cobra multas por regresar material atrasado.


¿Qué pasará con mis pedidos?

Todos los encargos permanecerán en los estantes durante el cierre de la biblioteca. Ningún pedido será transferido ni removido a otra biblioteca durante el cierre.


¿Estarán abiertas otras bibliotecas del consorcio de MARINet? ¿Cuándo? 

Visite el sitio web de  MARINet para consultar los horarios y planear su visita. Podrían cambiar los horarios.

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Native American Heritage Month

Posted by basia on

The San Rafael Public Library acknowledges that we are located on the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok people of present-day Marin and southern Sonoma counties. We honor with gratitude the land itself, and all of its ancestors: past, present, and emerging.

Take a look at the Native American Heritage Month website to explore virtual exhibits, historical and contemporary photography, and video content provided by the National Archives, the Smithsonian Museum, and the Library of Congress. You can also check out the Native Land website to explore the languages and cultures native to North America. And, of course, you can celebrate Indigenous authors and voices this month and year-round with these lists!

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United Against Hate Week 2022

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United Against Hate Week. November 13-19, 2022.

The City of San Rafael commits to standing against all forms of hate in our communities. United Against Hate brings together Bay Area communities every year to reaffirm that commitment.

Acts of hate can be individual as well as institutional. When we witness actions, words, or feelings driven by hate, it is important to stand in solidarity with those who are affected, to amplify voices that may not be heard, and to listen earnestly. When we realize that our institutions uphold values of hate, we must stand together to start the process of change and ensure that it is not hindered by those who benefit from a status quo built on hatefulness and the inequities it spawns.

We encourage everyone to do some reading this week that opens a new window in your understanding of our communities, or that reframes some of the work you’ve already done to understand how hate impacts everyone, from individuals to groups as a whole. Check out these lists for kids, teens, and adults:

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Posted by basia on

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15 to October 15, originally just one week at its inception in 1968 and eventually expanded to a full month in 1988. September 15 is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, and many more celebrate their independence throughout September and October. This is a month for everyone to celebrate the histories, cultures, languages, triumphs, struggles, and futures of Hispanic/Latinx Americans.

On October 11, the San Rafael Public Library will be hosting an author talk with Reyna Grande, in conversation with poet Yaccaira Salvatierra, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Reserve a copy of her newest book, A Ballad of Love and Glory! While you’re waiting, check out some of these amazing authors, illustrators, poets, and more—not just this month, but year-round.

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Maximize Your Library Card!

Posted by jillt on

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!

September is Library Card Sign-up Month! If you don’t already have a library card, get one today! Library cards are totally free and available to residents of all ages; you don’t even need proof of address, just bring your photo ID (for youth under 16 a guardian with a photo ID needs to be present).

Are you a student at a San Rafael City School? You’ve got a San Rafael Public Library account! Every year the library partners with the school district to create accounts for all new students. Just visit any of our branches to pick-up your physical card, and check-out a whole stack of books (did you know you can check-out 50 items at a time?)!

Maximize Your Library Card

Replace your card for free

Lost your library card? Got a well-loved and tattered card that our barcode reader can’t handle? No problem! Come to any of our 3 branches and we’ll get you a shiny new card—for free!

We’re Fine-Free

Stressing because your books were due last week? Stop it! You have bigger things to worry about. At the San Rafael Public Library (and all public libraries in Marin) we’re fine-free. Now, we do want those books back, and if they’re lost or waaaay over-due you will get a billing notice, but fear not! Once you return them that notice will clear from your account.

Get the MARINet Mobile App

There’s an app for that! That being your library 🙂. Place holds, manage your account AND pull up your digital barcode when you’re at the self-check. If you’re at a bookstore and see a book you want to read but don’t want to buy, you can scan the ISBN number, and place a hold on the spot. Available in the IOS App Store and on Google Play.

Check-out park passes

Love public libraries? Us too! Know what else are pretty great? Public parks! We have passes good for one vehicle entry to Marin County Parks, Marin Municipal Water District, Mt. Tam and California State Parks (new!). Search “park pass” in our library catalog to get started.

Visit museums for free with Discover & Go

Did you know that with your library card you can gain free entry into a selection of local museums? It’s true! Visit to get started. Each participating museum has their own restrictions, and it’s a good idea to plan your visits well in advance, especially for popular venues.

Download eBooks and audiobooks, and stream movies, shows and music

Do you love books and your library but don’t love leaving your house? Do you prefer enjoying content on an eReader, phone or tablet? We’ve got you covered with eBooks and digital audiobooks for check-out, as well as free content to stream!

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How to find your next read with NoveList Select

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Have you ever gotten stuck trying to find your next read? NoveList Select is an amazing tool you can use anytime! This is a module created by EBSCO that’s integrated into the MARINet catalog, and it uses community feedback and a dedicated team of librarians to group titles by similarities.

First, search our catalog for a title you enjoyed reading. Let’s look at The Lightning Thief as an example — chances are you or a loved one have either heard of or already read this super-popular book!

A screenshot of our catalog website with "the lightning thief" in the search bar.

Next, click on the title of the book to see more information about it.The entry for The Lightning Thief in the catalog's search results, showing a variety of formats.

After you’ve clicked on the title, you can scroll down to see staff lists featuring that title as well as recommendations generated by NoveList.

Staff lists featuring this title. Great reads for younger teens. Favorite fantasy and science fiction for middle schoolers. 8 books remix: Ryan Douglass. Guided reading levels S & T. View all lists. You may also like. View all recommendations.

And if you scroll further down, and you’ll see even more: related titles (usually by the same author), descriptive community tags, and similar authors. This is a great place to start browsing.

Explore further. Related Titles. Community tags: view all. Similar authors: show more. More about this title: view all from NoveList.

However, if nothing’s caught your eye yet and you want to do a more in-depth search, click on the “View all from NoveList” link. A new widget will pop up with all kinds of information: full series information, read-alikes split into titles, authors, and series, and a list of story elements. All of those story elements are search filters, too — so if you want to read about another quest for a magical items that’s as action-packed as The Lightning Thief, just click on those options and NoveList Select will suggest a few titles.

Story elements. Mix and match to explore similar stories. Appeal, character, genre, theme. "Action-packed" and "quest for magical items" are highlighted. Based on your picks: We found these fiction stories for ages 9-12 that share the traits: Action-packed and Quest for magical items.

The best thing about NoveList Select is that it will only recommend things to you that are in MARINet’s catalog. No need to worry about finding the perfect book and being unable to get it! NoveList isn’t available for every single title in our catalog, but most titles will have at least some information that will help you browse for your next read. Always feel free to get in touch with your local branch if you need some help finding a book!

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Summer @ SRPL

Posted by jillt on

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.



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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

    Send us a message!
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